For USA skipper Rod Green, this trip to Dali represents more than just another tournament, it embodies years of dedication, sacrifice, and the pursuit of success – it is the pinnacle of all their hard work.

“We had a three-day travel to Dali. It was worth the travel. We have put in years jelling together, loving each other’s personality, knowing what makes us click, what makes us mad,” Green reflected.

“Between each timeout, every time we’re out on the court, I always say, we play for the guy next to you, in front of you and behind you. We’re playing together.”

His leadership is not defined by titles or accolades but by actions that inspire and uplift those around him. And he leads by example.

“As the captain, I’m not really a leader of this team. I am a member of the team,” Green humbly acknowledged.

“My leading is just getting on the court, playing and showing everyone on my team that I respect you and I love you as a person, and at the end of the day, this is a game.”

His words reflect a feeling that the entire team shares – a strong connection built from many hours of training, overcoming challenges, and celebrating victories – both big and small.

Green and his teammates believe that the WPV Final Paralympics Qualifier holds a special significance.

“We’re determined. To be honest, we’re tired of being left out without forcing ourselves to qualify,” Green declared.

“This time, we have a goal to earn it. Anything short of it, there are no more victories to get. We came to win, and we came to play hard.”

True enough, Team USA played hard in its first two outings and have succeeded on both occasions.

Despite the inevitable roar of support for the home team, he somehow embraced the opportunity to connect with the local fans and found warmth away from home. In their first two wins, the USA captain had the loudest cheers from the Dali crowd, which he believes would forge a lasting memory. Likewise, he is in awe of the city’s beauty.

“Dali is amazing, it’s a very beautiful city. I absolutely love this place, the sights, the sounds,” Green exclaimed.

“I love being here. I walk every morning to see the beautiful sights. After my 30-minute walk, I sit in this small area that overlooks the city. It helps you play; it helps you relax; it helps you get ready for that moment.”

Green shared that he is also a staunch advocate for inclusivity and emphasised the importance of bridging the gap between able-bodied volleyball and sitting volleyball.

“We have some of the players in volleyball that actually come try playing sitting volleyball in our nationals,” Green explained.

“Incorporating like that is just showing them that we’re athletic, and they’re athletic but just on a different aspect. It has helped our programme grow. It helped us respect other people, and they respect us from a disabled standpoint of athletes.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here