After receiving news of Puerto Rico's inclusion in the Women's World Olympic Qualification Tournament in May, the Puerto Rican Federation of Volleyball began to prepare the National Team for the important competition in Japan.
Federation President Carlos J. Beltran appointed Professor Carlos D. Cardona of Argentina as the new team advisor. Cardona is Head Coach of the Puerto Rico Men's National Team that also plays in the Men's World Olympic Qualification Tournament in Tokyo.
Cardona works with Women's Head Coach Juan Carlos Nunez and Data Volley staff Manuel Acevedo and Jose Mieles.
Nunez has been coach of the team since 2004, assuming control in the III Pan-American Games.
Team staff have been working hard to select the best players for the Japan tournament.
Puerto Rico were given the opportunity to take part after the withdrawal of Peru and Kenya.
The 12-Woman Puerto Rican squad is set to meet for training in Tsukuba, Japan, before the tournament starts.
The team is coming off the back of a decent 2007.
In the VI Pan American Cup in Mexico, they finished fifth, claimed sixth at the Pan American Games, fifth at the XIX NORCECA Championship in Canada and third at the Continental Olympic Qualification Tournament in Mexico, during which they produced an impressive performance to beat Dominican Republic.
They missed out on qualification that time which means there is only one aim in Tokyo: to finish in any of the positions available that guarantees a ticket to Beijing.
Four years ago, Juan Carlos Nunez made his debut as assistant coach of Puerto Rico in the World Olympic Qualification Tournament in Japan.
After this tournament, he was named Head Coach of the Puerto Rico National Team.
His promotion was quite a feat as he became the youngest Head Coach in the 50-year history of the Puerto Rican Volleyball Federation.
During the last four years, Nunez has led his charges to some historical victories.
These include beating Cuba for the first time in 44 years. Also, in 2006, they defeated Brazil in the Pan American Cup.
He has also led them to wins over Canada, Peru, Argentina, Kazakhstan and Dominican Republic.
Nunez's record in competition is excellent. In the past few years, he has taken Puerto Rico to the 2006 FIVB World Championships in Japan, where they finished 15th.
In the IV, V, VI and VII Pan American Cups they have finished fifth four times in a row under his leadership.
In other tournaments, Puerto Rico have claimed fourth at the XVIII NORCECA Championship, third at the XX Central American and Caribbean Games, second at the 2006 World Championship Qualification Tournament, sixth at the XV Pan American Games, fifth at the XIX NORCECA Championship and third in the Continental Olympic Qualification Tournament.
Nunez, thus, has a lot of experience behind him. The goal now is to claim a qualification spot for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.