Local Valencia resident and boys volleyball player set to play in 2019 FIVB U19 World Championships

Long Beach State boys volleyball commit and Valencia resident Mason Briggs has been selected to represent the 2019 United States Boys Youth Team at the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Boys’ U19 World Championship in Tunisia later this month.

The tournament gets underway on Wednesday, Aug. 21 and concludes with the championship game Friday, Aug. 30. It features 20 countries including, Brazil, Italy, Japan, Russia and Nigeria, and will be split into four pools of five teams. 

The United States along with Russia, South Korea, Nigeria and the Dominican Republic will compete against each other in “Pool D.”

Briggs, who played prep volleyball at Alemany, is one of 12 boys to make the final roster and was the lone libero on the team to make the cut for the World Games.

“I feel blessed and humbled to pretty much see a return in everything that I’ve put into the sport with my training,” Briggs said. “There’s a humble, blessed feeling to see the hard work you’ve put in. You’re getting something out of it and continuing to reach my goals and playing the sport that I love to play.”

Twenty-four of the United States’ best youth volleyball players from across the country flew to Fort Lauderdale, Florida for team tryouts, which were held from July 13 to 23 in order to find harmony on the team and cut the number of players down to a final 12-man roster. 

Briggs and the field of 24 boys trained as a team for the first five days and then split into two teams of 12 to compete in USAV High Performance Championships for the finals five days in order to make the final selections.

Setting himself apart from the rest of the selections, Briggs quickly made a name for himself thanks to his extensive knowledge of the game and inherent volleyball skills that he picked up along the way and made the final roster.

“What I always hear, what my coaches have told me, is my knowledge for the game and my anticipatory skills, and vision for the game (are good) because I’ve been around it for so long and I’ve been watching it and I just love it,” Briggs said. “I’ve been around the game forever so I’ve watched high level ball since I was pretty much zero and I think that is one of the big things along with my competitiveness passion for the sport.”

Briggs and the national team reconvened to train as a team at the American Sports Complex in Anaheim on Monday to build more chemistry and play a little before the team boards a flight for Tunisia on Saturday.

The training began with an intense 6-on-6 game, setting a precedent for the remaining practices. Breaking down into groups and positions, the team is focusing on blocking and defense in order to grow and learn as a collective unit.

“The level of play is raised because it’s the best 12 players in the nation in this age group, that are representing the United States so every time we go into the gym, everyone wants to be here,” Briggs said. “It’s what people are here for, to go and compete internationally. It’s a bigger stage, there’s higher stakes and it’s much more competitive with a higher level.”

Personally, Briggs wants to capture one individual feat at the World Games and win the “mejor libero” which means the “best libero” in Spanish. But ultimately, he just wants to help his team win in any way possible.

Briggs and the US national team begins pool play against the Dominican Republic on Wednesday, Aug. 21 at 8 a.m., South Korea on Aug. 22 at 8:30 a.m. and Nigeria on Aug. 23 at 11:30 a.m. before finishing pool play with Russia Aug. 25 at 11:30 a.m.

“You get the chills in your body when you hear the national anthem and it brings tears to your eyes,” Briggs said. “You realize that you are representing your country and you’ve been chosen out of the whole United States as one, at least in my position, to go and do that for us. It’s a blessing and I’m super happy.”

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