Volleyball Canada, in partnership with the Langley Events Centre, have announced the six teams that will compete in the inaugural U23 Pan American Men’s Volleyball Cup, which runs Sept. 25-30 at the LEC.
The lineup will include Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Canada.
This group represents some of the very best volleyball-playing countries in the Americas as five of the six attending countries have senior teams currently in the top 25 of the FIVB World Rankings, including top ranked Brazil.
This event will feature the stars of tomorrow, with many potential competitors on their way to eventually representing their respective countries at the senior level.
“The level of competition fans will see at this event is second to none,” LEC Director of Business Development Jared Harman said. “The volleyball community is going to see the best the sport has to offer at the U23 level.”
As for Canada, whose senior team is currently ranked No. 16 in FIVB rankings, the red and white will be represented by the two-time reigning CIS National Champion Trinity Western University men’s volleyball team. Because Canada will not have a national team program with athletes in this age category together at this time of year, the Trinity Western side, which also represented Canada last fall at the 2011 FIVB Club World Championship in Doha, Qatar, will once again have the opportunity to don the maple leaf.
This time, however, the Spartans will have the chance to play not only on home soil but also against athletes of similar age.
“As a group, to have every guy getting the chance to represent your country at home and in front of friends and fans is an opportunity that’s a blessing for sure,” said Spartans coach Ben Josephson.
“I think this will show us where we’re at based on our own age. We get to play against guys who are roughly the same age from other countries who might be more skilled and maybe even a little bit bigger and more physical. I think it’ll be interesting to see how they can relax and stay focused in that scenario. They really can beat these teams so it will be interesting to see how they react.”
The U23 Pan American Cup is a new competition created jointly by the NORCECA (North America, Central America & Caribbean) and the South American Volleyball Confederations, and will feature the top teams from these zones. The event has been developed to provide an additional competitive opportunity for developing national team players who may be on the cusp of making their first appearances with their respective country’s senior level national teams. Athletes must be born in 1990 or later to be eligible to compete.
The full schedule and ticket information for the tournament will be available in the coming weeks.