U.S. Virgin Islands are cementing a solid volleyball program
ST. CROIX, Virgin Islands, April 10, 2012 – The island of St.
Croix is just a tiny white sand spot in the archipelago located
to the east of Puerto Rico in the Caribbean Sea, but in the
recent weeks this United States’ territory is increasingly
growing up bigger and bigger in the volleyball map as hosts of
several youth and junior events of the CAZOVA zone, one of the
sub divisions of NORCECA Confederation.
Thanks to the energetic Lucille Hobson, a former female
volleyball player who now presides over the U.S. Virgin Islands
Volleyball Federation, the sport is becoming a very popular
discipline among the youngsters in both genders.
The CAZOVA Youth Boys and Girls Championships just concluded
here last week with great success and the Women’s Junior
Championship is currently underway with a total of six teams
competing for the title at Central High School.
The local boys’ team won the regional event overcoming the
competition from Curacao, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago while
the girls ended up in third place behind TTO and Haiti and ahead
These were the first medals won at the international scene by
teams from U.S. Virgin Islands since the U-19 Boys won a
first-ever silver medal in 2007 at Trinidad and Tobago and,
according to Hobson, this new breed of players want to do better
and are very committed.
The home athletes participated in a two-week training camp held
during Christmas Holidays where native Andre Titus, a coach at
York College in New York for the past 13 years, joined the local
coaches to help with his experience.
Titus was impressed by the talent of the athletes while
stressing on the fundamentals of the game and as a result, some
of the local players are starting to benefit from scholarships
from mainland schools.
They also took part with two male teams of U-17 and U-18 in the
2012 American Amateur Union Grand Prix Volleyball Tournament
Grand Prix Volleyball Tournament held at the Puerto Rico
Convention Center in San Juan, Puerto Rico last February under
the guidance of Coach Michael Richardson, who also coaches the
Men’s Senior National Team.
Volleyball is quickly conquering the hearts of students of local
schools and the future looks bright to the eyes of Cristobal
Marte Hoffiz, President of NORCECA Confederation, who was in the
island for a three-day visit on the occasion of a theoretical
seminar he dictated to the 14 representatives of CAZOVA.
“Thanks to the hard work of Ms. Hobson and her group of
enthusiastic supporters, volleyball is cementing a good base of
practitioners of young ages in both genders and what is more
important, the recruiting program is starting from the different
schools,” Marte Hoffiz said.
Beach Volleyball is also very appealing and the U.S. Virgin
Islanders are starting to participate in the NORCECA Circuit
with the financial help from the Continental Confederation based
in the Dominican Republic.
“It is fascinating just watching the enthusiasm shown by the
boys and girls during their competition,” Marte Hoffiz added. “I
can foresee a brilliant future for our sport and I think the
U.S. Virgin Islands can spearhead the development process and
help in spreading the seeds of volleyball and beach volleyball.”
Besides St. Croix, which is the bigger of the islands, the U.S.
territories also include St. Thomas and St. John with the
capital Charlotte Amalie located in St. Thomas.