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Sunshine State Games International Beach Games Provides New Sport for Northwest Florida

While the Bay United Soccer Club has been promoting the game in Bay County and the surrounding areas for 30 years, the 2021 Sunshine State Games International Beach Games will the club’s first venture into Beach Soccer.

Bay United provides soccer opportunities to players ranging in age from three-year old beginning programs to adults, according to Kara Davis, President of the Club.

“We are the oldest soccer club in the Florida panhandle.” she said.

Bay United has hosted a couple of Beach Soccer clinics recently and Davis believes the Free Clinic offered by the Sunshine State Games International Beach Games has a chance to draw a lot of soccer players who are interested in the sport.

“Our clinics have been limited to the number of people able to attend because of the locations,” she said. “We’ve hosted them on the beach at local hotels in the mornings, so it doesn’t interfere with visitor’s time on the beach. With it being on a Friday evening and at a public area, it should draw a lot more attendees.”

The Free Clinic for athletes and officials, on Friday, August 13, beginning at 5:00 p.m. at M.B. Miller County Pier, will be directed by professional league beach soccer players and certified referees, according to SSG Beach Soccer Director Jeff Sundy. There will be a discussion about the sport and its rules and the technical part of the game, followed by a game between the participants and officiated by the referees attending the clinic.

The deadline to register for the sports of the 2021 Beach Games and be a part of the first Sunshine State Games event in Northwest Florida in the 42-year history of the Games is Saturday, August 7. Entry fees vary by sport. Visit https://sunshinestate.fusesport.com/registration/1505/ to register.

No registration is necessary to attend the Free Clinic.

Beach Soccer competition begins on Saturday morning at the M.B. Miller County Pier on and continues on Sunday, August 15.

Three three days of Beach Volleyball, August 13-15, features competition for Boy’s and Girl’s Junior Divisions, beginning at 14 and Under through Men’s and Women’s Open Divisions. Two-person and four-person coed teams will be competing on the 10 regulation beach volleyball courts, on the East side of the City Pier, with a backdrop of the clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

The schedule for Sunday, August 15, also features King and Queen of the Beach competition for the Junior and Open Divisions. Players sign up as individuals and are paired with different players throughout the afternoon. The individual player with the most wins and points among the paired teams are declared the King and Queen of the Beach.

Besides the Beach Volleyball at Pier Park, Highland Games events will be held across the street at Aaron Bessant Park on Saturday, August 14.

2021 Sunshine State Games International Beach Games Schedule of Events
Friday, August 13

5:00 p.m. – Free Beach Soccer Player and Officials Clinic, M.B. Miller County Pier
TBD – Beach Volleyball. Juniors Division competition

Saturday, August 14
8:00 a.m. – Beach Volleyball, Men’s and Women’s Open Doubles competition
9:00 a.m. – Beach Soccer, M.B. Miller County Pier
9:00 a.m. – Highland Games, Aaron Bessant Park

Sunday, August 15
9:00 a.m. – Beach Volleyball, Coed and King of the Beach competition
9:00 a.m. – Beach Soccer, M.B. Miller County Pier

For more information about the 2021 Sunshine State Games International Beach Games, please visit, www.sunshinestategames.com/beach-games