The team (seven players and staff) arrived in San Juan, Puerto Rico at 7 p.m. on Thursday. Our flight from Dallas to Fort Lauderdale was uneventful as was the flight into Puerto Rico; quick greetings at the airport and onto a bus for the hour-plus drive to Puerto Rico’s Olympic Training Facility. They are barrack style rooms that remind me of stories of our Olympic Training Center from years past. We do have air conditioning, so no one is complaining. We checked in and received a meal. The girls are excited that all 12 of them will share a single room, full of bunk beds, along with Asst Coach Melissa Wolter and Doctor Jodi Pelegrin.
Two practice sessions on Friday, one at the training court on complex and the other at the competition venue. Transportation has been dependable but the hour drive from the competition venue will keep our schedule busy.
Jim, Jodi and I stayed at the Villa for the preliminary inquiry. Everything was in order so we had no issues. We also got through the technical meeting in an hour and a half. Three upcoming rules will be in effect for this tournament. The quick substitutions rule, the second referee’s ability to whistle the back-row attack and the new net violation rule. Essentially, only net violations that happen at the top white portion of the net will be called, unless they interfere with play. The most significant change for us is our first match versus the Dominican Republic is now 5 p.m. instead of 6 p.m. With five of our twelve players arriving at 2:15 p.m. tomorrow. It will be a tight schedule.
Everyone is anxious to get started and I am relieved now that all the details are worked out. There is wireless internet at the Competition venue but not at the training center. I will keep everyone posted regularly then.
Adios from a silent dark night
Heath Hoke Team Leader, U.S. Girls' Youth National Team