Landon Currie is looking forward to realizing a dream.
The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack libero is gearing up to head to Gatineau, Que. for final workouts with the Canadian Junior National men’s team.
Currie is one of two liberos battling for spots on a 12 man roster who will be going to Cuba later in the month to play in an international tournament (NORCECA U21 Continental Cup Championship, Aug. 26-Sept. 2).
“Physically it was very very tough on the body,” said the native of Vernon, about a tryout camp he was involved in at the national training center in Gatineau in June. “Four hours a day for four days. Tryouts are generally mentally challenging. You don’t want to make a mistake because coaches are always watching you. You want to play your best.”
Currie said advice he was given by WolfPack head coach Pat Hennelly helped him out.
“He told me to play the way I did during the season (Canada West). Be loud and encouraging my teammates and diving for every ball.”
Currie admits that he struggled the first two days at the tryout camp but turned things around. Now vying for a spot on the final roster, the 5-foot-9 business student finds himself in a unique position. Unlike the WolfPack where he was one of the youngest players on the roster, on Team Canada he is one of the veterans.
Canada’s head coach is Joao Paulo Bravo.
“Landon has impressed me but there is room for improvement. We are working on that during training sessions. For me, the libero position is very important and I think he will play a key role in our success.”
Currie is one of four Canada West players on the Canadian roster.
“I am kind of looking after people,” he laughs. “It is different. Last season with TRU I had guys like Jordan Foot (5th year, middle, Prince George) looking out for me. Now I get to do that with this team. It is a bit surreal.”
Currie says he hasn’t gotten used to the fact he will be representing the country internationally.
“Every practice putting on the Canadian jersey. It still gives me goose bumps every time.”
Currie expects the workouts to be very intense when he returns to Gatineau.
“It is competing every day but it will be fun. I love to be in that situation. At the end of the day it will be the best man who earns the spot.”
Whether he makes the final 12 man roster or not, Currie says the experience he is gaining this summer will help him out in his second campaign with TRU.
“The competition I am seeing this summer is very similar to Canada West, just at a younger age group,” he said. “I think the coaching I am getting will help bring me experience I can use to my advantage in critical situations during league play.”
Looking ahead to the NORECA tournament, he believes the United States, Cuba and Canada will be the strongest countries. When he looks at his team’s strengths, “We are a very physical team with a lot of hard hitters.”