LANGLEY, British Columbia – Three former Trinity Western men’s volleyball stars will be helping lead the way for Canada in Rio, as Dan Jansen Van Doorn (Langley), Steven Marshall (Abbotsford, B.C.) and Rudy Verhoeff (Calgary) will make up one quarter of the Canadian Olympic men’s volleyball roster.
The Spartans trio, who helped Canada earn its ticket to Rio earlier this year in a last-chance qualifier, was officially named to the Olympic roster .
The former TWU men’s volleyballers join fellow Spartan alumnus Chaim Schalk (Red Deer, Alta.), who will don Red and White in beach volleyball, in Rio. The TWU Olympic contingency also includes Adam Froese (Abbotsford, B.C.), who will represent Canada in field hockey. Join in the conversation and follow TWU’s success at the Olympics with #TWUinRIo.
“I couldn’t be prouder of these athletes and their coaches,” said TWU President Bob Kuhn. “Given the size of our student body, I think sending five athletes is astounding. This marks the first time TWU will see its grads at the Olympic Games, but given the quality of the Spartans program—we’ve won a national championship every year for the last eight years—I know we’ll see more TWU grads in the future.”
announcement lifts TWU’s vaunted men’s volleyball program to yet another level as the four-time CIS national champions (2006, 2011, 2012 and 2016) can now boast four Olympians.
“Knowing those guys and how hard they’ve worked for this opportunity and hearing the stories of their journeys – the ups and the downs – it’s pretty neat that I’ve been able to have a relationship with these guys for so long and walk with them in this process,” said Spartans coach Ben Josephson. “It’s awesome to see them achieve their goals and dreams.
“From a program perspective, it’s great for the next generation to have someone who is now going to the Olympics who has come through this program and who has gone through the same things they are going through. It’s cool to be a part of helping Canada at the Olympics. However small our role was, it’s just cool to be part of that process.”
Jansen Van Doorn, Marshall and Verhoeff were all part of the legendary 2011-12 Spartans men’s volleyball team that posted a 19-1 regular season record, before going undefeated in the playoffs en route to winning a second straight national championship. Jansen Van Doorn and Verhoeff were also part of the 2010-11 Spartans team that won the CIS title on home court at the Langley Events Centre.
“Having three players from that roster make the Olympic team speaks a lot to the strength of that cycle,” Josephson said. “We knew that group was special at the time and now as they move forward, they’ve proven how special it really was. It also speaks a lot to the character of those kids. There’s so much more than talent and ability that goes into staying with the absolute best 12 players there are in Canada. We believe that at Trinity Western, we’re working to develop and build that character and work ethic and we believe that our volleyball program creates athletes who know how to learn and how to grow, which are prerequisites to doing well.”
After qualifying for the Olympics, the Spartans trio went on to help the Maple Volleys win the Group 2 title in the FIVB World League, something Canada has never done before.
“A lot of athletes come to our program with hopes and dreams of playing professionally and playing for the senior national team,” Josephson said. “One of our goals is to provide a pathway to that. We want to make sure we create a high-level, intelligent and driven environment where you have to have good learning skills, good development skills, good work ethic and lots of technical focus. Ideally we align our systems with what the senior national team is doing and the international trends, so our athletes are ahead of the curve.”
Canada, who is currently No. 12 in the FIVB rankings, will open its Olympic campaign with a match against No. 5 ranked USA at .
The Maple Volleys are in a pool with No. 1 Brazil, No. 4 Italy, No. 11 France and No. 26 Mexico.
The last time Canada qualified for the Olympics in men’s volleyball was in 1992 – seven years before TWU joined the CIS.
TWU IN RIO
– Canada vs. USA – ( )
– Canada vs. Brazil – ( )
– Canada vs. France – ( )
– Canada vs. Mexico – ( )
– Canada vs. Italy – ( )
Men’s Beach Volleyball
– Schalk/Saxton (CAN) vs. Samoilovs/Smedins J. (LAT) – ( )
– Schalk/Saxton (CAN) vs. Pedro Solberg/Evandro (BRA) – ( )
– Schalk/Saxton (CAN) vs. Diaz/Gonzalez (CUB) – ( )
– Lucky Loser Playoffs
Men’s Field Hockey
– Canada vs. Germany – ( )
– Canada vs. Argentina – ( )
– Canada vs. Netherlands – ( )
– Canada vs. Ireland – ( )
– Canada vs. India – ( )