ANAHEIM, Calif. (July 12, 2013) – The City of Anaheim, the host city for both the U.S. Women’s and Men’s National Volleyball Teams, has become the location to be to train with four high-caliber teams all working out under the roof of the American Sports Centers (ASC) – the USA National Teams Center. During this time, community and pipeline volleyball relations are expanding for the greater good of the sport.
The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team is hosting its Japanese counterpart in the inaugural USA Volleyball Cup, a three-match series that began on July 10 and carries on with contests on July 12 at Long Beach State University and on July 13 at JSerra Catholic High School. Online tickets are still available for both matches with 7 p.m. PT start times at www.usavolleyballcup.com. While not competing in the event, the two squads are training at the ASC along two other national-level squads.
While many U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team members are competing against Brazil in the FIVB World League this weekend at Rio De Janeiro, other team members not on the trip continue to train at the ASC.
Not only are both genders of the U.S. National Volleyball Teams training on site along with the Japan women’s volleyball team, one additional team is practicing in the sprawling 34-court facility. The U.S. Girls’ Youth National Volleyball Training Team (GYNTT) is working out in preparation for the FIVB Volleyball Girls’ U19 World Championship that takes place later this month in Thailand. Currently, the squad has 16 players fighting for the final 12 spots that will travel overseas to wear the red, white and blue.
“It is crazy,” said U.S. Girls’ Youth National Training Team libero Kenzie Maloney (Louisville, Ky., KIVA, Pioneer) in regards to training on adjacent courts to both U.S. senior national teams and the No. 3 Japan women’s volleyball team. “I can’t believe I am here. It is awesome to be on the same court as they train on. It is a cool experience.”
Earlier this week the GYNT had the chance to meet legendary volleyball and beach volleyball Olympian Karch Kiraly, who is now starting his first year as the head coach for the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team. During Kiraly’s meeting with the GYNT, Maloney was ecstatic listening to the revered player-turned-coach.
“It was mind-blowing as I was so excited to meet Karch,” Maloney said. “I never thought I would get the chance to meet him.”
While Maloney has a short-term goal of winning the FIVB World Championship at the end of the month, she has longer term objectives to gain while training with the GYNTT and beyond. Maloney sees U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team star opposite Destinee Hooker, who is taking time off away from the team as she is expecting her first child, as a great example of what she wants to become. Though they play completely different positions, Maloney wants to emulate Hooker in other ways.
“Destinee is an amazing attacker and she takes control of the match,” Maloney said. “I want to be more of a verbal leader. I want to be in control and comfortable with myself as Destinee is.”
The 16-member GYNTT and its staff will get to watch the U.S. Women face Japan in the second match of the USA Volleyball Cup on Friday night at Long Beach State, sitting next to the non-playing senior team who all will be rooting on Team USA to victory.
That mingling process of both squads continues to strengthen the volleyball community and bridging the pipeline of those looking to reach the pinnacle level of the sport. And the senior national team is doing its part in building community relations with the Southern California area where it trains with the introduction of the USA Volleyball Cup.