Meet the Ravenna showstoppers
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There is more to beach soccer than acrobatic goals and fancy flicks, as the Beach Babes cheerleaders have shown at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Ravenna/Italy 2011. Every time the players go off for a well-earned three-minute break between periods, the music is pumped up and the dancing troupe hit the sand to enthral the fans with their energetic and eye-catching routines.

And as the girls explained to FIFA.com, they are just as dedicated to their profession as the players, putting hours and hours of practice into their classy choreography.

“We’re three-time champions,” said dance coordinator Vanessa, who heads the eight-girl dance troupe from the entertainment company Personal Plus, which is based in the Canary Islands. “Our company made its first appearance at Marseille in 2008 and since then they’ve asked us to do European beach soccer events. They called us again to do Dubai 2009, and here we are once again.”

Vanessa’s fellow Beach Babes are Arlene, Idaira, Marta, Omayra, Patricia, Raphaella, and Yamiley, and together they rehearse and train for around eight hours a week, honing the moves that have made them an integral part of the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup experience.

"Doing a solo performance or an indoor event is totally different to doing a beach soccer competition,” added Vanessa. “It’s almost like being a beach soccer player. Luckily we get great weather in the Canary Islands all year round and we’ve got no shortage of beaches to practice on.”

The spectacle they create plays a big part in generating the atmosphere that makes beach soccer so special, an atmosphere that drives the girls to give it their very best when they take to the sand.

“What would the breaks be without us?” continued Vanessa. “They’d be pretty boring, wouldn’t they? It’s a two-way thing here, though. Being here with all these people who are having such a great time really pushes us on. Beach soccer fans are unique. Football makes the world go round, and to be part of it in such a lovely way like this makes us want to keep going and going.”