By Mariah Baylor
© June 11, 2012
Virginia Beach was overrun with athletes of all ages and skills over the weekend for the annual North American Sand Soccer Championships - some 900 teams ranging from professional to coed adult and youth.
Battle for Bronze
The battle for bronze was well underway by noon. SoCal Beach FC from Oceanside, Calif., duked it out to win 3-2 against Toronto FC (Canada) for third place in the Pro Am division Sunday.
"This is our fifth year playing in this tournament," SoCal player Adriano DeLima said. "We play in tournaments all over; after this, we will be in the Caribbean and then Japan."
But the teams would not return home without some compensation - SoCal earned a check for $3,000, while Toronto pocketed $1,000.
The teams played through what tournament director Dick Whalen said were the second-hottest conditions that the tournament's professional division has had to endure.
The high Sunday was in the 90s.
And for those keeping numbers: Sand soccer fields are half the size of grass fields and the matches consist of three 12-minute periods.
The professional division of the championships was played in what looked like a grand stadium made of sand. The beachside stadium was enclosed by an enormous mound of sand that had been piled and packed to create a wall as well as provide ample seating.
Where to Park?
Virginia Beach is a major destination for vacationers every summer.
Add the sand soccer championships into the mix and that number balloons.
With so many people pouring into the Oceanfront, where did they park? There were spaces, but they weren't cheap. Many lots were charging around $20.
With temperatures pushing the mercury, many athletes and spectators protected their feet with sand socks. The fashion-conscious were no doubt grateful that they come in a variety of colors.
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