Written by Christian Taylor, Eastern Mennonite University:
This past June, I traveled to South America to play with the USA D3 Select Team in Brazil. We played five matches on the tour with stops in Jundiaí, Campinas and Rio de Janeiro. Accompanying the games we played were trips to the Christ the Redeemer Statue, Sugar Loaf Mountain, the USA Olympic training facility and an elementary school visit.
The matches that we played were against tougher competition than I had seen before. The NCAA has strong competition but the guys in Brazil were born and raised to become volleyball players. The guys there said that when you're young in Brazil, you either choose to play soccer or volleyball. Whichever one they choose, that's how they were raised.
Being able to discuss volleyball with different players from around the United States was extremely beneficial. I was able to take away different things from each of the other players and Coach Ginex that I hope will be beneficial to the improvement of my game over my final two years of college at EMU and then hopefully professionally somewhere overseas.
Aside from volleyball, I was able to dig deeper into a culture that I was introduced to last summer while watching the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Besides trying to learn a little Portuguese, we were able to eat with locals and be apart of the daily life that they live. Each day in Rio de Janeiro, we spent our time enjoying the beauty of Copacabana Beach. I remember sitting on my couch watching beach volleyball during last summer's Olympics and thinking about how cool it would be to play volleyball on Copacabana Beach. This June, I was able to turn that dream into a reality.
Teams were selected by USA Sports Tours & Events with recommendations from coaches. Taylor is a double major in business administration and recreation leadership and sports studies, with minors in human resource management and coaching.
|Christian Taylor visits Brazil this summer|
|Taylor and his teammates posing after a match|