COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Sept. 17, 2013) – As a part of the “Give Something Back” campaign, U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team coaches and players conducted a coaching session with 16 girls ages 13-18 on Sept. 7 in Anaheim, Calif., the host city for the USA Women's and Men's National Volleyball Teams. The session was led by volleyball legend and current WNT Head Coach Karch Kiraly.
Kiraly was joined by assistant coaches Reed Sunahara and Joe Trinsey and team members Carli Lloyd, Alix Klineman, Jordan Larson-Burbach and Foluke Akinradewo. Larson-Burbach and Akinradewo were members of the U.S. squad that competed at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The 16 participants were chosen in a contest held on the USA Volleyball Cup Facebook page as part of the build-up to the event, which was held in July. Over 700 girls entered and a drawing determined the winners. One winner traveled from Illinois to participate.
The two-hour session included instruction on the basic skills and strategy of the game, giving the players not only a workout but tips to help them improve their game. Each girl was also presented with a Certificate of Participation from Coach Kiraly.
The WNT started the “Give Something Back” campaign in the spring of this year and has since conducted many events in Southern California. There have been six free intra-squad matches held at high schools and colleges from San Diego to Los Angeles that junior players and their coaches are invited to attend. Prior to each match, Kiraly gave a 30-minute “Chalk-talk” and answered questions from the crowd. Attendance averaged 1,000 people, and hundreds of junior players stayed after the matches to get players’ autographs. These post-match sessions lasted for nearly an hour each.
The WNT has also started coaching for the newly formed Starlings Anaheim Foundation for girls from lower income families. This spring and summer saw 80 girls participate with 10 national team members acting as coaches at each practice. Due to the high cost of club volleyball programs, many of these girls would never otherwise have the chance to play. Since this overall national program started in 1996, 30,000 girls have participated with 300 going on to earn college scholarships. There are 200 Starlings Clubs in 40 cities nationwide.
Members of the WNT have also spoken at junior girls’ volleyball clubs, becoming “volleyball ambassadors” and sharing their own experiences.
“Giving Something Back” will resume in the spring of 2014 when the players return from their oversees pro commitments.