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Exclusive Chat with Luke Kerr: England Beach Soccer’s CEO.

A distinguished figure in the world of beach soccer, stands at the helm of England Beach Soccer, steering it toward unprecedented success. As the CEO of England Beach Soccer, Kerr’s multifaceted role as a former Army veteran, entrepreneur, boxing champion, and soccer coach embodies the vigour and determination essential to elevate this niche sport.

In this insightful conversation with Luke, he unveils the tenacity and ambition fuelling the sport’s rise. As the team navigates challenges and embraces victories, their story remains a testament to passion, dedication, and an unwavering pursuit of excellence.

BSmag: Can you describe the journey of England Beach Soccer in recent years, especially regarding the progress made under your leadership?

In 2019 England Beach Soccer Ltd as a private business stopped operating after 7 years of running our international beach soccer men’s and women’s teams, I was called by then men’s manager and women’s manager Perry Northeast to form part of a new group that would approach the FA to set up EBSA “England Beach Soccer Association” in a meeting at Wembley the FA agreed for us to step in and continue to operate the teams and challenged us to deliver our five year strategy then we presented that day. The association was split into three section men’s under Mark Mitchell and Aaron Clarke, women’s under Perry Northeast and myself as National league and youth this was largely to my success from previous years developing both the youth and senior game in England independently from the old EBS, I never worked with the old EBS as they never invested in the sport and on their (EBS) exit they left the sport with nothing but memories, we had to start with nothing but passion for our sport and the backing of the FA to use the three Lions under IP controls.

I’ve operated in beach soccer for over 20 years now across multiple club and international teams and organisations including FIFA for 4 year as an instructor with some of games best and outside of sport I’ve been successful in business strategy deployment and execution deploying and building world class award winning teams, so with my experience, sporting and business background its now offering the skills and knowledge EBS needs as a platform to help stabilise the failings of the past and eventually grow and more importantly under our governing body the FA and the BOA with Team GB.

BSmag: How do you plan to increase the popularity and participation of beach soccer in England?

Beach Soccer is played in numerous beach counties, Devon, Dorset, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Sussex, London, East Riding and Lincolnshire. EBSA operate in most of these areas with youth and or senior events with other private companies like East Coast Beach Soccer, Wight Wave Beach Sports, Romar Sports, and Isle of Wight Beach Soccer all offering their own bespoke events outside of the EBSA national teams and cups. Beach Soccer will always be a regionally based sport near the sea and sand unless we start to see more sand-based multi-sport sites grow with council in these coastal and inner-city regions that offer not just soccer but other forms of beach sports too, something we are working on with various groups.

“We have to aim big. We have to aim to be the best in the world, and hope that the World Beach Games come back around, and we’re ready to go from silver to gold.

Luke Kerr, CEO of England Beach Soccer

BSmag: What role do young talents play in England Beach Soccer, and how are you nurturing them?

We’ve established player pathways and talent scouting, identifying rising stars from youth and senior events. Young talents like ike Jaz Camara, Cam O’Rourke, Tommy Jackson and Tom Oneil all started with me when they were kids aged 10, they have used youth events and national senior cups to learn the game and now we need to do the same as the women’s game rapidly grows.

BSmag: The NEOM Cup seems to be growing in scale and significance. How has this event contributed to the development of beach soccer in England, and what are your expectations for its future?

The NEOM Cup is a world-class spectacle, showcasing the captivating nature of beach soccer. It provided a platform for England’s teams, especially since FIFA World Cup qualification remains unattainable. The event has elevated the sport’s profile, setting the bar high for future tournaments and potential global recognition.

BSmag: What are the key takeaways from this event for the upcoming season in 2024?

For the men’s team continue with the plan, for the women’s team we have to bring in new talent given some of our women team are now leaving the sport of beach soccer as contracted footballers playing in much more elite environments where there is investment, something we cannot compete with, but we will try.

BSmag: Competing against top teams like Brazil, Japan, and Spain presents challenges. How does this impact your team, and what opportunities do these competitions offer?

Teams like Brazil and Spain enjoy substantial backing, while we operate without similar resources. Nevertheless, our team displays professionalism and resilience, punching above its weight with pride and passion. Competing against these giants offers invaluable experience and growth opportunities. We have to act like professionals but alongside our day jobs our players, coaches and directors give up time, holidays and our own money, we punch well above our weight because we have pride, passion and now some structure.

BSmag: England’s recent victory over Spain was a significant achievement. What factors contributed to this win, and how do you plan to build on it in the future?

In the wake of the old EBS the men’s team have had to rebuild and have a shift in culture, prior to 2019 the FA provide forms of funding to the men’s team making it east for them to travel to events, the women’s team however were given no funding and had to under the excellent leadership of Perry Northeast start with nothing, build and raise sponsorship, this hard working culture created something the men’s team have had to adopt post 2019 funding, where egos shifted and a team had to be rebuild again this time under the leadership of Aaron Clarke who despite his challenges from past bitter players sighted for a new squad hungry for the opportunity to shine under self-funding policy the team of athletes have had to do it the hard way but follow the Clarke strategy and philosophy of play, slowly with tour time coming at huge expense the team are growing with experience, alongside the day jobs finding time to train, support national events and compete internationally which is all very time consuming, but despite this, the team are a resilient bunch and well drilled who as a group now look to push on post some fantastic wins in 2023.

BSmag: The beach soccer rivalry between England and Germany is notable. How does this rivalry impact the team’s performance and motivation?

Its one of the oldest rivalries in football, and despite the healthy rivalry, we have a lot of respect for our Germany counterparts, I recall my first ever match with Germany a 2v2 draw we then lost on penalties, I was England Head Coach in 2007 and my fellow FIFA instructor Eddie Loewen was German Head Coach, we have been friends for almost 20 years now, Enemies on the pitch good friends off the sand.

BSmag: With England’s improved world ranking and notable victories, what are your goals and expectations for the team’s future international competitions?

With the women’s team it will be hard to sustain their rankings but we have to maintain we can still be the best in the world and hope the world beach games come back round we are ready to go from silver to gold but with an injection of fresh talent alongside our experienced past champions and the men’s team I’m confident they will continue to grow and I can feel European Division A in touching distance something under Aaron supported by Felipe Lira they can and will achieve, then they can focus on a FIFA world cup birth potential for the future, we have to aim big.

BSmag: How do you plan to secure additional funding and support for England Beach Soccer?

Our strategy involves nurturing long-term partnerships with the FA and commercial allies. Key partnerships, like those with Visionary Tax, Victorious Festival, and Networld Sports, support our growth ambitions, without them we could not have made the strides. We must continue the programme of self-funding for our athletes and their personal sponsors who again we cannot thank enough, the players, coaches and our directors all have to dig deep to keep the game alive we all passionately love by annually reaching out to the sponsor to keep our dreams of playing alive.

England National Beach Soccer Award 2023

BSmag

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