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USA Volleyball

Mar 07 U.S. National Team Players’ Reactions to City of Anaheim Vote

March 10, 2009, 9:11 p.m. (ET)

Contacts:
Bill Kauffman or B.J. Evans
USA Volleyball Managers of Media Relations
Phone: 719-228-6800

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (March 10, 2009) – Players on USA Volleyball’s Men’s and Women’s National Teams had plenty of positive things to say following the Anaheim City Council’s March 10 vote, which moved the city one step closer to being the host training city for both programs through the 2016 Olympic Games.

For the release providing details on the relocation of the U.S. Women’s National Team to Anaheim, click here.

Regarding Benefits of Training at Anaheim

...Heather Bown (Yorba Linda, Calif.)
As far as for the team, I think it will open up a number of possibilities for the Women that are already with the program, and those fortunate enough to be given the chance to come and join. Aside from the elevation factor, the travel to Asian countries, which is where most of our competitions take place, will be much more accessible and less taxing on us as athletes when the time comes to go on major competitions.

...Danielle Scott-Arruda (Baton Rouge, La.)
I think moving the team to Anaheim will be great for the U.S. Women's National Team. Although Colorado Springs Olympic Training had its benefits, training at altitude versus sea level was quite an adjustment to make, specifically for passing and serving skills before tournaments. California has a long history of volleyball indoor and outdoor. I think Anaheim will make a great home for the Women's National Team not only for its training location but also its community support.

...Rich Lambourne (Tustin, Calif.)
From a quality of life standpoint, I enjoy what southern California has to offer. Whether it be professional sports, beach time, etc., California is much more broad in terms of free time options – at least in terms of my personal preferences. Having said that, I did enjoy Colorado no matter how many rounds of golf were momentarily interrupted by afternoon showers. Being able to integrate ourselves into the Anaheim community and get to work with not only the mayor, but all the people that have supported our move has been a great thrill. And the chance to do that in a place I consider home makes it that much greater for me.

...Reid Priddy (Richmond, Va.)
I think secondly, it put us in a location where we were accessible to the greater volleyball community. In Colorado Springs, without a men's team within hundreds of miles, we were a bit isolated. For the building of our program and exposure to the younger players, being more in the mix within the volleyball community is important. The year of the move didn't come without consequence. There is no doubt a transition period where players are trying to move and settle their families.

...Ryan Millar (Palmdale, Calif.)
The move for us was vital to the success of our team. The results speak for themselves. The fact that we train and live in the mecca of volleyball in the U.S. just solidified USAV's support of our Olympic run. Being able to train at sea level has helped us immensely. I look forward to being in Anaheim this next quad as well.

...Stacy Sykora (Burleson, Texas)
A lot of younger players are teetering on playing beach or indoor volleyball, and a move to Anaheim and Southern California can actually be a benefit for these players. These players on the fence are usually from or living in California and can possibly train in both disciplines without moving from California. Now, some of these players will give indoor volleyball a chance. I am not saying moving to California is the answer to all of our problems, but in my experience with USA Volleyball, we have lost many players due to location.

Regarding Anaheim Community Support

...Heather Bown (Yorba Linda, Calif.)
The (Anaheim) community support has gotten nothing but praise from the Men’s program, and believe it or not, that really does make a difference for us as athletes. We strive when placed in an environment that is rich and supportive. There are many of our current players with ties to the Southern California area through college or high school. It would be a wonderful thing to actually be able to give back to the programs and people that were there when we were still just dreaming of being where we are today.

...Reid Priddy (Richmond, Va.)
Training in Anaheim has many great aspects. First, the support from the city of Anaheim has really made us feel at home. Connecting us with local businesses and entities has been awesome and added a new layer of belonging that makes playing for Team USA feel that much more like a team and greater family.

...Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.)
Southern California is the mecca of volleyball. There already is a buzz here in Southern California, and nothing has even been made official. Anaheim has provided lots of community support and interest to the U.S. Men's Team, and that is already occurring with the Women's Team. Having both teams training in Anaheim becomes a better avenue to promote our sport and the National Teams.

Regarding Training at Sea Level

...Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.)
Obviously, I am very excited about the potential move to Anaheim. Training at sea level will be a huge advantage, and that has been often overlooked with the U.S. Women's National Team. If we can train well at sea level, we can replicate that better in tournaments where most competitions are played at sea level.

...Stacy Sykora (Burleson, Texas)
Colorado Springs has provided altitude training for the volleyball team, but unless a match goes five sets, it really is not that big of a benefit for our sport. On the other hand, to adjust to sea level is not easy and has become a huge factor for the team. It seems like we always have to come from behind in early tournament matches or win key matches late in the tournament after a slow start. Internationally, teams have said that is a trait of our team - we start slow. This chance at training at sea level and entering a tournament without an adjustment period will be a huge advantage for us.

...Reid Priddy (Richmond, Va.)
The move to Anaheim was essential. On the court, it enabled us to train at sea-level which was important to our team progress in serving and receiving, which has a huge impact on the result of a match. Training at altitude hampered that part of our game and we had to go to tournaments early to try and acclimate. It was not in the team’s best interest.

...Heather Bown (Yorba Linda, Calif.)
I believe the elevation can be factored in as a setback that we have had to work to overcome when we travel on the road for tournaments. Most, if not all of our international play, is done at sea level. So it makes perfect sense to put our program in the conditions to best suit our competition venues. In the past we have often extended our tournament time by leaving a few weeks in advance to train at sea level. This way we can bypass the extra time and fatigue and concentrate on working up until the last minute on preparations for matches in the comfort of our home base.

...Jennifer Joines (Milpitas, Calif.)
Moving the USA women's national team to Anaheim California could be the difference between silver and gold. Colorado Springs was well equipped to support our every need – great gyms, weight rooms, and nutrition – but it fell short in the most important area. Training at high altitude is drastically different than playing at sea level. Ask any volleyball player that has trained in Colorado Springs how different they felt in altitude. What was once an automatic skill at sea level becomes very difficult and uncomfortable at high altitude and vice versa. I am tired of traveling to tournaments in the Dominican Republic and Mexico, where I feel as though the months and months of hard training has gone out the window because nothing feels the same. It is critical in our sport to train your eye to track the speed of the ball. That is impossible when you train at high altitude and compete at sea level.

...Danielle Scott-Arruda (Baton Rouge, La.)
Training at sea level along with the direction and leadership of our new coach who has taken the Men's National Team through this change will hopefully allow our team to improve and achieve even better results than we have seen in the past.

Regarding Possible Training Alongside U.S. Men’s National Team in Anaheim

...Heather Bown (Yorba Linda, Calif.)
I think it is definitely a chance for us to promote our sport side-by-side. I know from speaking to members of the Men’s team how welcomed they have felt from the community in Southern California, and I just hope that with us there as well, the outreach to the young people that participate in volleyball in the area will grow. Southern California is such a hotbed for junior programs, I think it’s wonderful to be able to train in the midst of it and give the young people the chance to come and watch practices and build a connection with our National Team Programs - both on the Men’s and the Women’s side.

...Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.)
It will be nice to around the Men's Team, but I am not sure how big of an advantage it will be. What it could do is allow us to have some of the younger men's players hit against us mimicking an opponent when preparing for an upcoming tournament. Plus, it would be great to have their experience around the gym.

...Danielle Scott-Arruda (Baton Rouge, La.)
Yes, I see training side-by-side with the U.S. Men's National Team as a benefit. We can support each other in our goals and together help extend and make stronger the volleyball support in the community.

Regarding Training Closer to Home

...Heather Bown (Yorba Linda, Calif.)
I am bias in this response because I grew up and went to high school in the Anaheim area. So, for myself, the chance of a relocation to Anaheim is a special thing. The chance to live and train at home and have my support system of close friends and family nearby would be amazing. It’s something I have never had before in my career. I have always been far from my core.

...Rich Lambourne (Tustin, Calif.)
I have a very personal reason for loving the move to Anaheim. I am lucky to be from the area (Tustin) originally. Also my entire family lives within 15 minutes of our training facility. My mother lives in orange, my brother and his wife live in Huntington Beach and both of my sisters, their husbands and their children live in Tustin. This makes life away from the volleyball court so much more rewarding. Being able to see my family more frequently and to see my niece and nephews on a more regular basis is a joy that was, sadly, not possible in Colorado.

...Ryan Millar (Palmdale, Calif.)
The best part of being in Anaheim for me is just being able to be close to my home, family, and friends. I think a lot of the guys would say the same thing. Also the American Sports Centers and the City of Anaheim have been great to us. They are genuinely happy to have us be a part of their community. It is great to be a part of it all.

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