Local volleyball ref in global spotlight

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ST. THOMAS - The Virgin Islands have been well represented on the international and NCAA levels in volleyball in recent years. St. Thomas native Megan Hodge won a silver medal at the 2012 London Olympics with the U.S. national team after a stellar All-American career at Penn State, and former Antilles School graduate Danielle Selkridge was named last year's NCAA Division II Player of the Year as a senior at the University of Tampa.

Add referee Kirt Williams to the list of rising volleyball stars with ties to St. Thomas. Williams will be representing the V.I. as the territory's first international official beginning this year.

The 40-year-old, who moved to St. Thomas in 2001, received a Federation Internationale De Volleyball certificate in November after a referee course in Salta, Argentina.

Williams will receive his international badge if he performs well during his first three matches at the international level.

"I first want to thank Lucille Hobson and the Virgin Islands for giving me the opportunity to represent the territory as an international volleyball referee," Williams said.

Hobson is the president of the V.I. Volleyball Federation and asked Williams to attend the course in Argentina.

"It was a very valuable experience to meet all these people from different cultures," Williams said.

Williams proved his dedication to the sport as a former coach at both Ss. Peter & Paul and All Saints Cathedral schools. He started his officiating career in 2007 and has overseen high school games and junior national tournaments.

He will be a regular at the Caribbean Volleyball Championships and North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation (NORCECA) events.

"The goal is to be at the Olympics and World Cups," Williams said. "I'm a third of the way. As I was told in Argentina, my work has just begun. Now I'm 40 and I need to work harder."

Williams expects to begin traveling with the V.I. women's national team in April. Each match he officiates will be reviewed by a FIVB committee.

Williams was introduced to the sport on St. Kitts by Glenn Quinlan, president of the Eastern Caribbean Volleyball Association and NORCECA vice president. Williams played volleyball and is a former assistant coach for the St. Kitts men's national team under Quinlan.

"He basically taught me from the start everything I know," Williams said.

Williams also expressed gratitude toward the V.I. high school volleyball coaches and officials.

- Contact Tim Chapman at 714-9102 or tchapman@dailynews.vi.

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