Feature Player Spotlight: Ali Hall

Ali's Journey and Passion for Beach Soccer

Ali's story is a testament to resilience and passion. Growing up in Chicago, Illinois, Ali's soccer journey began with the Eclipse Soccer Club, where she quickly made a name for herself. Playing at the highest youth levels and attending USWNT youth camps, her talent was undeniable. This prowess on the field earned her a spot at the University of Tennessee, where she played for four years. During her time there, she formed a deep connection with California, falling in love with the state's vibrant soccer culture during her visits. After graduating, she moved to San Francisco, initially taking a break from soccer to explore other opportunities. However, the game that had shaped her childhood called her back, and she joined the Nighthawks in California.

Ali's return to soccer was abruptly interrupted by a severe car accident, which left her with a concussion and sidelined her for a year. Despite the physical and emotional challenges, her determination never wavered. Her recovery was fueled by an unwavering belief that she would play again. After a year-long hiatus, a friend invited her to try beach soccer in Santa Monica. Although skeptical at first, Ali agreed, and this unexpected turn introduced her to a new passion. Beach soccer's unique demands and the ability to showcase all aspects of a player's skillset captivated her. Unlike traditional 11v11 soccer, beach soccer allowed her to explore different facets of the game, bringing out a newfound joy.

Ali's journey with beach soccer quickly gained momentum. She joined the newly formed US Women's Beach Soccer National Team, an endeavor that reignited her love for the sport. Competing internationally, including a life-changing tournament in Turkey, Ali was struck by the global community and the diverse cultures united by their love for the game. This experience solidified her commitment to beach soccer, leading her to play in Russia and beyond, fully immersing herself in the sport. The tournament in Turkey, in particular, was a turning point for Ali. Witnessing the passion and enthusiasm of players and fans from around the world, she realized the potential of beach soccer to unite and inspire.

Beyond her personal achievements, Ali is a fierce advocate for the growth of women's beach soccer in the United States. She tirelessly works to organize tournaments and secure sponsorships, aiming to elevate the sport to new heights. As a member of the US Athlete Council, she uses her platform to be a voice for athletes and promote the sport's development. Ali envisions a future where women's beach soccer gains the recognition it deserves, aiming for a Women's Beach Soccer World Cup and ultimately the Olympics. Her dedication to the sport and her desire to inspire the next generation of players is a beacon of hope for the future of women's beach soccer.

Ali also reflects on the differences in how soccer is perceived and played internationally. In Europe, the love for the game is palpable, with people living and breathing soccer. The skills developed through futsal in Spain and beach soccer in Brazil highlight the diverse approaches to the sport. Ali believes that the US can learn from these countries to foster a deeper appreciation and joy for soccer. She emphasizes the importance of maintaining the love for the game amidst the business aspects that often overshadow the sport in the US. By tapping into the childlike joy and freedom that soccer brings, Ali hopes to rekindle the passion for the game in America.

Ali's vision for the future of women's beach soccer is ambitious yet is something that resonates very strongly with us. She is pushing hard for the establishment of a Women's Beach Soccer World Cup, a crucial step towards making the sport an Olympic event. Her efforts to host a significant tournament in the US aim to showcase the sport's potential and attract more players and fans. When speaking to Ali, one of the things that really resonated with us was her saying that “you have to leave room for freedom because that is where the joy is and without joy, the game is not worth playing. You have to tap into your child-like self again”. Ali's journey, marked by resilience and an unwavering passion, serves as an inspiration to all who strive to pursue their dreams against the odds. Her story is a powerful reminder of the transformative power of sport and the importance of perseverance.

Watch some awesome beach soccer highlights HERE.