U.S. National Team Members Rally Volleyball Community To Help Puerto Rico

USA Today Puerto Rico Hurricane Maria

The television images were as frightening as they were graphic. Shrieking winds. Flying debris. Surging water. And through the soaked lenses of social media, sad images of families made homeless this past week by Hurricane Maria's unprecedented fury.

As Courtney Thompson watched those images, she was startled to see people she recognized. The two-time Olympic volleyball medalist received a text from her former U.S. national team teammate Angie (Pressey) Forsett. Devastation in Cataño. Our former town. Our former team.

Courtney Thompson Catano

For many current and former American volleyball players, Puerto Rico has a special meaning. Dozens of collegiate All-Americans -- including Jordan Larson, Nicole Fawcett, Alisha Glass, Kelly Murphy, Kelsey Robinson, Micha Hancock, and Danielle Scott-Arruda -- signed their first pro contracts out of college with one of Puerto Rico's 10 teams. They were paid their first paychecks for playing a sport they love; they first experienced living in a place where -- although its residents are American citizens -- English is not the first language.

"Puerto Rico has been pretty meaningful for the national team," Thompson said. "It's a beautiful place and it gave us a wonderful opportunity to get introduced to what it's really like to play professionally."

Courtney Thompson

So, when Thompson and Forsett realized just how catastrophic last week's hurricane had become, they contacted former national team teammate Tama Miyashiro.

"The volleyball community has a special bond," Thompson said. "We said, 'Man, we gotta do something.'"

Give It Back Foundation is a 501(c)3 charitable organization founded in 2015 by current and former members of the U.S. women's N\national team. Give It Back is now reaching out to the volleyball community to help raise hurricane relief funds for the folks in hard-hit Cataño, Puerto Rico.

"What I learned from the people of Cataño is that their sense of community is so big, so important," Thompson said. "Neighbors matter. People matter. How you're doing matters. The community is like very few I've ever seen in the world. And volleyball's their favorite sport."

Give It Back Foundation is now accepting tax-deductible monetary donations on its website to help Cataño recover and rebuild. Thompson is also inviting volleyball equipment manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers to contact the Foundation about donating balls, nets, and other volleyball gear to the children of Cataño.

"They treated us like family," she said. "So, now, when we see them going through so much, we want to have their backs, just like they helped us when we were there."

Courtney thompson
Photos courtesy Linda Thompson



Don't Miss a Beat

It's time to step up your game. Fill in the information below to get the best of FloVolleyball delivered directly to your inbox.

MUST SEE FloFilms

Lauren Carlini: Setting the Standard 

Watch full episode here.

null

The Program: Penn State

Watch Episode One here.

null


All In: USA Women's National Volleyball Team

Watch Episode One here.

null

Raegan Steiner Is The Perfect Ambassador For Montana Volleyball

Courtesy Chantelle Steiner Raegan Steiner

Yes, they play volleyball in Montana.

No, they don’t ride horses to volleyball practice.

In fact, Raegan Steiner would like you to know that high school volleyball is very much alive and kicking in a state better known for rodeo, skiing and — until recently — basketball. Steiner should know: the 6-foot-0 opposite from Billings Senior High is the first Montanan ever selected to the AVCA Under Armor High School All-American team.

Meet The 2017 Under Armour All-Americans: Raegan Steiner

Courtesy Chantelle Steiner Raegan Steiner

Becoming the first Under Armour High School All-American from the state of Montana is the perfect way to conclude Raegan Steiner’s prep volleyball career. 

Meet The 2017 Under Armour All-Americans: Emma Schriner

Jamestown Volleyball | Twitter Emma Schriner

Tennessee-bound outside hitter Emma Schriner is as physical as they come. Standing 6-foot-3 and touching over 10 feet, Schriner was one of only two starters returning for her Jamestown High School team this fall. 

Last Four Teams Standing Book Their Tickets To Kansas City

USA Today Sports USATSI_10470305_168383134_lowres.jpg

On Saturday night, the eight remaining teams in the 2017 NCAA Division I women’s volleyball tournament faced off to determine which four would advance to the Final Four in Kansas City next week. 

Meet The 2017 Under Armour All-Americans: Adanna Rollins

Hebron High School DO9edCFVoAAbsXk.jpg-large.jpeg

Adanna Rollins led Hebron High School to the 6A Texas state championship last year as a junior and was named the MVP of the tournament. This fall, Hebron, missing graduated setter and reigning Texas Gatorade Player of the Year Kylee McLaughlin, wasn’t expected to repeat, but with some inspired play from Rollins, they did just that.

Regional Hosts Survive Sweet 16 Tests

Matt Pendleton/UAA Communications Rhamat Alhassan

The regional semifinal rounds of the 2017 NCAA Division I women’s volleyball tournament wrapped up last night, leaving only eight teams remaining in the hunt for the championship. 

Meet The 2017 Under Armour All-Americans: Ella May Powell

Courtesy AVCA Ella May Powell.jpg

The list of colleges Ella May Powell considered before making her commitment to Washington features some of the most decorated women’s volleyball programs in NCAA history: Stanford, UCLA, Florida, and Nebraska.

This Week's College Commits: 12/8/17

Hebron High School DO-XpTIV4AAvjb5.jpg-large.jpeg

A Texas high school state champion from the class of 2020 made her verbal commitment to Florida this week, Florida State added a 2021 libero from Walton High School in Georgia, and the beach programs of Missouri State and TCU celebrated the addition of talent to their 2019 teams.

Join PRO Now to Get Unlimited Access to FloVolleyball!

Join Now

Already a PRO Member? Log In

Meet The 2017 Under Armour All-Americans: Jonni Parker

Courtesy AVCA Jonni Parker.JPG

Miami East senior Jonni Parker led the 2017 Viking squad with 449 kills and 315 assists, but perhaps the most impressive line item on her stats sheet is the 153 aces; that mark ranks her fifth in state history for aces in a single season, according to the Ohio High School Athletic Association website.

Meet The 2017 Under Armour All-Americans: Ade’ Owokoniran

Courtesy Triangle Volleyball Club IMG_0251.JPG

To get an idea of what Ade’ Owokoniran’s contributions at the collegiate level might be like when she makes her debut at Duke next fall, think of Danielle Cuttino of Purdue. Like Cuttino, Owokoniran is a middle blocker with the skill and athleticism to play on the outside, while putting on a display of explosive power when in the middle.