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An American in Brazil: Beach soccer in pictures

NOTE: This article originally appeared on MLSSoccer.com.

NATAL, Brazil - Having finallly arrived in Brazil and settled down it was time for some much needed relaxation. Our insane sprint to the Ghana game was in the rear-view mirror and a couple days of full of fun and sun lay ahead. 

Our host city for the first World Cup match; our triumph over the Black Stars, Natal, sits in the North-East of Brazil. Natal, meaning "Christmas" in Portugese was founded on its saint's feast day in 1599. 

The city has rapidily grown into an popular beachside destination as Brazilians look to escape from the hustle and bustle of some of the country's major metropolitian areas like Rio and Sao Paulo.

With great beaches, of course, comes great beach soccer. Cruise up and down the coastline of Natal and you're guaranteed to see game after game after game cutting across the sand.

Beach soccer, or beasal, as its called here, started in Brazil back in 1992. Wth so many people kicking about in Natal and elsewhere -- not to mention the number of beaches -- it's no wonder that Brazil have won the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 13 of the 15 times it's been held. 

The beauty of beach soccer, much like soccer in general, is its simplicity. Just a few warm bodies, a ball, and something -- anything! -- to mark off goals. 

Here are just a few sights from Natal's beach soccer scene:

1) The first thing you need is a ball.

2) And a few friends.

3) Set up a goal.

4) Any goal will do.

5) Really.... any goal will do.

6) Even if your goal is still being used for it's original purpose. 

7) Maybe just a game of keepy-uppy instead.

8) Perhaps a kick-about with a difficult defender.

9) The games can sometimes be a bit casual.

10) Or they can be as intense as the real thing (American Outlaws play against Ghanaian fans at their hotel). 

11) But with always one GOOOOOOOL in mind. 

Tags: Major League Soccer, photography, World Cup

The Best of Both Worlds - Redhook Brewery Company’s Seattle Sounders/ECS Beer “No Equal” Blonde

Ahead of Saturday's always massive Cascadia clash between Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders (2pm CT on NBCSN) we received a package at FBM HQ from Redhook Brewery. 

Inside was their latest edition of "No Equal", the beer created for Emerald City Supporters, the Sounders' largest supporters group. The original version of "No Equal" was an amber, but, just in time for spring, they've released a blonde version of their popular soccer-specific-beer (SSB). 

"No Equal" was the first SSB in the modern American soccer era and, of course, not to be out done by their Pacific Northwest partners the Timbers Army collaborated with Widmer Brothers Brewing to release "Green & Gold" kölsch (and re-released again this season) and a more limited released of "Big Hearts & Brass Balls, a Caleb porter.

There's nothing better about American soccer than a good ol' fashioned rivalry and it only makes it better when two great beer cities also happen to be two great soccer cities as well. 

* All photography featured on this page was taken by the Free Beer Movement and is property of the Free Beer Movement.

Tags: Beer, Major League Soccer, photography, The Best of Both Worlds

Free Beer Match Day - 2013 MLS All-Star Game

All-Star Games are always about the fun. And for Major League Soccer,  their unique format allows a major world soccer team to come to town to play the best and the brightest our league has to offer. 

It is, though, no doubt a trap match. MLS wins... critics say they played a B-team in pre-season; MLS loses... the league is inferior. Partner that with the fact that the All-Stars have never played together before (and a bunch of them just game off Gold Cup duty) and they're tasked with facing an Italian side known for it's organization and solid defense.

So, predictably, the MLS All-Stars fell to AS Roma 3-1 with Los Angeles Galaxy's Omar Gonzalez grabbing the lone American goal in the dying minutes of the match. A nice treat to send the fans home with.

All-Star Week in Kansas City was fantastic though. We saw Macklemore in concert (whether you like him or not... having such a high-profile performer a part of the ASG is huge for the league's image), went rooftop and poolside with Bumpy Pitch, Kick TV, and The Offsides Rules, tailgated with the Cauldron, and, of course, caught a spectacle of a match.

This was the last stop on the summer swing of the "FBM World Tour". We'll be back on the road in the fall for the pair of home World Cup qualifiers in Columbus and, hey, Kansas City.

Here are a few of our choice pics from the last few days.

The party started here.

Macklemore on the plaza of the Power and Light District.

Hanging out with Alexi Lalas and Taylor Twellman during the Macklemore concert and the Media Mixer.

AS Roma training at Sporting Park.

"General" Michael Bradley on the training pitch. He was absolutely dominant in the game.

 

All-Stars getting warmed up.

(From Left to Right) Omar Gonzalez, Matt Besler, Kyle Beckerman, Nick Rimando,

Landon Donovan, and coach Peter Vermes taking questions from the media.

Oklahoma Joe's BBQ (the "Z-Man") and a Boulevard Brewing Wheat.

Rooftop at the Jones Pool party.

Met former USMNT Eddie Pope.

Sporting Park on gameday.

KC Cauldron's spent keg's from the tailgate.

Starting lineups.

Craft beer with a prominent place all over Sporting Park including Boulevard Brewing's "Member's Club" for the supporters' section.

#CheersToSocccer with Boulevard Brewing's "Tank 7" Saison Ale

Not a great night for the MLS All-Stars. They played like a team that had never played together before (because that's the case!). Overall though Kansas City showed why it is one of America's great soccer cities. 

 

Tags: Free Beer Match Days, Major League Soccer, photography

Free Beer Match Day - Portland Thorns vs. Boston Breakers (NWSL)

We're in town for the United States national team next week. And the beer... cannot forget about the beer. But with the Portland Timbers on the road while we're here in the Rose City we weren't going to miss an opportunity to miss the next best thing (and the best thing in women's soccer) the Portland Thorns of the National Women's Soccer League. On Saturday night the side captained by Canadian legend Christine Sinclair and buoyed by U.S. stars Alex Morgan and Rachel Buehler faced off against the a Boston Breakers team that featured Sydney Leroux and Heather O'Reilly.

The Thorns had struggled of late, scoreless in their two matches. The evening would not be different. Leroux absolutely dominated for the Breakers grabbing two goals in the first half. Her first a great strike that we were afraid to cheer for among the Thorns faithful in the supporters section. 

Despite the 2-0 loss for the home side the "Rose City Riveters", the Thorns supporters group, kept their voices loud and the flags flying.

The "Timbers Army" Green & Gold Kolsch on tap.

Leading the charge.

"Rose City. No Pity"

Needs no introduction.

Supporters of all ages.

"Cheers to Soccer"

Packed supporters section.

Sideline view.

Morgan puts a shot off the face of the Boston keeper... who already was wearing a mask to protect her broken nose!

Morgan... frustrated by the Breakers defense all night.

These roses (given to goal scorers or shutouts) would be left unclaimed tonight.

A "thank you" to supporters despite the result.

Flags still flying.

Tags: Free Beer Match Days, photography

Free Beer Match Day - USMNT vs. Honduras in Salt Lake City

Awesome event poster from Kick TV.

Free Beer Movement was back on the road to witness the United States men's national team's World Cup qualifier against Honduras in Salt Lake City. Before the match we were able to dabble in a bit of drinking and bust some beer myths about Utah beer.  The state's draft beer laws are antiquated (not allowing for greater that 4.0% ABV from the tap), but Utah bottled beers have no limits. While there are a few solid brews on the low ABV end the real good stuff is being bottled.

If you're ever in Salt Lake City we highly recommend the breweries of Epic and Uinta....two awesome breweries.

Enough about the beer. On to game day!

 

Riot Tinto Stadium.... the calm before the storm...

The Honduran support before the match was "sizable".

The U.S. supporters were equal to the task as well.

The "march to the match" is on!

U.S. fans reporting for duty.

"Proof Through The Night"....

American Outlaws getting loud.

#CheersToSoccer

Goal! Jozy!

Best tifo we saw in SLC.

Picked up a few RSL scarves from great supporters there.... along with the next edition of the U.S. Soccer "Anthem" scarves.

 

Tags: Beer, Free Beer Match Days, photography, USMNT

Free Beer Match Day - USMNT vs. Panama in Seattle

The calm before the storm. CenturyLink Field on Sunday evening.

Coverage of U.S. Soccer from "The Seattle Times".

Our hotel was right across the street from the USMNT hotel and I was able to snag pics with a few of the guys.

Jermaine Jones. Concussed or stunned to meet FBM?

Two members of the "big ear club". Me and Brad Davis.

Sacha Kljestan. Thanks for taking the picture former Victoria's Secret model Jamie Lee Darley!

Like an opponent's shot, safely in the arms of Brad Guzan.

Fabian Johnson and Nick Rimando. 

We took in a few beers at Elysian Brewing Company in the Capitol Hill neighborhood and, of course, left our mark.

The American Outlaws "Night Before Party" was hosted by AO: Seattle at Golazo Energy's Headquarters. Several former national team players including Cobi Jones, Alexi Lalas, and Taylor Twellman stopped by. A packed house all night with FIFA tournaments, fooseball (we dominated), and a uber-patrotic photo booth, plus sweet gear giveaways from Nike Soccer.

USMNT legend Cobi Jones supporting the FBM cause.

Signing a big card for the USMNT.

Sno-Fro made an appearance!

Then it was gameday. Off to the American Outlaws bar-tailgate and, of course, the match itself.

We took in a little bit of the "local flavor" for better or worse.

March to the Match.

Free scarves! America!

Under the giant flag after the National Anthem. One guy looks concerned.

The atmosphere at the stadium was incredible.

You know the drill.... #CheersToSoccer

 

American Outlaws VP Justin Brunken and I in silly surprise of such a great result.

We were walking out of the stadium when I elbowed Brunken. "Is that f*cking Jay DeMerit?" "Hey Jay!" I yelled.

Yup... Jay F*cking DeMerit.

Look ma! I was on the TeeVee!

Having survived the "snow-pocolypse" in Denver and been a part of this massively awesome crowd in Seattle.... don't know how much more "epic" U.S. events we can take! There's no doubt that this city knows how to bring it for American soccer, Sounders or their national team.

See you all in Salt Lake City!

Tags: Beer, Free Beer Match Days, photography, USMNT

WINNERS - #CheersToSoccer Photography Contest

Our #CheersToSoccer contest with "Beertography" and "The Beautiful Gear" has run its course and we received some amazing entries of your beer and soccer photography skills. It was hard to pick our favorites with so many quality pics, but we were able to narrow it down to our "first division" and "second division" winners. Sorry everyone... no pro/rel here either. Those in the top flight will be honored with our adidas "Pints Up!" shirt and the second tier will get a FBM sticker pack.

Thanks for everyone who submitted. This certainly won't be the last photography contest we roll with so keep on with the #CheersToSoccer everytime you're got a match in front of you and a cold one in your hand.

First Division:

@ShaaMikeMike (Philadelphia, PA)

@farnell81 (England)

@shawndjkidd (Vancouver)

Second Division:

@justin_rc (Dallas, TX)

@evahall (Chicago, IL)

@ATXChristina (Austin, TX)

Tags: contest, FBM In Action, photography

Contest - “Cheers To Soccer” Photography Contest

The brave purveyors of beer in the name of American soccer, known more commonly as the Free Beer Movement, are joining up with The Beautiful Gear and Beertography for a once in a lifetime Soccer + Beer + Photography themed contest.

With MLS "First Kick" rapidly approaching American soccer is about to jump off to heights unseen. Beer, on the other hand, is never not awesome. So, the three of us decided to get together and put on a photography contest celebrating those two incredibly lush entities. All you have to do is send us your best original beer and soccer photographs.

To enter just follow @CarterTDaly, @FreeBeerMovement, and @Beertography on Twitter and tweet using the hashtag #CheersToSoccer. Whether you're on the pitch, tailgating, in the stadium, at the pub, or hanging out in your own living room we want you to share what you're drinking, where you're drinking and/or who you're drinking with.

We'll get together in a top secret location and select the THREE best entries that demonstrate the essence of beer and soccer to receive one of these incredibly clean "Pints Up!" Adidas X Free Beer Movement t-shirts. Three more honorable mentions will win a sticker pack from FBM.

So get to playing, watching, drinking, and photographing and get at us with your work. We'll announce the winners in two weeks time.

Cheers To Soccer!

Tags: Beer, Cheers To Soccer, contest, Major League Soccer, photography

PHOTOS - Redhook Brewing Company’s “No Equal” Amber Lager

Tags: Beer, photography, Through The Drinking Glass