August 20, 2009

Corona Volleyball Event Gets Spiked with a Shot of Beach Soccer.

Beach Soccer crashed the biggest volleyball event in recent Santa Cruz History on June 27 with a center-court footvolley exhibition. Then they shared some party tricks. Hundreds of people hanging over the rails and packed on the beach got to see the brazilian-born game played at a high level by Team 99 members Jevin Albuquerque, Brendon Taguinod, Jakob Long, and Ronnie Silva. It was a show they will unlikely forget.

“It was awesome,” said spectator Ivan Blumberg, 20, of Santa Cruz, who has seen the Santa Cruz footvolley crew turn heads before. “When those guys come down to play they usually attract a crowd.”

The attraction was mutual. Clearly psyched by the crowd, the color, and the beach bling yellow Corona nets, the boys of Team USA & Team 99 pulled out a variety of trick shots and butter ball control. Albuquerque drew Oohs & Ahhs for his Shark Attack – a kill in which a player spikes the ball with the bottom of his foot. Silva rainbowed several powerful chest sets that made the ball look as if it had come off a trampoline. While Albuquerque & Silva displayed rockstar game, Taginod and Long were more surgical with their approach – hitting a variety of snapshot headers and misdirection dinks. By the time it was over, Tournament Director Mark Hull knew he had a headline event on his hands, “The crowd loved the show on main court. […] Everyone got into the announcers and the hype.” For half an hour, footvolley had stolen the show.

For Hull, however, it was an easy decision to allow footvolley to shine at a volleyball tournament. “I’ve been watching footvolley for about six years and as an ex soccer player and volleyballer I’m always impressed with their ball handling skills and the blending of both sports. Great Stuff.”

He’s not the only one who thinks so. On September 11-13 Dallas will host a pro event featuring the best players in America and most of the Santa Cruz FV crew ( It will be the first event of its kind in Texas and tournament director George Berre looks to establish it as a mainstay for the new Dallas Beach Soccer Complex which is scheduled for completion in summer of 2010. Miami has a yearly tournament at Hollywood beach ( which features domestic and imported talent from Brazil. Santa Barbara just completed their second yearly tournament with multiple divisions including girls ( With all this growth and exposure for Beach Soccer and Footvolley, there’s been an increase in interest at all levels.

Kaori Watanabe (San Diego State) isn’t content with watching her friends play as she sits on the sidelines. She approached the author during a game and demanded to take serves. “I don’t wanna stop playing. I don’t know why.” Ben Colaccio (UC Santa Cruz) put it a little more bluntly, “It’s addictive,” said the amateur footvolleyer who gets to test himself against the likes of Albuquerque and Taguinod from time to time. At the rate it’s growing, a footvolley tournament in Santa Cruz is looking more and more realistic. If nothing else, the families of the SC FV crew should pray that the Wide Open Tour returns. Los Angeles transplant Ronnie Silva waded through the sea of admiring spectators after his exhibition and deadpanned said, “If Santa Cruz threw more events like this, I would’ve never moved away.”