Milagros and her team mates from the Dominican Republic already qualified for London 2012. Today at Long Beach in California the men’s teams start their competition. Of the four to reach the semis three of them may include our FIVB Heroes!
A key member of the host USA team, Clayton Stanley was undergoing surgery at the beginning of this year, following an injury sustained after the World Cup. Unable to compete in the club season, Stanley returned home to recover and prepare himself for the upcoming season with the national team. It’s still not certain whether he has fully recovered from his injury and will play in the tournament however.
To prepare for the tournament USA played two friendly’s against Argentina and Stanley didn’t play in either of them, but he has been there to support his team. No matter what the coach decides, Clayton will be at the tournament, if not on court, surely supporting the team as their number one fan!
The USA will start in pool B with Mexico, Costa Rica and Trinidad & Tobago.
In pool A two of our FIVB Heroes and captains of their teams, Wilfredo Leon and Héctor Soto will face Canada and Dominican Republic. Leon and team Cuba missed out on their first chance for a ticket to London at the World Cup in Japan, where Cuba finished in 5th place. But for Leon, the youngest captain in volleyball, and his teammates it was a great opportunity gain experience on the world stage, and should stand them in good stead in this upcoming qualifier.
Héctor Soto, one of the best opposites in the world, already has this experience, competing many times at the qualifiers, World League, World Championships and many more. Puerto Rico will likely be the “oldest” and most experienced team at this qualifier. For Soto, the Olympics in London will be his last should his team qualify. Will his experience come to the rescue this time and help to make the dream come true?
USA as current Olympic champions, Cuba with their young and very talented players, Puerto Rico with their experience and rising Canada are the favourites to grab the coveted spot in London. Who will get it? Which FIVB Hero will finish the battle for London at the continental qualifier? We will find out next week! Stay tuned and follow your FIVB Heroes!