USA Volleyball Features Tryout a Chance to F...

Tryout a Chance to Find Diamonds in Rough

By B.J. Hoeptner Evans ( | Nov. 29, 2018, 6:40 p.m. (ET)

U.S. Men's National Team practice
The U.S. Men practice for the NORCECA Championship in Colorado Springs. 

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Nov. 29, 2018) – USA Volleyball staff should be looking for diamonds in the rough at the U.S. Men’s National Team Open Tryout, said Ken Shibuya, the men’s volleyball associate head coach at Stanford and a coach in the USAV high performance pipeline.

The Tryout will be held Dec. 17-18 at the American Sports Center in Anaheim, Calif. USAV is looking for male athletes ready to play for its Collegiate National Team, Junior National Team and Senior National Team. The deadline to register is Nov. 30. For more information and to register, click here.

Shibuya pointed to 2008 Olympic gold medalist and outside hitter Riley Salmon as a good example of the talent that coaches could find.

Salmon went to high school in League City, Texas, and played two years of varsity volleyball at Pierce College in Los Angeles from 1994-96 before joining the men's national team in May 2001.

“There are players with unusual stories who don’t go through the traditional routes and develop later,” Shibuya said. “If you could just pick up one of those, then something great could happen with the team.”

Shibuya, who will be at the tryout, stressed that coaches need to look beyond what a player can do now and picture what he might become.

“I think you have to look at translating to the international world and seeing what they can do,” he said. “You have to get out of the mindset of, ‘He was pretty good in college,’ to what he can become; because international play is a different world.

“Does he have the qualities that can help us if he keeps playing?”

Athletes who have concluded their college eligibility and who wish to be invited to be a member of the U.S. Men’s Volleyball National Team on a full-time basis are required to take part in this tryout process. Men's National Team Training could begin as early as the spring of 2019, or when an athlete’s scholastic or professional club season has concluded.

Athletes who have remaining college eligibility are still in contention and evaluation for the Men's Senior National Team. Their participation will begin in mid-May or when their scholastic calendar ends for 2019.

The 2018 Tryout will begin on Dec. 16 with an optional open gym practice in the evening. Play will last all day on Dec. 17 and the tryout will conclude on Dec. 18 around noon.

Hopefully we will find some guys and give them incentive to keep working,” Shibuya said. “If not, it’s a good start. Hopefully this will become an annual thing and we will eventually find them.”