Under-17 Boys Pan American Cup, A New Challenge

COLIMA, Mexico, June 16, 2024.-  The first Under-17 Boys Pan American Cup presents a new challenge for seven national teams, which will compete at the Colima Multifunctional Auditorium from June 17 to 22.

Coaches spoke about the start of the competition and outlined their objectives for this event, which is part of the qualification system for the U17 NORCECA Continental Championship in 2025 and the  age-group FIVB World Championship in 2026.

Dan Ota, Head Coach of Canada: “The players were playing with their respective club teams, so our team did not have an opportunity to train for this tournament. This is our first time together with these athletes. It’s great for athletes to give them an opportunity to experience international competition at this age. I think that developing an understanding of international games at a younger age is a very helpful experience to help them later in their careers. Our team has a lot of great athletes, but we will have to come together very quickly to develop our team spirit and cohesion, and hopefully we will start to play better as the week goes on. I know it will be a very difficult tournament because many other excellent teams are here, so every game will be difficult for us”.


Walter Jenkins, Head Coach of Costa Rica: “We have been working on this process for almost two years. Since the beginning, there have been some interesting changes, such as the physical growth of our players. In the past year, they have grown, and now the team’s average height is 1.85 meters. At this international level of competition, height is important because our opponents are generally tall. We competed in Poza Rica last year, and we have three new players joining us now. Like everyone here, we come with the hope of reaching the top; we want to work hard to achieve a podium finish”.

Costa Rica

Frank Almendariz Dávalos, Team Manager of Cuba: “This group has been together since September. They attended the qualifier for the U17 World Championship qualifier here in Mexico and secured one of the spots. The team has stayed together in preparation for competing in the World Championship in August in Bulgaria. We are here to compete and to give them more game experience so they can gain more exposure. Of the 12 players who went to Poza Rica last year, we have brought 10. We want the players to enjoy the tournament, to put into practice everything we have worked on with them, and also to achieve a good result that will provide a positive psychological environment for the World Championship.”


Edvin Obed López, Head Coach of Guatemala: “We come well-organized. The parents supported us to conduct training camps in various provinces of Guatemala. The team consists of athletes from the national champion and runner-up teams, along with some reinforcements from other teams. We aim to perform well and represent Guatemala as it should be represented; if we can reach the podium, it will be a great achievement. Six players were part of the U17 team that competed in Poza Rica.”


Denis Omar Rivera, Head Coach of Mexico: “We’ve been here in Colima for two weeks, training in double sessions, and we’re about to complete 15 days in preparation for the event. Our goal is to reach the final again, as we did in the U17 NORCECA  Championship. We have added three new athletes to the team: one from here in Colima, one from Sinaloa, and another from Baja California”.


Benito Escorcia, Assistant Coach of Nicaragua: “In Nicaragua, we are always preparing new talents to be part of our national teams. This competition wasn’t initially in our yearly schedule, but it is a great development opportunity. Like all the teams here, we aim to win every match, though it will be challenging given the high level of play from other teams. We will gain valuable experience, and our players will get a firsthand look at international volleyball”.


Carlos De Sevilla, Head Coach of Puerto Rico: “This tournament serves as preparation for this year’s World Championship, for which we qualified last year in Poza Rica. We have a preliminary squad of 18 players who have rotated in and out of different tournaments. The Federation decided well that this team (plus one U19 player) would participate in the NORCECA U19 tournament recently held in Puerto Rico. We have been gaining experience. We are familiar with several teams here; we know their strengths and weaknesses. We haven’t faced Canada before. The challenge is to identify the key players of each team and fight until the end”.

Puerto Rico