NORCECA will have fresh look

Best news of all, local players will benefit from having an international coach, Trevor Theroulde, training them from April 1 who will also be instructing the youth at schools and providing free clinics.

Theroulde comes with a wealth of international experience. A Federation International Volleyball Level III coaching instructor, he has been successful in Trinidad with various teams.

Theroulde will be impressed with Cayman’s calendar of events which range from hosting international elite beach volleyball events such as the NORCECA Continental Tour 2015 season opener from April 24-26 and the Under-19 FIVB World Championship Qualifier in August on Seven Mile Public Beach.

There will also be local events such as the Sunday Beach League series, the Big Dig Beach Volleyball Tournament in October, First Baptist Volleyball Club League, Filipino Volleyball Club League, and SpikeFest in November.

The federation will also be sending teams to the Pan Am Games in Toronto and Island Games in Jersey over the summer, and to the U-20 CAZOVA Caribbean Indoor Volleyball Championships in Barbados in December.

The CIVF is prioritizing young athletes, emphasizing their development as well as enhancing the exposure of the sport to as many youth as possible.

The federation has been grooming U-19 female beach athletes Ileann Powery and Chantè Smith-Johnson who competed in the Youth Olympic Games Qualifier last year in Puerto Rico.

The duo impressed all by winning their pool, only to eventually fall short of their goal to play in Nanjing.

They are determined to continue their quest for success in the sand. They feel they have enough experience now that they are getting comfortable under pressure and see the potential advantage Cayman has to transform them into Olympic competitors in the coming years.

Powery and Smith-Johnson, along with the remaining senior players of both genders, will be sharing duties on the NORCECA tournament calendar.

For the first time in several years, the males (14th) are leading the females (16th) in the NORCECA rankings at the start of the season.

Both teams were disappointed that they dropped in the rankings though, due to the infrequent participation in overseas NORCECA tournaments last year.

The new board promises at least six overseas NORCECA tournaments per gender this year and hope those rankings will rise rapidly. Cayman players like Shervin Rankine, Olney “OT” Thompson, Richard Campbell and Philippe Deslandes have been the most consistent males in recent years.

Cayman’s NORCECA will host 16 teams per gender, including USA, Canada, Puerto Rico, Trinidad & Tobago, Aruba, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.

The entertainment surrounding NORCECA will include a players’ event each night at various venues Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday as well as a Wrap Party after the finals on the Sunday night at Calico Jack’s where fans can mingle with the Olympic contenders.

Visiting and local players will also be participating in a media tour leading up to the event and possible youth clinics.

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Chante Smith-Johnson is dedicated to getting to the top.

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Ileann Powery is training hard. – PHOTOS: RON SHILLINGFORD

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Shervin Rankine and Richard Campbell have represented Cayman over the years.
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