“In 2000 I moved to the United States. It was my dream to reside in the country where volleyball was born. Once arriving, however, I was frustrated to learn that there were many communities, like Lawrence, that lacked volleyball.
As some quick background, after working as a coach in different private schools and universities, I obtained my International License from the International Volleyball Federation. This helped me gain the skills and knowledge to instruct at a higher level. It also earned me the privilege of training players who were ultimately selected to the Dominican National Volleyball Teams.
After becoming more familiar with the area, I noticed that Lawrence children didn’t have enough access to healthy, productive activities like sports to focus their time. Thankfully, my good friend, Raul Polanco, set up a meeting with Lawrence High School Volleyball Coach, Tony, who, soon after that introduction, asked me to work in his volleyball league. This relationship ultimately led to my Assistant Coaching role of the LHS boys volleyball team in 2013, wherein I also started working as Head Coach of the LHS girls team, which I continue to lead today.
While coaching at LHS, I was also focused on my ultimate dream; to develop Merrimackvolley, which began, initially, with volleyball clinics. My motivation was to provide more pathways for kids to develop an interest in sport, but more importantly, provide them with the chance to learn and develop skills while staying safe and healthy. In 2016, I met with the Lawrence Mayor’s Office representative, Wendy Luzon, to present my idea of hosting a grass volleyball tournament in the City’s common to introduce Merrimackvolley, get the local athletes interested in competing and learning from international athletes. That first year was a huge success. Merrimack Volley “1st International Tournament of Grass Volleyball” was born. It was a dream come true for me and my family.
Since then, with my daughter, Leti, wife, Raiza, and extended family, we’ve been running year round clinics, tournaments and events for 60-75 middle & high school girls. We’ve been contributing, tirelessly, to our institution’s vision; to contribute to the well-being of youth in the Merrimack Valley through positive activities that motivate them to lead healthy lives, attend college and become positive contributors to our society. Time and time again, parents tell us how much their child’s behavior and level of motivation has changed in school and at home since joining us.
I would like to thank everyone who has believed in me and supported this journey, like LHS Athletic Director, James Licciardi, Coach Tony, my wife, family and friends. I am also especially grateful for and excited about this next chapter, or Beyond Volley, that I know will allow me to take my dreams even further and reach more young people through the wonderful sport of volleyball.”
-Coach Marino Valdez