The World's Top 10 Volleyball Courts
by Reid Priddy, Outside Hitter for the U.S. Men's National Volleyball Team
1. American Sports Center, Anaheim, CA. #1 is definitely "Home-Court." Located right off Interstate 5 and Anaheim Way, just 1 mile from Disneyland. The US Men's Olympic Team calls it home Monday-Friday but the facility is used for youth and club volleyball and basketball tournaments over the weekends. The ASC is 150,000 square feet, and is the largest indoor sports court complex in the world.
2. Moonlight Beach, Encinitas, San Diego, CA. I had to include one beach court. Moonlight is a special location for me because it is where spent a lot of time playing volleyball and surfing and more importantly, where I met me wife for the first time. It is a beautiful setting with 3 beach courts.
3. Spodek, Katowice, Poland. Location of the 2007 World League finals where Team USA won the bronze medal. Capacity 11,500. What is special about this arena is that it is always sold out. Poland loves volleyball to the point that they have to place jumbotrons outside the arena for the 5,000+ "overflow" fans that couldn't get tickets but want to be a part of the event. It is truly an extraordinary place to play.
4. Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium. Tokyo, Japan. Capacity 10,000. Japan has been a long time host of major International Volleyball events. They do a fabulous job of organizing a wonderful event and never have any problem selling out the arenas.
5. Sever, Novosibirsk, Siberia, Russia. Capacity 3,500. This is the home court for the professional team that I play for called Lokomotiv Novosibirsk. It is a smaller venue but has tremendous home court advantage with the die-hard fans and unique feel to it. Novosibirsk is the 3rd largest city in Russia with about 1.5 million people.
6. Maracanazinho Gymnasium, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Capacity 12,600. Brazil has been the top team in the World for the past 6 years. They also have tremendous support from their country and enjoy super-star status and overflowing, sold-out arenas. It was built for the 2007 Pan American Games where Team USA won the Gold medal and will be the arena for the 2008 World League Finals in July.
7. Stan Sherriff Center, University of Hawaii, Oahu, Hawaii. Capacity 10,300. One of the best volleyball venues I have played in. A great perfect blend of technology, comfort, convenience and capacity. UH volleyball is very popular in Hawaii and there is no problem packing the Stan Sheriff Center out.
8. Peace and Friendship Stadium, Athens, Greece. Capacity 11,390. Served as the Volleyball venue for the 2004 Olympic Games. Most notably for me was a huge come-from-behind win by Team USA in the quarter finals against the host country Greece. Team USA went on to finish fourth losing to Russia in the Bronze Medal match.
9. Palafiera, Forli, Italy. Capacity 8,500. Great volleyball venue and the place where I played my first year abroad professionally. Located in the beautiful and festive north-eastern region of Italy known as Emillia Romania. The Palafiera was also where the Italy Cup final four was played in 2005. I was playing for Tonno Callipo Vibo Valentia and made it to the finals finishing second to the Champions Sisley Treviso.
10. Capital Indoor Stadium, Beijing, China. Capacity 17,500. This is the Olympic venue for the 2008 Games in August. I haven't played there yet, but all the training we have done over the years is leading up to what will take place on that court. Go USA!
Reid Priddy is a member of the USA Men's National Volleyball Team (based out of Anaheim, California) which recently qualified for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He joined the team in May 2000 after playing college volleyball at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. He is an Outside Hitter who hails from Newport Beach, California, where he lives with his wife, Lindsay. Reid helped the U.S. Men qualify for the Olympics by winning the NORCECA qualifying tournament on Jan. 6-11, 2008 in Caguas, Puerto Rico. Reid travels the world to play for Team USA. Visit www.reidpriddy.com for more information.