Local volleyball coaching product Amy Wilson is back in the news again as she prepares to head to Honduras as head coach of Canada’s U17 girls team in the NORCECA Continental Volleyball Championship.
Held in Tegucigalpa, Honduras the event serves as a qualifier for teams from North and Central America as well as the Caribbean to qualify for the 2024 U17 World Championship.
Wilson was asked to be involved with the team and agreed, the team has been made up of girls primarily from southern Ontario with a member each from Sasksatchewan and Alberta as well.
“The wild thing about this is we will only have practiced once before we leave for Honduras,” Wilson said. “Some teams will have been practicing for months or close to a year so it will be a tough battle but it will be one that we welcome.”
Wilson is familiar with some of the players as they’ve crossed paths in the past.
“A few I do know because they attended our Canada games training game in October,” she said. “But that really is all the background that I have with them. Over the course of the last month or so we’ve had zoom meetings and done some team culture stuff but nothing in person yet.”
Wilson said it’s helpful for the team to be able to come together around the same goals.
“The great thing about something like this is we all have a common goal that we set together,” she said. “An important part of it obviously is the competition, but it’s not only that. It’s what can we take a way and how can we grow and become better at our sport? These girls are on a path to continue the athlete development all the way up to the senior national team. So we’re obviously putting building blocks in place to help them succeed at that level.”
This is Wilson’s first international competition as a head coach so she does foresee some challenges going into such a big event.
“Ensuring that the team is prepared, the coaching staff is prepared and that I am prepared [will be a challenge],” Wilson said. “While we’re at the competition, game planning, scouting, all that stuff and finding the energy to continue to make a positive impact on the team and in the competition.”
She will also have to work to build relationships with her fellow coaches.
“One of the coaches, I’m coaching with on the Canada Games bench, but the other one I haven’t coached with yet,” She said. “SO just finding our balance and our jobs and trusting each other to do our jobs will make a difference. But we have to expect the unexpected and go with the flow and compete.”
The Canadian contingent will consist of 12 athletes, three coaches, and athletic therapist and a team manager.
The competition kicks off on Nov. 21 with Canada facing Cuba at 4 p.m. CST, they’ll face Costa Rica on Nov. 22 at 2 p.m. and the Dominican Republic on Nov. 23 at 4 p.m. The team’s performance in the opening round will determine their playoff schedule and position. More information can be found at norceca.net.
Games will be streamed on the Volleyball Canada Youtube page.