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Costa Mesa, Calif. April 9, 2015 – The AVP (Association of Volleyball Professionals) Pro Beach Volleyball Tour has announced that it will expand its AVPNext developmental competition series in 2015, and will offer the men’s and women’s winners from eight regions across the country automatic entry into the AVP’s Manhattan Beach open, the longest-running and most prestigious professional beach volleyball tournament in the world.

Competition in the Southeast zone, which consists of Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia will begin Saturday with a tournament at Capt’n Bill’s Backyard Grill & Volleyball Facility in Wilmington, NC. AVPNext has partnered with three local organizations in the Southeast – Wilmington Volleyball, Rally Volleyball and Florida Beach Volleyball Tour – which will operate the 11 Southeast AVPNext events.

The 2015 AVPNext series schedule currently includes 53 tournaments with more likely to be added in the coming months. There are currently 11 events scheduled for the Southeast zone:

Date(s)                                 City                                                        Venue                                                                                                                                                      

April 11                                 Wilmington, NC                                                Capt’n Bill’s Backyard Grill & Volleyball Facility

May 9                                    Emerson, GA                                     Rally Volleyball at LakePoint Sports Complex

May 16                                 Wilmington, NC                                                Capt’n Bill’s Backyard Grill & Volleyball Facility

May 23                                 Ft. Lauderdale, FL                            Ft. Lauderdale Beach Courts

May 30                                 Pompano Beach, FL                        North side of Pier

June 6                                   Emerson, GA                                     Rally Volleyball at LakePoint Sports Complex

June 13                                 Siesta Key, FL                                     Siesta Key Beach Courts

June 20                                 Wilmington, NC                                                Capt’n Bill’s Backyard Grill & Volleyball Facility

June 27                                 Ft. Lauderdale, FL                            Ft. Lauderdale Beach Courts

July 4                                     Emerson, GA                                     Rally Volleyball at LakePoint Sports Complex

July 18                                   Pompano Beach, FL                        North side of Pier

Interested players can register for the Southeast zone events at www.wilmingtonvolleyball.com (Wilmington, NC), www.rallyvb.com (Emerson, GA), and www.flbeachvolleyball.net (Florida). For more information on AVPNext, and scheduling and registration for the national series, visit www.avpnext.avp.com or search “AVPNext” on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

AVPNext is the official developmental program for the AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour. The series was reignited in 2014 as a way to identify and develop the next generation of beach volleyball stars.

“With AVPNext, our goal is to create a pipeline to the AVP for the beach volleyball stars of tomorrow,” said AVP Managing Partner Donald Sun. “We recognize that there is a passion for beach volleyball that extends far beyond the beaches of Southern California, and there are great players all across the country looking for their chance to compete against the best players on the beach. AVPNext creates a clear path to that opportunity by creating structured tournaments in all regions of the U.S. and a way for athletes to play their way into not only an AVP tournament, but the one tournament that every beach volleyball player dreams of winning.”

Competition is scheduled to take place from March through August in cities and towns across the country, with the U.S. divided into eight zones. Within each zone, at least five certified AVPNext tournaments will be held. Teams will earn AVP national volleyball player ranking points based on their performance in each tournament, and the men’s and women’s teams from each zone with the highest point totals at the completion of their tournament series will win berths in the main draw of the Manhattan Beach Open in mid August.

The program was restarted in 2014 and awarded the top teams from each region a berth in the AVPNext Championship Cup, from which the winning men’s and women’s teams advanced to the main draw of the season-ending Huntington Beach Open. The change in format this season gives teams more to play for, and rewards regular participation throughout the spring and summer.

In addition, playing in AVPNext tournaments will help players build points that aid with their seeding should they want to enter an open qualifying tournament at an AVP event. The winning team at an AVPNext event will receive 190 points, the equivalent of what would be earned with a 17th-place finish at an AVP tournament.

“We were pleased with the initial returns from our involvement with AVPNext last season, but we have listened to the input of players across the country and made some adjustments,” Sun said. “The changes should encourage players in all regions to compete in more tournaments, and that can only be a positive in terms of improving the level of play and helping the absolute best players rise to the top in their quest to secure spots in the Manhattan Beach Open.”

Teams of all skill levels can join tournaments in their zones across the country. Entrants must be at least 14 years old and an AVPNext member. Each region will crown a winner based on the format dictated prior to the start of the series.

ABOUT THE AVP

Established in 1983, the AVP (Association of Volleyball Professionals) produces, markets and distributes volleyball events worldwide, including the popular AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour. While promoting family-oriented events and supporting a healthy lifestyle, the AVP is best known for its world-class athletes, who have won numerous Gold, Silver and Bronze medals in the Olympic games. The AVP’s headquarters are in Costa Mesa, Calif.

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