BOSSIER CITY (KTAL/KMSS) – The U.S. Women’s national team is playing on U.S. soil for the first time since winning the Olympic gold medal in Tokyo. The tournament at Brookshire Grocery Arena is expected to bring a huge economic impact to the area.
“I’m a volleyball dad so, right now, they got me to come see the U.S. national team. So, we love volleyball that’s what we do,” attendee John McRay said.
It’s also the team’s first time back to Shreveport bossier since 2019. Officials say this year is bringing a bigger presence than before.
“Working on the tourism side, you know, we know the economic impact and the numbers. This event we’re expecting to bring about 4.2 million dollars of economic impact,” said Visit Shreveport’s Public Relations Manager Jerrica Bennett. She says visitors are helping businesses by eating in local restaurants and shopping in town, and the international travelers are a large driving factor.
USA Volleyball Communications Manager BJ Evans says fan support is very important. That large show of support in 2019 attracted the attention of the FIVB and earned Shreveport-Bossier a spot on the list of six host cities for the 2022 VNL tournament.
“Huge for us, and we are really looking to see a lot of folks down here this weekend. The U.S. national team won the gold medal in Tokyo last summer but they did in front of zero fans. They couldn’t have fans in Tokyo because of the epidemic, so we are really looking forward to being back in front of U.S. fans who are cheering for us.”
Setter for the U.S. Women’s national team, Lauren Carlini, said, she’s excited to be starting Week 1 in the United States. “We are playing some of our NORCECA teams. That’s just very exciting. It’s a good way to start the tournament.”
Tuesday saw the first matchup of the tournament, in which the U.S. Women’s national team defeated the Dominican Republic 3-0. They’ll have a short rest before facing off against Canada on Friday. The marquee match Saturday will be a rematch of the Gold Medal game in the Tokyo Olympics against Brazil. Sunday will be their final match, playing against Japan.
Several of the visiting teams ranked in the top 10 during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, including the USA, Korea, the Dominican Republic, and Japan.