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Men’s beach soccer players improving skill sets in youth

SAN DIEGO -- San Diegans Chris Toth and Nick Perera are two of the top 50 beach soccer players in the world.

They both play professionally in the Major Arena Soccer League and also compete on the United States Men's National Beach Soccer team.

Eight years ago, Toth, a goalkeeper for the San Diego Sockers, discovered beach soccer through a local tournament and it wasn't long until he began playing for the U.S. Men's National Beach Soccer team.

"You're on the beach, it's different," said Toth. "Obviously no shoes, you're playing on sand, it's tough to dribble but the main aspects of it are just being very technical and you have to be very fit to play the sport."

With the help of former Sockers teammate and current men's national beach soccer team captain Nick Perera, Toth started running camps to teach children beach soccer.

"Kids love it," said Perera. "It's an incredible technical development tool for them in terms of changing the way they play in getting more touches on the ball but it's also super enjoyable."

"It's awesome, man," said Toth. "We have so much fun together playing and then also coaching. It's an honor to be out here and do what we love and coach kids."

Playing on an uneven surface makes the game much tougher to predict. Skill-wise, the ball is predominantly played in the air and dribbling becomes much more difficult.

"It makes you think faster," said Perera. "It makes you react a lot quicker, it makes you make technical decisions a lot quicker so we find it sharpens their tools tremendously for any kind of soccer they want to play in the future."

A match is played for 36 minutes on a 40-by-30 field with five players. As members of the Men's National Beach Soccer team, the guys say the sport isn't as advanced as other countries.

"We are playing catch up but we always find that when we introduce it to people they love coming back," said Perera. "It's something they really want to make part of their soccer landscape."

Toth says the camps they teach are mainly run in the summer time but they offer lessons all year round. If you'd like more information, Toth asks that you contact him directly at christoth9@yahoo.com or at Go Beach Soccer.