The 2023 Concacaf Beach Soccer Championship has begun in the Bahamas with spots at this year's FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup on the line. There's always plenty of drama (the last three editions have provided three different winners), but even more captivating is the wild variety of bangers we see out on the sand.
Monday was only day one of the competition and things got rowdy.
Here's everything you need to know about the tournament.
What is the Concacaf Beach Soccer Championship?
The 10th edition of the tournament crowns the champion of the North, Central American and Caribbean region. More importantly, the winner and the runner-up earn Concacaf's two spots at November's Beach Soccer World Cup in Dubai.
The Concacaf Beach Soccer Championship is a 12-team tournament running from May 8-14 in Nassau, Bahamas. The tournament begins with three groups of four teams (three matches for each nation), and the top two finishers from each group and the two best third-place squads advance to the quarterfinals.
The all-important semifinals are Saturday, May 13, and the final is on Sunday, May 14. Every match is at the Malcolm Park Beach Soccer Facility.
What are the rules of beach soccer?
Each match consists of three periods of 12 minutes. There are no draws in beach soccer — there's a three-minute extra time period followed by penalties. You get three points for a win in regular time, two for victory in extra time and one point for prevailing in a shootout — that's how the host nation started their campaign on Monday night.
Each team has five players and unlimited (rolling) substitutions from a matchday squad of 12. There are no offsides, no footwear and direct free kicks for every foul.
How can I watch the Concacaf Beach Soccer Championship?
In the United States, you can watch matches with English-language coverage on FOX (Fox Soccer Plus) and streaming through Fox Sports GO, FuboTV and Tubi. Spanish-language coverage is on Univision and Vix.
Where to watch the Concacaf Beach Soccer Championship? pic.twitter.com/Q3SCx00OYz
Is the USMNT good at beach soccer?
The U.S. hasn't won the tournament since 2013 but they've qualified for the last two World Cups by finishing runner-up (losing finals to Mexico in 2019 and El Salvador in 2021).
However, the USMNT's combined record at those World Cups is six games played, six defeats, 21 goals scored and 35 conceded. They are currently ranked 12th in the world by BSWW (highest in Concacaf with El Salvador 13th and Mexico 19th).
Who are the favorites at the Concacaf Beach Soccer Championship?
El Salvador, the defending champions, again look menacing after opening with a 10-3 win over the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Mexico, the most decorated side with four regional titles, also won 4-2 on opening day over Belize.
The U.S., looking for a first crown in 10 years, hammered the Dominican Republic 11-1 on Monday but they'll face their biggest test of the group stage Wednesday against Panama (the 2017 champion).
Who are the best players at the Concacaf Beach Soccer Championship?
For the U.S., captain Nick Perera has been a constant for over 10 years now and Antonio Chávez — winner of the Best Young Player award in 2021 — is back for more. Nico Perea was named the 2022 U.S. Soccer Beach Male Player of the Year.
El Salvador's Frank Velásquez won the Golden Boot in 2021 and scored a hat-trick to start this tournament.
When is the 2023 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup?
The 16-team Beach Soccer World Cup runs from Nov. 16-26 in the United Arab Emirates. Russia hosted and won the last World Cup in 2021 but are banned from the competition. Japan finished runner-up and qualified again by finishing second at the recent AFC Beach Soccer Asian Cup (won by Iran).
Brazil is the most decorated beach soccer team with five world titles (their last coming in 2017) and the Kings of the Beach recently hammered Argentina 13-5 in the 2023 Copa América de Beach Soccer Final.
The European qualifiers will be determined at UEFA's eight-day July tournament in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Who is the best beach soccer player in the world?
Portugal's Bê Martins won BSWW's 2022 Best Player in the World award while Japan's Ozu Moreira won it in 2021. Switzerland's Noël Ott won the Golden Ball at the last World Cup.