In the 11 years since Trinity Western bench boss Ben Josephson took over the coaching reins with the Spartans, he has led the men’s volleyball program to great new heights.
Building on an impressive historical foundation of men’s volleyball success at the Langley, B.C. school, Josephson has guided the Spartans to four national championship (2011, 2012, 2016 and 2017) and four conference titles (2012, 2016, 2017 and 2018).
He has coached the Spartans in two previous international tournaments where they have had the chance to don the Maple Leaf. In 2012, the Spartans represented Canada at the U23 Pan American Cup, finishing fourth. In 2011, the team participated in the FIVB Club World Championship as Canada’s representative.
Now, Josephson will lead the Spartans into yet another unique opportunity to perform on an international platform, as TWU will represent Canada at the FISU America Games this summer in Sao Paolo, Brazil.
"For some of our athletes, this will be the only time they’ll ever get to represent Canada and wear the Maple Leaf," Josephson says. "There’s just such great feelings of pride and excitement when you get represent Canada that you can’t really replicate in any other way."
While representing Canada will be an outstanding experience, the chance to travel to Brazil and compete against some of the best volleyball-playing countries in the world, including the host Brazilians, the United States and Argentina, will also provide the Spartans an opportunity to come together as a team in a unique circumstance.
"Anytime you get a chance to travel as a group for some time, there are some experiences and coming together that you can’t fabricate without an uncomfortable or unique experience like this. It’s even more powerful when you experience a different culture and then you blend in the fact that we’ll be representing Canada and that makes for a really special opportunity."
Taking on such high-level competition will also help lay the first few building blocks for the 2018-19 season – one in which the Spartans will once again be national championship contenders.
"Boys bond through battle. The more often a group goes through battles or experiences together, that’s when groups of boys tend to bond together. I'm really excited for this trip to see how it’ll bring our group together in a special way. The greatest challenge as a coach is finding common ground and finding ways to get a group to come together and treat each other more like a family than just a bunch of guys who play volleyball. This trip will give us a chance to do just that."
Beyond what the Spartans do on the court, the team will also be collaborating with Athletes in Action to serve in various communities within Sao Paulo.
"The fact that we can perhaps use some of the manpower that we have to help groups in any service ways we can is really exciting. We want to give back to the local community in any way that we can and we’re looking forward to just working alongside some of the local organizations that have ministries on the ground."
As the Director of Athletics for Trinity Western University, I could not be more thrilled that our men’s volleyball team has the privilege to represent Canada in Brazil.
Our coach, Ben Josephson, and his coaches have established a tradition of excellence that is amongst the very best in Canada and I can’t wait to see how we will compete with the other great teams that will be representing their own countries at the FISU America Games. It will be an absolute honour to join some of the volleyball playing giants, including Brazil, the USA and Argentina, but at the same time, I know our players and coaching staff will be up for the task. Trust me on this one, we’ll be ready and our team will represent Canada well.
While we’re thrilled to see how our team will stack up against some of the world’s best university-aged athletes, there is so much more to this event than being just another high-level tournament for our team to experience.
In talking with many of our alums who are now playing professionally, they have mentioned that the international trips they went on while with TWU were incredibly formative in expanding their vision as to what it might look like to have a volleyball-playing career. These trips also serve to bring a bond amongst a group of athletes where they will forever reference the shared experience of learning a new culture and serving in adverse conditions.
While the on-court opportunities provide a unique and challenging experience for our team, I am equally as excited and thankful that our team will have the chance to interact with youth in Brazil, while spending time serving the Sao Paulo community and giving back to those who need improved shelter, food and clothing. There is no better way to get perspective on life than to get out of North America and see how life is lived in other parts of the world. There is much to learn from other cultures and traditions, so I am thankful that our team will gain this new perspective and I can’t wait to follow their journey to Brazil.
In an unprecedented opportunity, the three-time defending Canada West champion Trinity Western men's volleyball team will represent Canada this summer at the 2018 FISU America Games in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
With the Spartans set to compete in the first-ever edition of the FISU America Games, TWU will make history, while helping further the University’s already global brand.
The five-time national champion Spartans were selected to don the Maple Leaf in Sao Paulo after capturing back-to-back U SPORTS titles in 2016 and 2017. The honour is yet another mark of distinction for a TWU side that has been the gold standard for men’s volleyball in Canada over the last decade.
Under the guidance of renowned head coach Ben Josephson, the Spartans have built on the foundation of an already strong men’s volleyball legacy at TWU and taken the program to previously unseen heights. Over the last nine seasons, the Spartans have quite simply been unmatched in Canada’s ultra-competitive university men’s volleyball scene. TWU has played in the national championship final in seven of the last nine years, winning in 2011, 2012, 2016 and 2017. En route to those title game appearances, TWU has been nothing short of dominant within its own conference, playing in each of the last seven Canada West championship games, winning in 2012, 2016, 2017 and 2018.
Indeed, no program in the country can boast of those results over the last 10 years.
Now, TWU will get to bring its game to the world’s stage – an opportunity that will serve as another benchmark moment in the illustrious history of Spartan Athletics.
While the chance to play in Brazil and compete at the inaugural FISU America Games will be an entirely new experience for Trinity Western and the Spartans, this summer’s competition will in fact be the third time TWU has worn its country’s Red and White colours on an international stage. In 2012, the Spartans represented Canada at the U23 Pan American Cup, finishing fourth. In 2011, the team participated in the FIVB Club World Championship as Canada’s representative, finishing with one win from three matches, including a victory over Iranian professional side Paykan Tehran.
Now, TWU will once again get to take on some of the best volleyball-playing countries in the world, with the Spartans set to look square into the eyes of the likes of Brazil, USA and Argentina.
The FISU America Games, which will run from July 20th to 28th, is a Pan American branch of the FISU World University Games.