POZA RICA, Mexico, November 6, 2023. – Nine teams are ready to take on a new challenge in the first edition of the Boys’ U17 Volleyball NORCECA Continental Championship from November 7 to 12 at the Miguel Hidalgo Gymnasium in Poza Rica, Mexico.
The continental tournament will grant the top four teams a ticket to the 2024 FIVB World Championship, marking the debut of this new category on a global level.
Coaches have given their first statements ahead of the competition.
Felipe Jenkins, Head Coach of Costa Rica: “We have been working for seven months because the event was originally scheduled for May. We have a valuable group of parents who supported us throughout the year to conduct training camps every 15 days across the country because we have players from different parts of Costa Rica. Our national tournament served each player as practice. We come very well prepared. All the teams here aim to qualify for the World Championship”.
Mari Izquierdo, Head Coach of Cuba: “We bring a 2008 generation with a lot of technical talent and height. These are young players from various provinces that we have been tracking for some time, and they have demonstrated their competitive quality. We hope to qualify for the World Championship, especially when it is the first opportunity to evaluate players for 2030. There is talent, hard work, and a strong desire to reach the goal”.
Victor Bermudez, Head Coach of the Dominican Republic: “We have a lot of faith that the team will have a good result; we will give our best and play good volleyball. This is a new category, and we want the young players to enjoy it without pressure, gaining experience. We’ve had the opportunity to train, and the conditions are optimal for the competition.”
Obed López, Head Coach of Guatemala: “We come excited to compete in this new category. We bring a lot of energy and a positive attitude to perform well while representing Guatemala. The first goal is to qualify for the World Championship, and the second would be to win a medal”.
Alejandro Castillo, Head Coach of Honduras: “The team comes with enthusiasm, passionate about this tournament. We trained for four months, and the team is in good shape. We dream of competing for a fourth place in the tournament”.
Denis Omar Rivera, Head Coach of Mexico: “The team is made up of players who are in high school, and many of them haven’t even competed at a national level, let alone at international level. We are happy and excited about the tournament. Our number one goal is to qualify for the world championship, and we are prepared to accomplish the result”.
Jorge Mena, Head Coach of Nicaragua: “It’s a new challenge, the first time an event in this category. There were difficulties in passport procedures, which is why several players couldn’t make it here. Nicaragua will give their best as always. In addition to our coaching roles, we also serve as mentors in the age category, providing a learning experience for the players in all aspects. We have the advantage that the athletes play in our first division league, which has contributed to their development”.
Carlos Sevilla, Head Coach of Puerto Rico: “Like in all NORCECA tournaments, strong teams are coming, and even though we haven’t been training for long, this is a group of players who typically play in their clubs, some together and others against each other, so they are quite unified despite the short preparation time. Our goal is to finish among the top two teams in Pool B and then make a big effort to reach the final”.
Furgil Ong-A-Fat, Assistant Coach of Suriname: “We’ve prepared for the tournament for several months, and we came to have a good competition, we’re going to give it our best shot. Most of the players are 14-15 years old and a few of them have already competed internationally in our CAZOVA event”.