When most volleyball players and coaches were still recovering from holiday festivities and pondering their New Year’s resolutions, a select few kicked off 2016 with an international volleyball bash in Portugal and Spain.
Since 2004, BIP veteran and retired University of Montevallo head coach, CJ Sherman has recruited and hand crafted under 16, 18 & 22 year-old teams to play volleyball in an annual tournament on European soil. After spending 9 days in Europe with CJ and her delegation on the 11th annual New Year’s Bash, it’s easy to see why this tour is such a smashing hit each year.
City squares are filled with seasonal markets, twinkling lights and holiday parades. Volleyball competition in unique towns offer otherwise impossible cultural exchanges between players and coaches. And the holiday delicacies served at the dinner table each night are simply irresistible.
Danielle Gotham, assistant volleyball coach at Tennessee Tech and co-coach of the collegiate NYB team, had to this to say about the experience, “Yes this trip was about our passion for volleyball, but you get so much more out of it. Traveling to a foreign country, seeing how other people live, and their day to day activities is something you’ll never fully understand. We get a big taste of it on these trips. Your mind will open from visiting all of these places, and can learn way more than you think. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
While gorgeous cathedrals, stunning natural landscapes and diverse cuisine are expected on all foreign volleyball tours to Europe with Bring It USA, the hospitality and genuine warmth of the local volleyball players, coaches and fans at the New Year’s Tournament in Esmoriz, Portugal exceeded all expectations. As the girls traded jerseys after each match, email addresses and Instagram accounts were also exchanged to ensure continued communication in hopes for future “friendly matches” and meet-ups overseas.
Coach CJ summed up the mutual feelings perfectly after the final match in Madrid, “There’s tears at the end of every tour.”
Every year a mix of individual volleyball players from across the US travel abroad to play together in this holiday tournament. Each year the players return home as a united team, wiser and more experienced from the foreign cultures they embraced.
The 2016-2017 New Year’s Bash will return to Sicily, Reggio, Fondi and Rome. Roll your sleeves up for another amazing adventure.