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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (July 24, 2007)
The International Boys' Youth Division features 12 teams, including six USA Youth and Select rosters, two Puerto Rican squads and four teams from the Aloha, Badger, Florida and Northern California regions. The Junior boys' age group includes athletes born in 1987-88, the Youth age group is for those born in 1989-90 and the Select division includes all those born on or after Jan. 1, 1991.
The girls' teams are separated into four divisions. The International Junior Division (born in 1988-89) has one USA Junior A2 team, four Youth A2 teams and one USA Select squad, joined by two international teams from Manitoba and Nova Scotia.
The International Youth Division (born in 1990-91) has two USA Select squads, three international teams from Puerto Rico (2) and New Zealand, and seven high performance teams from the Badger, Florida, Lone Star, North Texas, Northern California, Southern California and Sun Country regions.
The National Youth Division (born in 1990-91) fields two USA Select rosters and teams from the Aloha, Carolina (2), Florida, Gulf Coast, Iowa, Lakeshore, New England, Ohio Valley and Rocky Mountain regions. Finally, the National Select group (born on or after Jan. 1, 1992) includes an international team from Puerto Rico and 23 teams from the following regions: Aloha (2), Badger, Carolina (2), Columbia Empire (2), Florida (2), Garden Empire, Gulf Coast, Hoosier, Iowa, Lakeshore, Lone Star (2), Northern California, North Texas (2), Ohio Valley, Southern California (2) and Sun Country.
The USA Volleyball High Performance rosters are selected after a one-week training camp that takes place just before the official tournament. This year, the teams spent the week learning about international-style play while training at NOVA Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale. The athletes attended a USA Volleyball national HP tryout.
The regional teams and tryouts are run by USAV regions themselves and the tournament preparation varies.
The Fort Lauderdale Convention Center, hosting the event for the second consecutive year, has transformed into an international volleyball training ground of sorts. Throughout the week, players, coaches, referees and spectators are exposed to international-style volleyball that is otherwise unavailable for junior athletes in the United States. From specific jersey regulations and substitutions to tie-breaker protocol, the event is crafted to mirror those that the men's and women's U.S. national teams compete in regularly.
This is the first time the event has simultaneously hosted both genders at a single playing site, a characteristic that is only seen at the Pan American Games and Olympics. Last year, the boys' championships were held in Sacramento, Calif.
"It's good for the game," said Tom Pingel, Director of High Performance National Indoor Programs. "There is a lot more excitement in an event like this," he said, turning around to point out the Badger Region boys cheering for the girls' team in between matches of their own. "It is very much a team atmosphere with everyone involved."
Preliminary pool play ended this morning and the playoff brackets were built based on results from the past three days. Each division was initially broken into pools of six teams with the exception of International Junior, which played an eight-team round-robin format. The International Junior, International Youth and International Boys' Youth Divisions crown champions on July 25 with the National Youth and National Select groups closing tournament action the following morning on July 26. The event is hosted by USA Volleyball, Joseph Volleyball Camps, Inc., and the Florida Region.
More information is available on the USA Volleyball web site at http://www.usavolleyball.org/HighPerformance/07HPChampionships.asp.