Soccer in the Sand will swing into Grand Haven for the seventh-straight year on Saturday, bringing an estimated 12,000 people into the city for the two-day beach soccer tournament.
Grand Haven, which acts as a qualifier for the organization’s national tournament in Clearwater Beach, Fla., is the biggest event in the Soccer in the Sand series. Coast Guard City broke the record with 230 teams last year, and has 291 signed up for this edition — which includes age categories from as young as U-9, all the way to the adult championship brackets. The 5-on-5 format uses teams of 6-10 players.
Organizer Chris Lemay said that he coupled those numbers with expected family members and other spectators to get to the 12,000-figure estimate.
“That’s one thing that’s a little bit differ about our event, Mom and Brother and Sister all want to come to make sandcastles and swim,” Lemay said. “It’s on the beach, so you don’t have to drag people.”
Grand Haven’s edition has grown this year, with the city joining the state park in letting the organization use the beach for courts.
Due to the expected crowds, Harbor Transit will have parking and a $1 shuttle service available at 803 Taylor Ave. and 900 Cutler Street,