US to Begin Play in Beach Soccer World Cup

Silhouette of young people playing beach soccer

Photo: Getty Images

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The U.S. begins play in the 2021 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup today in Moscow against the Football Union of Russia with a roster including four players from San Diego County along with UC San Diego alumnus Alessandro Canale.

Canale, goalkeeper Chris Toth from Fallbrook and forward Nick Perera of Carlsbad will each be appearing in their third FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, while defender Jason Santos from Cardiff by the Sea will be playing in his second.

The 14-player U.S. roster also includes a second goalkeeper from San Diego County, Xavier Snaer-Williams from Oceanside, a graduate of El Camino High School,

The 10:30 a.m. game will be televised live in Spanish from Luzhniki Beach Soccer Stadium by the Universo cable network and streamed on the Telemundo Deportes app. The English-language broadcast will be shown on a delayed basis on cable's FS1 beginning at 4 p.m.

In accordance with the World Anti-Doping Code and a December 2020 decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the Football Union of Russia will participate as neutral athletes of its national sports federation.

The game is the first of three group play games for the U.S. It will also face Japan on Saturday at 6:30 a.m. and Paraguay Monday at noon. The top two teams in each of the four four-team groups advance to the quarterfinals.

The 31-year-old Canale scored twice in both the 2013 and 2019 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cups. He was a All-West Region third team selection by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America in 2013, his first season with the Tritons.

Toth, who turned 32 Aug. 4, is a Fallbrook High School graduate who was the Major Arena Soccer League's goalkeeper of the year for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons when he played for the San Diego Sockers. His father Zoltan was the Sockers' goalkeeper when they won five Major Indoor Soccer League championships from 1985-90.

Beach soccer is played on a rectangular field 35-37 meters long and 26-28 meters wide. The game is played on a level sandy area that is cleared of pebbles and seashells along with any other objects which could injure a player.

Each team consists of five players including the goalkeeper. Players must play in bare feet, although ankle guards are permitted. The game consists of three 12-minute periods.

Unlike conventional soccer, a game cannot end in a tie. If the score is tied at the end of regulation a three-minute overtime is played. If the score remains tied a penalty kick shootout is conducted.

This is the 11th FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup and 21st world championship for beach soccer. Before FIFA took over organization of the competition in 2005, it ran annually as the Beach Soccer World Championships from 1995-2004. In 2009, FIFA switched the tournament from annual to biennial.

The U.S. was eliminated in the group stage of the 2019 tournament after failing to qualify for the 2015 and 2017 tournaments.

Copyright 2021, City News Service, Inc.

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