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Coaches Ready for U21 NORCECA Continental Championship

GATINEAU, Canada, July 4, 2016 – Coaches of teams taking part in the U21 NORCECA Men’s Continental Championship commented about their squads and expectations during the general technical meeting held before the start of the competition.

Teams from Barbados, Canada, Cuba, Guatemala, St Vincent & Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago and United States will compete from July 5-10 with the winners granted a ticket to next year’s FIVB World Championship.

Coaches’ statements:

John Stuart, head coach of Barbados: "We have a much better team this time around as we missed two key players through injury last year. We have five players who play the Pan American Cup last year. Our goal is to get to the semifinal and from there winning a medal would be very good. Our back core players have improved from the last tournament so if everything goes well, we should perform well here.”

Gino Brousseau, head coach of Canada: "this tournament is very important, especially at home. We hope to achieve a good result. We have young team with six players under 18 years of age. We have a good group with a lot of potential. Our overall goal is to continue developing players long-term. We have some players on the senior team coming from the junior program and we are happy with how the program has developed. “

Jesus Angel Cruz Flores, head coach of Cuba: "We prepared well for this tournament. Three of our key players were called to the senior team, but we are ready to play for gold here. This is a good moment for volleyball in Cuba. The senior team qualified to the Olympic Games. The U21 and U19 programs train together and our team is very motivated after the U19 team won the Norceca tournament. This is a very united team and focused on the task ahead of them.”

Reider Lucas, head coach of Guatemala: "We are very excited to be here. This is the highest level of volleyball we can play in our area and we did the best preparation possible. We want our players to play well, have fun and leave a good impression here. We know we have very solid teams here, but we will try to do our best. Many of the players here will go on to represent our country at the Central American U23 Championships next month.  This will be a good preparation for that tournament.”

Vance Andrews, head coach of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: "We are here to do our best and gain whatever experience they can get in this competition. This is a stepping stone for our young players. We have a number of players who represent our country in senior tournaments. They all come here to gain experience, come back and share it in Saint Vincent. “

Gideon Dickson, head coach of Trinidad and Tobago: "We are very thankful to be here. When finished second to Barbados at the Caribbean Championships last December so we were not expecting to be here. We got a call about a month ago to inform us about this opportunity. We kept the guys together during our premier championships. We were competition ready and just needed to fine-tune within the last month. We are here to get better every day. I am proud of the fact that our players have warmed up to play within a system to play good volleyball. We have at least three players who will go on to represent our country in a tremendous way so this is a stepping stone towards the senior program. This is an important tournament for their development and we had to be here for this opportunity.”

Jay Hosack, head coach of the USA: "It is always a challenge for us. We come together for a couple of weeks and I am sure every team does the same. We only have a short amount of time to put things together. We like to think that we have a lot of time and get better at certain skills, but the reality is this is a sprint. We put together the 12 best guys who can get the job done, work hard together and enjoy the process. “

"We have a couple of guys who have played in college for one year. We have to seven-footers who just graduated from high school. We are excited to see what they can do, but the reality is the USA is well known for having a good training program so we tend to bloom a little bit better than other programs. We are excited to be here and Canada does such a great job of putting on this tournament”