Christie: This was just the beginning for the Bahamas
Bahamas captain Gavin Christie talks about leading his country at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup
The 35-year-old scored goals in the first two matches, against Switzerland and Senegal
"This can be huge for the Bahamas!"
On paper, one might look at the Bahamas' exit after the group stage round as something of a failure, but their performances on the sand during the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup Bahamas 2017 were anything but.
Hosting and performing at a World Cup for the first time can have a far-reaching positive effect on the future trajectory of a country and the sport. For Bahamas captain Gavin Christie, leading his country at Bahamas 2017 and hopefully leaving a lasting legacy for the future of beach soccer on the archipelago has been a source of great pride.
"It's a dream come true for a small nation like the Bahamas to host an event of this magnitude on our shores," Christie told FIFA.com. "And for us to participate in it and play against the best teams in the world, but also the best players in the world and to perform fairly well and win a game, has been amazing."
The Bahamas made history at this tournament when they became the first Caribbean team to win a match at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup after their 4-1 victory over Ecuador.
"We're stoked and we look forward now. It's just the beginning for the Bahamas. It's a building block and a very good start.
"It's creating a new culture for beach soccer in the country. The fans love it and they want more. They're already asking when the next tournament is and they see that it's a sport that the Bahamas can perform in at the highest level. This can be huge for the Bahamas!"
The Bahamas suffered disappointment in a 10-1 loss to Senegal in their second Group A match, but their response to that loss by beating Ecuador by three goals certainly helped Christie and Co end on a high.
"The highlight for me has been the level of play that I've seen from the different teams. Personally, our highlight is performing against No6 in the world Switzerland, we came up short, but we still performed. And of course winning a match against No22 in the world Ecuador, it's amazing to play these teams and to perform against them. That's been our highlight. We just have to go forward from there."