Small Town to U.S. Girls' Youth National Team

June 24, 2009, 9:22 a.m. (ET)

June 23, 2009

I come from a small town in Arkansas, and volleyball in my state is nowhere near popular.

When I was beginning to develop elite volleyball skills and fell in love with the game, I knew that if I wanted to pursue this later on in my life, that I had some work to do. I realized that if I wanted to play with the best players in the country, I would need to create opporotunities for myself in order to be successful.

Just because my high school and club coaches thought I was talented didn't guarantee that USA volleyball coaches would know about me. I explained to my parents that playing volleyball for my country was my dream, and they helped me tremendously in getting a chance to try out for a USA team.

I was unsuccessful the first year I tried out, but I came back the next year, and was accepted to the Select A1 camp. I then knew that with a lot of work, my dream had finally come within reach. Two years later, I made the Youth National Training Team, and was cut after tryouts.

With a lot to learn, I practiced and practiced and this year I again tried out with the Youth National Training Team, and made it! Although I have only been at training for eight days so far, I have learned so much and love being in the gym with these girls.

The best youth players in the country are my teammates! :) We're learning every day, training hard, and having fun. To sum up, no matter where you come from, you can reach the highest level!

Create opporotunities for yourself to be the best you can be. Don't let anything stop you.

Editor's Note: Hannah Allison is one of 12 players competing on the U.S. Girls' Youth National Team which will represent the United States at the FIVB Girls' Youth World Championship in Thailand July 3-12.