Volleyball on the rise

Although volleyball faces the familiar Caymanian challenges of a limited talent pool and limited funding, leaders of the sport are confident that the game is on the rise and has a bright future.

Cayman volleyball

Cayman star Olney Thompson in action at a recent beach tournment sanctioned by CIVF. Photo: Guy P. Harrison

‘We have some good talent in our leagues,’ said CIVF vice president Keith Higgins. ‘We also have a youth program that is in place to develop new talent. Things are happening.’

CIVF currently operates four leagues, two for men and two for women. CIVF president Noel Williams points out that three high school teams are active, further evidence of a growing sport. The Federation also hopes to nurture a thriving beach league. The potential of beach volleyball in sunny and sandy Cayman is obvious. Furthermore, international beach volleyball competitions require just two players per side. This makes it easier for the Cayman Islands to field a strong team despite a small population.

Williams and Higgins agree that lack of funding is a major obstacle to volleyball development. For example, the federation currently must pay a steep price to use the University College of the Cayman Islands gym for all league games.

‘We have to pay thousands of dollars every season just to use the court,’ said Williams. ‘We could use the airport park, but we can’t do that to the players. It doesn’t make sense that we get a grant from government and then give so much of it right back [to a government institution]. We could do so much more if we had a proper facility that we could use for free.’

The Islands Games, a small-country competition set to take place in Rhodes next summer, is high on CIVF’s priority list for 2007. Current league competitions, which include more than 150 players, will serve as the proving ground for decisions about who will represent the Cayman Islands there. CIVF intends to send male and female teams in both court and beach competitions. Williams and Higgins are confident that Cayman can be very competitive at the Games. They hope to hire an overseas coach by February to prepare the national teams.

For more information on volleyball in the Cayman Islands, visit www.civf.ky

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