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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 26, 2009) – The 2009 U.S. Boys’ Youth National Team is special. According to head coach Andy Read, it is the best group that the U.S. has had at this age group in several years.
“We have 19 of the best volleyball players you could possibly have,” Read said prior to announcing the 12-man roster. “It is an extremely talented group. It has been a very long time since we have been able to get this many good, young players together with this quality.”
Read is hoping that the team can use its talent to succeed at the 2009 FIVB Boys’ Youth (Under-19) World Championship on Aug. 28-Sept. 6 in Jesolo and Bassano del Grappa, Italy.
Team USA punched its ticket for the tournament at the 2008 NORCECA Boys’ Youth Continental Championship in Miami, Fla. They defeated Guatemala and El Salvador in pool play, and bested Mexico 3-0 (25-21, 25-20, 25-18) in the semifinals to clinch the spot (the top two teams automatically qualified).
As icing on the cake, the U.S. team downed Puerto Rico 3-0 (25-19, 25-20, 25-18) in the gold medal match.
Libero Evan Mottram (Leona Valley, Calif.), who is on the world championship team, was named Best Receiver and Best Libero. Read was named Best Coach.
The United States, which is ranked 8th in the world in the FIVB Men’s Junior and Boys’ Youth World Rankings, was placed in Pool B along with defending champions and current world No. 1 Iran, No. 18 Japan and No. 26 Serbia. The U.S. opens the tournament on Aug. 28 against Iran followed by Serbia on Aug. 29. It closes out pool play on Aug. 30 against Japan. The top two teams in each of the four pools advance to the top eight with the gold medal still in sight.
Despite the tough draw, Read says the team has big expectations and the determination to match.
“The guys are pretty focused on the mentality that, ‘We’re not just going to Italy to show up,’” he said. “Qualifying was the first step last summer. They want to go there and they want to come back wearing a gold medal.”
The team trained in Florida, in preparation for the high level of play and unique atmosphere seen in international tournaments.
“All these guys have played in some big matches, in club and at junior nationals” Read said. “We’ve tried to create those kinds of situations here, but there is no doubt that the first time you put on a USA jersey and hear your anthem, it is going to be pretty special.”
Read believes that the immense talent that the U.S. team possesses will allow it to compete at the international level.
“We have so many good players that we can meet the level that we are going to have to play in the tournament,” Read said. “That’s one of the great things about having the depth that we have in this group.”
The event web site is at www.fivb.org/EN/Volleyball/Competitions/Youth/men/2009/.
FIVB Boys’ Youth World Championship
Aug. 28-Sept. 6 in Jesolo and Bassano del Grappa, Italy
No Name (Position, Hometown, Region, Club)
2 Micah Christenson (Setter, Honolulu, Hawai’i, Aloha, Outrigger Canoe VC)
3 Tanner Clayton (Middle Blocker, San Diego, Calif., Southern California, Epic VC)
4 Taylor Crabb (LOH, Honolulu, Hawai’i, Aloha, Outrigger Canoe VC)
6 Dylan Davis (MB, Corona del Mar, Calif., So Cal, Balboa Bay VC)
7 Jeremy Dejno (LOH, New Berlin, Wis., Badger, Lightning VC)
10 Nick Gibson (LOH, Shorewood, Wis., Badger, North Shore Milwaukee VC)
12 Evan Mottram (Libero, Leona Valley, Calif., So Cal, Pacific Palisades VC)
14 Connor Olbright (Setter, Orange, Calif., So Cal, Balboa Bay VC)
15 Spencer Rowe (MB, Trabuco Canyon, Calif., So Cal, OCVC)
16 Taylor Sander (LOH, Norco, Calif., So Cal, Orange Coast VC)
18 Joshua Taylor (LOH, Honolulu, Hawai’i, Aloha, Ku’ikahi VC)
19 Maurice Torres (ROH, Riverside, Calif., So Cal, OC Riptides)
Head Coach: Andy Read
Assistant Coach: Sean Byron
Team Leader/Manager: Ken Preston
Doctor: David Dyck Jr.
Therapist/Trainer: Daniel Friend
Technical Coordinator: Chris Birch
Pool A: Italy, Tunisia, Puerto Rico, Egypt
Pool B: Iran, USA, Serbia, Japan
Pool C: Argentina, France, Spain, Algeria
Pool D: Brazil, Russia Poland, India
Pool B Match Schedule
All matches in Jesolo
Japan vs. Serbia (10 a.m. local; 1 a.m. PT)
USA vs. Iran (12:30 p.m. local; 3:30 a.m. PT)
Iran vs. Japan (10 a.m. local; 1 a.m. PT)
USA vs. Serbia (12:30 p.m. local; 3:30 a.m. PT)
USA vs. Japan (10 a.m. local; 1 a.m. PT)
Iran vs. Serbia (12:30 p.m. local; 3:30 a.m. PT)