Determination pays off for Scott-Arruda
The ever smiling Danielle Scott-Arruda chats with Heather Bown, another veteran player in the US team|
Toyama, Japan, November 8, 2011 – Danielle Scott-Arruda has been a familiar face for the USA women’s national team since 1994 when current teammates Alisha Glass and Megan Hodge were only six years-old and likely not dreaming about playing volleyball. Now at 39, the 1.88m tall middle-blocker has her sights on playing in her fifth Olympics which would tie an all-time record for women volleyball players set by Brazilian setter Herlia Rogerio de Souza who competed in five consecutive Summer Games starting in Barcelona 1992.
The ever smiling Scott-Arruda, currently tied with compatriot Tara Cross-Battle with four Olympic Games under her belt, admits the systems have changed a lot since she started playing but still feels the passion for the game that keeps her playing the sport she loves.
“When you enjoy it is easier to keep going”, said Scott-Arruda after USA's straight sets win over European champions Serbia at the FIVB Women’s World Cup, the first qualifying tournament towards the 2012 London Olympic Games.
“I am so excited to be part of the team which is very different with very young players,” she added. “The systems have changed but still it’s a lot of fun and I’ve trained hard during the summer. The World Cup is my first tournament since I came back.”
At 39, Scott-Arruda is the oldest player in the World Cup but also one of the athletes with the most imposing presence among the 12 teams taking part in the competition.
The mother of an 18-month baby girl named Julianne from her marriage of five years with Brazilian former player Eduardo Arruda, Danielle was away from the game for a year but now is completely committed to play for USA and the chance to make history at the London Games is one of the goals she is seeking.
“I am very blessed because I haven’t had many injuries in my career and physically I am healthy and fit with new training systems and also on a healthy food diet,” she continued saying.
Teammates admire Scott-Arruda, who has played 392 times for the Stars and Stripes, for her intensity and determination and one of them is current captain and setter Lindsey Berg a veteran of two Olympic Games.
“I have played with her for eight years now and she is one of the smartest players I have ever been with,” Berg says. “She is a very intense and determined person but I have seen now a different intensity. She wanted to be here and it is huge to have her with us because she is a great team mate and one incredible person.”
The US coach Hugh McCutcheon also praised the qualities of Scott-Arruda a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana who starred in volleyball and basketball at Woodlawn High School before attending Long Beach State University.
“Danielle is a great motivator and a great example of a hard worker,” McCutcheon says. “She has done a remarkable job earning her way back into the team and it shows how determination can pay off.”
Those are the qualities that have Scott-Arruda very close to realize her dream of taking part again in the Olympics which would be a wonderful way to cap a brilliant career representing her country with pride.
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