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 of Barbados.


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.