World league providing path for young Volleyroos

Aidan Zingel

Aidan Zingel

VOLLEYBALL

Volleyball superstar Aidan Zingel wants to make the most of Australia's first World League appearance in 15 years.

Not just to deliver the nation a historic result, but use it to build a future for the sport and its bank of talented youngsters.

And, so far, it's working.

Since beginning their campaign in May, most of the Volleyroos have received offers to play for clubs in the tournament's host countries.

"It's creating a lot of interest amongst the players that wouldn't get any exposure without this tournament," captain Zingel, of Kiama Downs, said ahead of Friday night's group semi-final against the Netherlands at Sydney Olympic Park.

"It's very difficult for us to play overseas professionally.

"That's the reason we're competing in it. It gets us out there ... it creates some popularity of the sport in Australia.

"We're trying to do the best thing we can for our sport and for the players as well.

"This is a huge pathway to achieving that."

At least a dozen of the 22-man squad don't have professional contracts, but are committed to training year-round in Canberra.

Around five - including Zingel - play in some of the world's best leagues, earning anywhere from $50,000 to $150,000 or more a season, while a handful of others are toiling away in the US or Canadian college system.

"But we're hoping to change that," Zingel said.

The 14th-ranked Volleyroos have only once featured in the World League - in 1999.

Despite finishing bottom of their group in the preliminary round, they were guaranteed a semi-final berth after Sydney was granted hosting rights.

But last week, they made history by completing their first clean sweep in the annual tournament over world No 11 Canada - minus injured Olympians Nathan Roberts and Travis Passier. AAP

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