Anaheim, California, February 19, 2008 – USA Volleyball has announced that the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill., the Resch Center in Green Bay, Wis., and U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington, Ill., will host the three U.S. stops for the 2008 FIVB World League, which will be the final Olympic warm-up for the U.S. Men’s Volleyball Team.
The United States finished third at the 2007 World League, an exciting elite men’s Volleyball competition in which the world’s best teams are divided into four pools and play for six straight weekends from June 13 to July 20. Winners from each pool will go to the final round on July 23-27 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, along with the host country and a pick from among the second-place teams in pool play.
The total World League prize purse is more than $20 million, with the winning team collecting a prize of more than $1 million.
"The World League competition is a crucial part of our Olympic preparation. We look forward to playing these important matches in Green Bay, Bloomington, and Chicago,” U.S. Men’s Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon said. “We have a very tough pool and I expect all of these matches to be closely contested and the level of Volleyball will be very high."
The U.S. Men, ranked No. 3 in the world, will play in Pool C along with Bulgaria (No. 4), Spain (No. 6) and Finland (No. 22). Team USA will open domestic World League play against Bulgaria on June 20-21 at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, a northwestern suburb of Chicago. Both matches will be at 7 p.m.
U.S. outside hitter Sean Rooney (Wheaton, Ill.) made his debut with the U.S. Men’s Team at the 2007 World League tournament and got to play in front of hometown fans when the team played in the Chicago area.
“It will be great to play in World League again and try to improve on our third-place finish,” said Rooney, who played at Wheaton South High School. “I am looking forward to the support from the hometown fans from Chicago.”
On June 27-28, the U.S. Men will return to the Resch Center in Green Bay, where they played two World League matches against Japan in 2007, to play Finland. Both matches will be at 7 p.m.
On July 11-12, the United States will host Spain at the U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington, in central Illinois. Both matches will be at 7 p.m.
“We are thrilled to be returning to a famous sports city like Green Bay and a great venue like the Resch Center,” USA Volleyball CEO Doug Beal said. “Our partners there put on a first-class event in 2007.
“We are also excited to be bringing Olympic caliber Volleyball to the Midwest both in the Chicago area and in Bloomington, which may be the last U.S. city to see the U.S. Men play before they head to Beijing.”
The United States and Bulgaria have both qualified for the 2008 Olympic Games. Spain, which is the reigning European champion, still has a chance to qualify at a tournament prior to World League.
The U.S. Men have a 20-10 record against Bulgaria and most recently beat the team at the 2007 FIVB World Cup. Team USA is 12-5 against Spain, but lost to the Spaniards at the 2007 World Cup. The United States is 6-0 against Finland.
The United States has played in 10 editions of the FIVB World League since 1990. Its best results have been third-place finishes in 1992 and 2007. Brazil is the five-time World League defending champion.
For the second year, the U.S. World League matches will be broadcast, via tape delay, on ESPNU.