By Jai-Leen James, Contributing Reporter
MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA – The Pro Footvolley Tour 2019 Summer Series is underway with the finals scheduled to be played Sunday, July 28th at Hollywood Beach. Professional footvolley athletes from all over the world have gathered in South Florida to compete in the three-week series.
Founded in 2008, the Pro Footvolley Tour is headquartered in Miami Beach, and is the premiere professional footvolley league in the United States. The best footvolley athletes, men and women, compete on the Tour, which is fully sanctioned by the United States Footvolley Association as the top professional footvolley league in the country.
Footvolley was created in Brazil but the sport has found its way on to the shores of Miami Beach. Brazilian-American President of the Pro Footvolley Tour, Sergio Menezes grew up in the suburbs of Washington, DC but moved to South Florida to attend University of Miami. He stayed after graduation. From hobby to gradual full-time dedication, Mr. Menezes also competes as captain of Team USA.
Explaining the sport, Menezes describes the game as “[…] basically beach volleyball with a soccer ball. Two players on each side – and you don’t use your hands.”
“They serve the ball by kicking it off a small mound of sand. But then once you see the skill level and difficulty of how you set the ball with your feet, your thighs, chest and shoulders and not just get it over the net but place it to your partner near the net so he or she can attack the ball, you realize how badass this sport really is.”
Beginning Monday, July 8th, the 2019 Summer Series, shown on-delay on beIN SPORTS, was held at the Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Hotel and Resort. Fans will see exclusive footage from three rounds of international competition between Team USA, Japan, Argentina, Mexico and Brazil. There are also all-star and mixed doubles matches.
The US Team has America’s best athlete in Will “SuperBoy” Lobato, a 17-year old sensation, from Pembroke Pines. The Tour’s best player, Fernando Plentz, competes for his native Brazil. On the women’s side, Team USA star Melony Poviones of Hialeah will also compete. The tournament concludes with the finals on Sunday, July 28th.
“We start in January […] six pro football league tour events, our official homecourt,” said Menezes. “Four hours of TV per event, 24 hours on national TV – English, Spanish, plus you get the distribution to Europe and Latin America.”
“These are some very skilled and high-flying athletes we have out there. We are hoping that the viewers will enjoy the programming.”
Footvolley isn’t an Olympic sport, but Menezes still has hope that it will someday and has plans to grow the sport.
“Momentum in business is like momentum in sports. If you start of winning, you know what, the odds are you’re going to keep winning,” said Menezes. “We have an amazing sport […] universally appealing.”
“We’re going to go to California. We’re going to take not one but six events again,” Menezes said.
If interested in learning how to footvolley, Miami Beach Training hosts Footvolley School every week in South Beach. On Tuesdays and Fridays, from 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM, footvolley enthusiasts of all levels are welcome to practice at 800 Ocean Drive.
On Saturdays, more experienced players can practice at 240 Ocean Drive from 9:30 AM to 10:30 AM. Beginners and children can learn basic skills at the same venue but at a later time from 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM. For more information, check out the Miami Beach Training Facebook page.