So they lost their chance to play in London after losing to Team USA at the NORCECA Olympic Qualification tournament 2 weeks ago, but giving up is not an option for Gavin Schmitt and Team Canada.
Theglobeandmail.com recently interviewed Team Canada and here some of our favorite quotes from the article:
“Losing to the U.S. after coming so close to a gold medalist was like getting hit in the stomach and losing all your air… like a balloon popping but that’s the nature of international sport. We’re continuing what we started building six years ago. Just because one Olympic cycle is over it doesn’t mean it has to be a new chapter. There are a lot of guys who are going to stick around so we are going to keep working and building together.” -Gavin Schmitt, who will play professional in the Russian Super League this coming season for the very first time.
After missing the World League since 2007, the article also mentions how excited the team feels for the prestigious tourney. The 18th world ranked Canadian team is in Pool B with #1 Brazil, #4 Poland & #27 Finland and scheduled to host the first round in Toronto.
“I really like the pool we are in. This is exactly what we need right now. We need to play these strong teams.” -Coach Glen Hoag.
Even Brazil’s Coach Bernardinho Rezende has some good words to say about Glen’s squad.
“First, they have an excellent coach in Glenn Hoag, and they play very well tactically. They are doing very good rebuilding work and are sometimes overshadowed by the fact that they have to play such strong teams in their region – such as the United States and Cuba – but they are a smart team.”
Finally, Canada’s libero Daniel Lewis said that he and his teammates are pretty excited about the World League. “We got three other great teams here and we have to keep fine-tuning our game to close the gap on the top teams in the world.” according to Lewis.
A day after this interview was published, Canada demolished Finland in straight sets and then the day after that Schmitt fired 33 pts for his team and defeated the top ranked Brazil in an epic 5 set match. Despite losing to Poland on the last day of the tournament, Canada is currently ranked second in their pool.
Their upcoming World League matches will be in Katowice, Poland, on June 1st-3rd. Then fly to Sao Bernardo do Campo, Brazil, for the 3rd round scheduled from June 8th-10th. Finally, their last stop will be in Tampere, Finland, from June 15th-17th. If Canada finishes first in their pool or become the best second ranked team out of the 4 pools, they advance to the Final Round in Sofia, Bulgaria from July 4th-8th, 2012.
We chatted with Gavin a couple of days ago and we told him that he and his team have what it takes to become the Kings of Norceca (Watch out USA and Cuba!) and if they continue to develop their game as a team and individual skills then their Olympic dreams will be fulfilled in Rio 4 years from now.
Keep up the great work Canada!
You have what it takes to become one of the world’s strongest teams!
Side Dish: Canada has appeared in the World League 6 times. Their best finish was 7th back in 1992. As of last weekend, Canada is 3-10 versus Brazil in World League play.
(source: theglobeandmail.com/ images: FIVB)