At the 2007 World Junior Championship in Morocco,
expectations were high for Argentina, but for the 2009 edition in India, the
expectations are even higher.
The Argentine Junior Men's Team will travel to Asia with
the challenge of bettering their fifth-place performance at the last Junior
World Championship, and after many positive results, the players believe their
dreams can become a reality.
As with prior Junior teams, many of the players have come
up through the Youth team. Nearly all of the players who finished fourth at the
Youth World Championship in Mexico in 2007 belong to the 19-member strong
Junior squad that will compete in India.
The team also includes many players who wrote a new page
in the history of Argentine volleyball history at the 2008 South American
Junior and Youth Championships in Brazil, where the teams both won gold.
There is more than enough proof already that the squad
has gone from a group of players to watch in the future to players to watch
right now. Nicolás Uriarte and Facundo Conte made their debuts with the
Argentine Men's Team in the 2009 World League, the world's elite annual
tournament for national teams organized by the FIVB. Sebastián Solé did not
play at the tournament but did take part in training with the senior team.
The Junior players' club careers have also been taking
off. Conte has proved himself in the strong Italian A2 League with Catania,
which is coached by his father. Uriarte became one of the stars of the
Argentine League's Mendoza Voley, where he played his second season with
Nicolás Bruno, another Junior Team member. Also playing in the nation's most
important club competition are captain Juan Ignacio Macció, Cristian Poglajen
(Belgrano de Córdoba), Pablo Hruby, Ricardo Ferreiro (Chubut Volley), Pablo Crer,
Solé (Rosario Sonder), Germán Galdón (Gigantes del Sur).
Meanwhile, Rodrigo Aschemacher, Facundo Imhoff and
Sebastián Closter were part of the great Bolívar team, which for three
consecutive years were crowned champion. The boys proved themselves against
some of the greats in Argentine Volleyball, giving the Junior Team and its fans
even more cause to celebrate.
In addition to all this, the Argentine Junior Team as
been preparing for the World Championship at a myriad of national and
international events, including:
- In 2008, prior to historical South American victories,
the Argentine Junior Men's Team traveled to Europe to face powerhouses such as
Russia, Italy and Poland, and obtained great results.
- At the end of the Argentine League, the Junior Team
started training at the Cenard facilities, and at their first 2009 event, they
faced the powerful Cuban National Men's Team in three friendly matches in
Buenos Aires Province.
- In June, the team traveled together with the Argentine
Youth Boys Team to Brazil, where 30 players trained at Sequarema and played on
several occasions against the host team.
The Argentine Junior Men's Team again obtained several victories against
its long-time rival Brazil.
Argentina's best showing at a U-21 World Championship was
in 1993 in Rosario, Argentina, when they placed fourth. But with all the preparation, hard work
and typical Argentine perseverance, Argentina now wants to go further than it
did in Morocco in 2007. That will be the team's main goal of this tournament.