United States of America
The USA Women’s National Volleyball
Team enters the third year of the quadrennial intent
on building upon the success it has enjoyed in its
first two years with head coach Toshi Yoshida.
In 2001 the United States captured the gold medal at
the World Grand Prix, followed in 2003 by the silver
medal at the Women’s Volleyball World Championships.
But 2003 important because teams can begin qualifying
for the 12 available slots at the 2004 Summer Olympic
Games in Athens, Greece. The first qualifier is the
World Cup in Japan from Nov. 1-15.
Despite the recent success, Yoshida insists that the
players maintain their focus on the ultimate
goal—winning a gold medal in Greece.
“Even though we got second, everybody thinks the USA
is good enough to maintain this level,” Yoshida
revealed. “I don’t think so. The players know, I
know, everybody knows: We have to keep working hard.
“I think last year it looks like we did a really good
job, but we did not peak,” he continued. “We can be
better. That is my prediction…I think 2002 wasn’t too
bad. But you have to be careful. Anything can
To be one of the 12 teams to qualify for the World Cup
the USA women, ranked No. 3 in the world to start the
year, must perform well at the NORCECA zone
championships in September. World Cup invitations are
given to the host country, Japan; the winners of the
five respective continental confederation
championships; and the next six top teams in
accordance with the World Cup regulations.
“I am looking forward to (this) year,” said Yoshida.
“2003 is a crucial year. We still have a lot to do.
We have a ways to go. Right now, the World Cup
qualifier in September is our most important
tournament of the coming season.”
This season Yoshida will have everyone back from the
team he took to the 2002 World Championships,
including the tournament’s Best Blocker Danielle
Scott; outside hitters Logan Tom, Keba Phipps and
Tayyiba Haneef; middle blocker Heather Bown; and
libero Stacy Sykora. All but Haneef have prior
World Championships taught me that volleyball is not
only skills, it’s not only systems, but you really
need heart and soul,” said Yoshida. “That tournament,
mentally and psychologically, we were very good, I
have to say. We had a very good chemistry together.
That’s why we achieved and went pretty far. Without
heart and soul we would have done very badly, I
Achieving the 2003 goals for the USA Women will not be
easy. But if the players can perform with the same
heart and soul that they poured into every match of
the most important tournament of the 2002 season, then
qualifying for the World Cup, and ultimately, the next
Olympics, should be well within their reach.
“The World Championships taught me that
volleyball is not only skills, it’s not only systems,
but you really need heart and soul.”
USA Head Coach, Toshi Yoshida