Two Wave players on Canadian national team
MILWAUKEE (April 17, 2009) - When you think beach soccer, you think of Brazil, France, perhaps the American coastlines in Miami and Southern California. But the Great White North?
Canada actually has a respectable history in the relatively young sport of beach soccer, having reached the quarterfinals of the 2006 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup. This year, the Canadians feature a strong Wave flavor, with veteran Giuliano Oliviero and XSL Rookie of the Year Marco Terminesi on the team. Ross Ongaro, who played for the Wave in the 1985-86 season, is the team's coach and another former Wave player, Sipho Sibiya, is a member of the squad.
They participate in the CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship, April 29-May 3 in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The CONCACAF region includes North and Central America and the Caribbean, and the top two teams in this tournament qualify for the 2009 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Dubai, Nov. 16-22.
"It's a pleasure, anytime you represent your country at any level, it's always an honor," said Oliviero, 35, who is participating in his first beach soccer event.
Canada rejoins the competition after a two-year absence; it qualified for the World Cup in 2006 by finishing second. Also in the tournament are Bahamas, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Mexico and the United States. The U.S. has won the event twice; Mexico is the defending champion.
Terminesi, just 24, is a native of Woodbridge, Ontario. He comes off a season in which he scored 52 points, second in the XSL. He learned from Canadian teammate and Detroit Ignition captain Kyt Selaidopoulos that he was an option, then Ongaro watched him play during the XSL season. He remained on the fence about what to do with his summer, but gradually came around to embracing the opportunity with the Canadian team.
"Once I heard about the hotels, food and the way they take care of us, that's when I realized it's going to be a big deal," Terminesi said. "Plus, you're playing for your country, that's the thing that's going to be awesome."
Beach soccer is played with four field players plus a keeper, with three 12-minute periods in each game. With wide-open spaces, every free kick a direct try at goal and nearly full-size outdoor goals, there is plenty of scoring. The FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup is played annually; it should surprise no one that Brazil has won the last three tournaments.
"It's played in the air, you can't really dribble in sand," Oliviero said. "For those acrobatic guys, it's good for them. The goals are big, and there should be a lot of scoring."
The team trains in San Diego for three days beginning April 24, then goes to Puerto Vallarta. Selaidopoulos, who helped lead the Ignition to the first XSL championship, is already in Milwaukee to join Oliviero and Terminesi for training.
"Anytime you represent your country in any form whatsoever, it's a huge honor," said Wave Head Coach Keith Tozer. "I'm very happy for both guys, and it should be an outstanding experience."
For more information on beach soccer, visit http://www.concacaf.com/competitions/beach/2009/index.aspx or http://www.fifa.com/beachsoccerworldcup/index.html.
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Xtreme Soccer League Stories from April 17, 2009
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- Two Wave players on Canadian national team - Milwaukee Wave
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