CIVF to host volleyball youth ambassadors

Ilihia Huddelston (USA), Marissa Harrison (CAY), Sierra Caffo (USA) are among the youth ambassadors.

National beach volleyball player Marissa Harrison will be among a half-dozen student athletes hosted by the Cayman Islands Volleyball Federation (CIVF) in June 2018 to serve as ambassadors for the sport, both indoor and on the beach.

For five days the athletes will do an outreach to students at primary and high schools, sharing the stories of their volleyball journeys and bringing awareness of the student athlete opportunities available to local students. The athletes will make a day-trip to Cayman Brac where they will speak to students and run a volleyball clinic.

The visit will conclude with a beach volleyball youth clinic on Saturday, 23 June and an exhibition beach volleyball tournament and fundraiser for the CIVF Youth Beach Volleyball Programme on Sunday, 24 June. Both events will be on Seven Mile Public Beach.

Three of the athletes visiting the Cayman Islands play for top-10 beach volleyball programmes in the U.S. Madi Yeomans plays for #1 ranked UCLA. Riley Young plays for #8 Louisiana State University (LSU) and Hi’ilawe Huddleston plays for #3 University of Hawaii (UH). All three universities will be competing in this weekend’s NCAA beach volleyball championships in Alabama. The championship will air on ESPN from 4-6 May.

The three younger members of the group are high school 11th graders who have verbally committed to play beach volleyball at Florida State University (FSU), UH and LSU. The players are Caymanian Marissa Harrison (FSU) and Americans Ilihia Huddelston (UH) and Sierra Caffo (LSU).

“It is our hope that meeting these visiting athletes, participating in the clinics and watching the exhibition event on 24 June, will spike the interest of many school-age kids to participate in this fun sport. CIVF is committed to the development of our young athletes and our hope is to see volleyball become a focus sport in the Cayman Islands. We implore the local community to support our ongoing volunteer programmes,” said CIVF president Kennedy McGowan.

The beach volleyball youth clinic on 24 June at Seven Mile Public Beach is free of charge and open to children aged 10 years and older. Participants don’t need to have any volleyball experience. Mr. McGowan encouraged children and their parents to come to the clinic. He said “the clinic is a great opportunity to get a feel for this great sport and to have some one-to-one interactions with the visiting elite youth athletes”. Parents who would like to register their child for the clinic can simply email their child’s name and date of birth to

The exhibition beach volleyball tournament and fundraiser promises to be a fun opportunity to watch the six visiting youth athletes play against each other in a tournament format. The event is free to attend and funds for the programme will be raised from the sale of food, drinks and merchandise.

Beach volleyball continues to grow in popularity around the world; already one of the most popular sports at the summer Olympics, beach volleyball made its debut this year at the Commonwealth Games. “Volleyball is a family entertainment sport and due to our small population, beach volleyball is ideally suited in the Cayman Islands for aspiring young athletes to pursue academic opportunities abroad,” McGowan said.

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