The Bahamas will once again play host to a major beach soccer tournament. The Bahamas Beach Soccer Cup 2018 is set for April 27 to April 29, at the Bahamas Football Association’s (BFA) National Beach Soccer Stadium at Malcolm Park. It will feature teams from the host nation, the United States of America (USA), Mexico and Spain. The tournament will be a round-robin tournament. The first game will feature Spain going up against the U.S. at 6 p.m. The second game will see The Bahamas taking on Mexico at 7:15 p.m. Prior to both matches, there will be an opening ceremony, and fan zones are set up for the duration of the event. The Bahamas is ranked at number 39 in the world, one spot behind Turkey and one spot above Colombia. The Bahamas participated in the CONCACAF Beach Soccer Championship prior to the world cup, and reached the quarterfinals but lost to Guadeloupe, 5-3. The Bahamian team will be looking to start off the year on a positive note, looking to capture wins over any of the three visiting teams next week, and earn ranking points The Bahamas defeated the U.S., 5-4, in 2016 in a friendly while in Europe for a training camp. It was a huge for the national program, as the U.S. was ranked number 15 in the world at the time. The Bahamas lost, 3-2, in a friendly against Mexico in January of 2017. Currently, the U.S. is ranked number 31 in the world and is at number fourth in the CONCACAF region.
They will be looking to earn ranking points, coming on the heels of not qualifying for last year’s beach soccer world cup. Mexico is ranked number 15 in the world and is the highest ranked team in the CONCACAF region. That nation will be looking for redemption after finishing winless in last year’s world cup. Spain is ranked number 11 in the world and is number five in Europe. This will be their first time in The Bahamas, but it will not be their first tournament of the year. Spain finished second in the Persian Beach Soccer Cup in Iran at the end of January. The Bahamian team members are Julio Jemison (University of The Bahamas), Jean Francois (United FC), Kyle Williams (Bears FC), Nesly Jean (Bears FC), Dwayne Forbes (United FC), Daron Beneby (Bears FC), Gavin Christie (Cavalier FC,) Lesly St. Fleur (Bears FC), Ivan Rolle (Baha Jrs.) and James Thompson (Dynamos FC). Francois is the captain of the team and the head coach is Roberto Ceciliano. It is a seasoned team with only one newcomer, James Thompson. The team’s leading goal scorer, St. Fleur, will be looking to build on his resume as the top goal scorer for The Bahamas in international competition.