COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – USA Volleyball (USAV) has announced the 12 players and seven alternates for the 2010 U.S. Boys' Youth National Team that will represent the United States at the NORCECA Under-19 Continental Championship on April 6-11 in Guadalajara, Mexico.
The team that wins the Continental Championship will qualify to compete at the 2010 Summer Youth Olympic Games on Aug. 14-26 in Singapore. The top two or three teams at NORCECA will also qualify for the 2011 FIVB Boys' Youth World Championship at a time and date yet to be determined.
The team’s head coach is U.S. Men’s National Team Assistant Coach Gary Sato (Los Angeles). He will be assisted by Jeff Stork (Topanga, Calif.) and Walt Ker (Valencia, Calif.). Tom Tait will serve as the team leader.
"I’m really excited about the opportunity that this team is getting to represent the United States in this qualification tournament with the goal of qualifying for the first Youth Olympic Games," Sato said.
Setter Micah Christenson (Honolulu, Hawai’i) is the lone returning player from the 2009 Boys’ Youth National Team that finished 10th at the FIVB Boys’ Youth World Championship and was named USA Volleyball’s 2009 Indoor Team of the Year. He represents USA Volleyball’s Aloha Region.
Six players on the team represent the Southern California Region: outside hitters Austin Kingi (Thousand Oaks, Calif.), John La Rusch (Long Beach, Calif.), Christopher Orenic (Beach, Calif.), Matthew Tarantino (Van Nuys, Calif.) and D.J. White (Hermosa Beach, Calif.) along with libero Andrew Sato (Calabasas, Calif.).
Five other USAV regions are represented on the team: Great Lakes is sending middle blocker Nikola Antonijevic (Buffalo Grove, Ill.); Ohio Valley is represented by middle blocker Owen McAndrews (Avon Lake, Ohio); Southern is sending outside hitter Scott Rhein (Pleasant View, Tenn.); Chesapeake is represented by middle blocker Aaron Russell (Ellicott City, Md.) and Puget Sound is sending setter Matthew West (Seattle, Wash.).
Because the players are still in school, the team will not have a training camp prior to the competition.
"There were a lot of great players with tremendous potential at the tryouts," Sato said. "But we needed a team that could walk on the court and play confidently and at the level we need without being able to train together. We think we found that."
The alternates to the Boys’ Youth National Team are John Alexander (Glendora, Calif./Southern California Region), Clifford Anderson (Santa Barbara, Calif./Southern California Region), Taylor Gregory (Saugus, Calif./Southern California Region), Dillon Hoffman (San Clemente, Calif./Southern California Region), Kevin Kustura (Beach, Calif./Southern California Region), Nicholas Olsen (New Berlin, Wis./Badger Region) and Kyle Russell (Loomis, Calif./Northern California Region.
About the coaches
Dr. Gary Sato (Los Angeles) had been involved with the U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team for more than 20 years when he rejoined the team as assistant coach under Head Coach Alan Knipe in the summer of 2009.
Sato first served as an assistant coach for the U.S. Men’s Team from 1984-88, including the team that won the 1988 Olympic gold medal in Seoul. His brother, Eric, was a player on that team. He was also an assistant for the teams that won the 1986 World Championship and the 1987 Pan American Games.
Sato served as head coach for the U.S. Men’s gold-medal win at the 1985 FIVB World Cup in Japan and was voted the Most Valuable Coach of the tournament. In 1992 he returned as assistant coach for the Olympic Team that won the bronze medal.
Sato’s coaching career has included pro beach championships and he was the head coach for the U.S. beach team at the 2007 Pan American Games.
Jeff Stork (Topanga, Calif.) has been the head women's volleyball coach at Cal State Northridge on March 15, 2002. Stork became just the sixth head coach in the 31-year history of Matador volleyball.
In 2001, Stork concluded a four-year stint as part of the Pepperdine men's volleyball staff for head coach Marv Dunphy. Stork was tabbed Dunphy's top assistant coach in August of 1998 and helped the 1999 team compile an overall record of 20-5 and earn a No. 4 national ranking from the AVCA and Volleyball Magazine. Stork was named as Pepperdine's interim head coach in 1999 when Dunphy joined the U.S. National Team as an assistant coach through the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.
Stork was a 10-year member (1985-92 and 1995-96) of the U.S. Men’s National Team. He would ultimately play in three Olympic Games (1988, 1992 and 1996) and was the starting setter on the 1988 team coached by Dunphy that won a gold medal at the Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea.
Currently the coaching director for the Legacy Volleyball Club in Valencia, Calif., Walt Ker (Valencia, Calif.) has coached 42 seasons of volleyball over the past 35 years, starting the boys' program at Granada Hills High School and the men’s program at Cal State Northridge.
He coached the CSUN men’s team for 10 seasons. He coached the women’s team for 13 years, winning three Division II National Championships and finishing 2nd five times.
He has also coached 14 club seasons in the past 9 years. Most recently he worked as an assistant coach for the UCLA men’s team, when they won the 2006 NCAA championships.
2010 U.S. Boys’ Youth National Team
NORCECA Continental Championships
April 6-11 in Guadalajara, Mexico
Name (Position; Hometown; Club; Region)
Nikola Antonijevic (MB; Buffalo Grove, Ill.; Adversity; Great Lakes)
Micah Christenson (S; Honolulu, Hawaii; Outrigger Canoe Club; Aloha)
Austin Kingi (OH; Thousand Oaks, Calif.; SCVC; Southern California)
John La Rusch (OH; Long Beach; Calif.; MB Surf; Southern California)
Owen McAndrews (MB; Avon Lake, Ohio; Matchpoint; Ohio Valley)
Christopher Orenic (OH; Manhattan Beach, Calif.; SCVC; Southern California)
Scott Rhein (OH; Pleasant View, Tenn.; Impact; Southern)
Aaron Russell (MB; Ellicott City, Md.; MVP; Chesapeake)
Andrew Sato (L; Calabasas, Calif.; SMBC; Southern California)
Matthew Tarantino (OH; Van Nuys, Calif.; SMBC; Southern California)
Matthew West (S; Seattle, Wash.; Space Needle Volleyball Foundation; Puget Sound)
D.J. White (OH; Hermosa Beach, Calif.; MB Surf; Southern California)
Head Coach: Gary Sato (Los Angeles)
Team Leader: Tom Tait
Assistant Coach: Jeff Stork (Topanga, Calif.)
Trainer: Walt Ker (Valencia, Calif.)
Physician: Julie Chuan
John Alexander (OH; Glendora, Calif.; Riptides South Bay; Southern California)
Clifford Anderson (MB; Santa Barbara, Calif.; MB Surf; Southern California)
Taylor Gregory (MB; Saugus, Calif.; Legacy; Southern California)
Dillon Hoffman (OH; San Clemente, Calif.; Balboa Bay; Southern California)
Kevin Kustura (S; Huntington Beach, Calif.; Highline; Southern California)
Nicholas Olson (MB; New Berlin, Wis.; West Allis Lightning; Badger)
Kyle Russell (OH; Loomis, Calif.; Northern California VC; Northern California)