The preliminary squad for the Australian Men’s Beach Soccer team gathered together for the first time over the June long weekend, with coach Airton Andrioli pleasantly surprised with what he saw.
Andrioli, a Football Development Officer with Football Federation South Australia, brought together a group of 17 players, which will be narrowed down to 14 for a second camp in August.
This will be further narrowed down to 12 players for the AFC Beach Soccer Championship to be held in early September and acts a qualifying tournament for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, which will be held in Dubai in November 2009.
The 17 players included five players that played in the 2005 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup – Steve Karavatakis, George Souris, Jim Bakis, Andrew Mailer, Stacey Alogdellis.
“The camp in Sydney proved to be very positive,” said Andrioli. “We had all players selected from the state trials coming together for the first time.”
“The players responded professionally, and worked very hard, showing great commitment as they pushed for selection in the final squad.”
While many of players are fairly adept at playing on the sand, most are novices to the sport of the Beach Football at a competitive level with no real competition structure existing in Australia.
“The weekend was pretty intense and consisted of four practical sessions on the beach and two video analysis sessions.”
“We used video analysis to clarify some of the questions the players had in regards to the rules and tactics of beach football, while the training sessions tested players’ physical and mental strength as well as their skills and ability to adapt to the conditions of the game.
“Picking a final squad will be a tough decision.”
Andrioli will name 14 players in the next couple of weeks, for the final camp in August in preparation for the AFC tournament.
The 17 players that came into camp were: Steve Karavatakis, Jim Bakis, George Souris, Andrew Mailer, Danny Martinez, Scott MacNicol, Jamie Johnson, Josh Da Palma, Jonathon Cook, Stacy Alogdellis, Ronaldo Lima, Peter Crevani, Joel Allwright, Michael Matricciani, Mason Palmieri, Khalil Popal, Ivo De Jesus.