Canada’s Santiago 2023 Beach Volleyball team announced 

September 21, 2023 – Volleyball Canada and the Canadian Olympic Committee have announced Canada’s beach volleyball team nominated to compete at the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games.

The Team Canada beach volleyball athletes – one duo per gender – for the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games are:

Melissa Humana-Paredes (Toronto, Ont.)
Brandie Wilkerson (Toronto, Ont.)
Jake MacNeil (Georgetown, Ont.)
Alex Russell (Surrey, B.C.) 

The athletes qualified for Santiago 2023 based on their FIVB World Ranking. Wilkerson, MacNeil and Russell will be making their Pan American Games debuts. Humana-Paredes will make her second Pan Am Games appearance, having competed at Toronto 2015 with former partner Taylor Pischke.

Although they are still in the first year of their partnership, Humana-Paredes and Wilkerson are one of the top women’s beach teams in the world. Currently seventh in the FIVB World Rankings, they have had a string of Beach Pro Tour top-five finishes in 2023, highlighted by their tournament victory at the Montreal Elite 16 in August. Humana-Paredes and Wilkerson both made their Olympic debuts at Tokyo 2020, with other partners. 

“This is special for me in so many ways. I’m grateful the team decided to prioritize representing Canada at the Pan Am Games given the intensity and the rigor of the Olympic qualification schedule,” said Humana-Paredes, who is a member of the Panam Sports Athlete Commission. “Any chance we can get more time playing together will benefit us! And what an opportunity for our team to gain multi-sport Games experience, especially in a setting that will test us in a whole new environment. I’m also the daughter of two Chilean immigrants so this is an incredible moment for my family. This is the first time my Chilean family will be able to watch me play live and the first time I’ve been back in almost a decade. I am already getting butterflies!”

Although the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games are not an Olympic qualifier for beach volleyball, Humana-Paredes and Wilkerson are using the valuable major-Games experience to prepare for Paris 2024. 

“I’m extremely excited for this event as it’ll be my first Pan Am Games and any opportunity to represent Canada on the world stage, I take with a lot of honor and pride. So I am looking forward to competing at our very best!” added Wilkerson.

MacNeil and Russell have been playing together since early 2022. The duo won a bronze medal on the NORCECA tour stop in the Dominican Republic last October and silver at the Volleyball Canada Beach Nationals in Toronto last month. 

“Alex and I are honored to wear the maple leaf and represent Canada at such a prestigious multi-sport Games. We are so excited to compete alongside the best athletes from Canada and against some of the best in the world in our sport,” said MacNeil.

“We are incredibly excited and grateful for the opportunity to represent Canada at the Pan Am Games in Chile. We have been training hard in Toronto and will be competing in Halifax and the Dominican Republic in other tournaments leading up to the Games,” added Russell.

Beach volleyball was introduced to the Pan American Games program at Winnipeg 1999, three years after the sport made its Olympic debut at Atlanta 1996. Canada has not won a medal in the sport at the Pan Am Games since Jody Holden and Conrad Leinemann won gold on home sand in Winnipeg.

Beach volleyball will take place October 21 to 27 (Days 1 to 7) at the Parque Peñalolen.

Jake MacNeil and Alex Russell