Trials open for England junior squads
8th November 2018
Following the successful open trials for the Team England volleyball cadet (under 17) squad last month, it’s now turn for players to try out for the England junior (under 19) squad.
Open trials for the junior squad will take place at the National Volleyball Centre in Kettering (NN15 6PB) on the weekend of December 15th and 16th, 2018.
Aspiring national team players will get the chance to demonstrate their volleyball skills, as well as undergoing physical tests to look at their athletic prowess, with the results being shared with each athlete.
The trials are open to British citizens born in 2001 and 2002 with the men’s trial taking place on Saturday 15th, while the women’s trial will be on the Sunday 16th December. Athletes who are currently part of the England Talent Pathway will not need to attend the trials, unless they have been directly informed by the Talent team.
Places can be booked by filling in the online sign-up form by midnight Sunday 25th November. It costs £35 per trialist and includes a hot meal for each athlete.
How the trials work
Replicating the environment of a typical day at a national training camp weekend, the trials will provide young athletes with an insight into what it’s like to be a member of the national talent pathway setup, a key part of which are the monthly camps. Additionally, the young athletes will have the chance to discover their current physical profile by taking part in a range of tests including: spike reach, block reach, spike jump, block jump and measurements.
As a fundamentally important part of a young athlete’s development, parents/guardians are invited to attend a meeting with Volleyball England staff, including Technical and Talent Coordinator Gillian Harrison and Academy and Technical Lead Bertrand Olie, to discuss the junior programme and expectations of the athletes in the pathway.
Successful trialists will be invited to join the squad and as well as attending monthly training camps, will be eligible for selection for international competitions. The main competitions for the junior squad are the Cornacchia Cup which takes place in April and the North European Volleyball Zonal Association Championships which are in October.
The talent pathway
In recent years, the junior squad has launched the playing careers of many athletes who have gone on to achieve results overseas and play professionally. For instance, former cadet Zachary Palankay-Omoshebi has joined the professional club of Tours, who were French Champions in 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2018. Also making the journey from the cadets to France, Megan Viggars has played 3 seasons with Evreux and is set for her first season with Saint-Raphael Volleyball Club for 2018-19.
Mechell Daniels made the transition through the National Talent Pathway to a professional contract in Finland. Another Scandinavian country is popular with former Team England youth players Alex Jenkins and Owen Lamb currently playing in Sweden, with Vingaker VK and Örkelljunga VK respectively. Other graduates also include Ieuan Lamb who is playing for FC Schüttorf 09 in Germany, while Sam Shenton is plying his trade in the Netherlands for Orion.
For many athletes who have progressed through the England Talent Pathway, it has helped them make volleyball part of their future, whether that is playing professionally abroad or playing volleyball alongside university studies including at the Senior Academies.
Successful trialists who make it into the squad will have a plethora of role models to look up to and emulate.
Places can be booked by completing the sign-up form and paying the £35 fee by midnight on Sunday 25th November.