COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Feb. 22, 2015) – Not even blistering cold temperatures and a winter snow storm in Colorado Springs could temper the intensity at the U.S. Olympic Training Center as 229 athletes participated in the three-day U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team Open Tryouts.
The tryout, which started Feb. 20 and concluded Feb. 22, involved participants from 92 colleges and a handful of athletes who have yet to begin their collegiate careers. The tryout evaluated athletes for the U.S. Women’s National Team, as well as the U.S. Collegiate National Team for players still in college and the U.S. Women’s Junior National Team (WJNT) for eligible athletes born in 1996 or 1997.
U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Karch Kiraly and his staff directed the tryout with the assistance from 50 evaluators, court coaches and DataVolley statisticians. All athletes were on court for approximately eight hours each during the weekend being evaluated in the various skills of volleyball. The tryout, which showcased four of the six courts on live video stream, concluded Sunday with tournament-style play.
“I actually really enjoy coming up here (to Colorado Springs) and sharing a weekend with people who are passionate about volleyball,” Kiraly said. “Our gym is bursting at the seams. We handle as much as we can with around 240 athletes – we are at capacity. We try to get better each year, and I think we organized our best tryout yet. So in a lots of ways, this was a big success.”
Selected athletes for the U.S. Women’s National Team may begin their training in Anaheim, Calif., as early as the spring of 2015, or when an athlete’s scholastic or professional club season has concluded. Team USA is ranked No. 1 in the world, having won the 2014 FIVB Volleyball World Championship last October. The squad will have its first chance to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games at the 2015 FIVB World Cup held Aug. 22-Sept. 5 in Japan.
The U.S. Collegiate National Team program, which will be announced by the end of March, has three competition options:
- World University Games Team (12 athletes): June 28-July 14
- Tour of China (12 athletes): June 12-26
- USA Volleyball Girls’ Junior National Championships (36 athletes): June 21-30
The U.S. Women’s Junior National Team will compete at the 2015 FIVB Volleyball Women’s U20 World Championship in Cyprus June 30-July 12 with a training block from June 14-29. U.S. Women’s Junior National Team Head Coach Tom Hogan and assistant coaches Erin Virtue and Stacy Sykora were on hand for the evaluations for this age-group team. Two years ago current WJNT age-level athletes helped the U.S. capture the 2013 FIVB Volleyball Girls’ U18 World Championship silver medal and expectations are running high for continued success.
“This is a year when the Junior National Team is bigger focus because of the World Championship year,” Kiraly said. “Lots of exciting young talent out there and plenty of faces who could end up, somewhere down the line, in the USA Senior National Team gym. That is really what this is all about, trying to identify talent and keep pushing them up through the pipeline and to the top of the pyramid.”
The U.S. Women’s Junior National Team will be notified by April 31 with a public announcement expected by May 7. For details on the program, click here.