Like most countries, volleyball was introduced by Americans. In our case it is anticipated that it was introduced to Belize by Peace Corps volunteers in the 1960’s. It quickly became a popular especially in Belize City, soon followed by Orange Walk and Corozal. Many athletes played it as a second sport to Football and Basketball. Local competitions took place in many municipalities mostly by males. In the 1970’s the sport grew fast and went country wide with some teams even traveling to neighboring cities in Guatemala and Mexico to participate in competitions. Local associations also started to form in the 1970s. Females were also now becoming very involved. By the early and mid 1980s volleyball was played countrywide but especially in Cayo, Belmopan, Belize City, Orange Walk, and Corozal. A national association, Belize Volleyball Association (BVA), was formed in the early 1980s and become affiliated to the FIVB in 1984. Belize attended its first international tournaments with male and female teams at the 1990 Central American Games in Tegucigalpa, Honduras and has participated in every Central American Games since. In 1992, the first junior male team participated in Nicaragua. In 1994 the junior male team won the first international match for Belize against El Salvador. The first female junior team participated in Panama in 1996.
In 1998, Belize Men qualified to the Central American and Caribbean Games held in Maracaibo, Venezuela where in their first match they played the Cuban Men’s team who had just won the World League a month earlier. Belize lost to Cuba 15-2, 15-1, 15-2 which we are very proud of as many teams were beaten to zero points. We won our first medal by placing 2nd at the Central American Championship in 2000 in El Salvador. In 2012 and 2013, the Women’s national team qualified to the 3rd round of the World Championship Qualification System where they managed to travel to Curacao for the 3rd round tournament. In 2016, The Men’s National Team placed 3rd at home at the first hosting of a full size international tournament, World Championship Qualification tournament. In 2018, the Women’s team placed 2nd at Central American Championship held at home where a major triumph was beating Costa Rica, the perpetual undefeated Central American team since 1997.
Belize had very fast and strong growth in the 1990’s and since 2008, Belize has been very active locally and internationally, participating in almost every category of indoor and beach volleyball in Central America. The Belize City Division 1 tournament is the premier league which commenced in 1993. Presently the BVA has Cuban and local coaches training its 4 male and 4 female national teams (Under aged teams and senior teams). Presently there are local competitions for InterOffice, underaged groups, Division 2, and Division 1. Volleyball is also one of the major sports in Belize and there are national competitions at Primary School, Secondary School, and University (Tertiary Schools).
Beach Volleyball became popular in the early 1990s when an American Peace Corps and beach volleyball player introduced the local indoor players to the sport. Quickly local competitions were held country wide. In 1997, Belize won bronze at the Central American Games. Since then, Belize has participated in almost all regional competitions but has not managed to yet medal again. Belize male and females also participate in the NORCECA Continental Tour where Belize won its first victory in 2016 in Cayman Islands against Cayman Islands. In 2018, Belize females qualified to the Central American and Caribbean Games in Barranquilla, Columbia. The BVA has placed a lot more attention on beach volleyball with an improved local tour and more international tournament participation.
With its development system, BVA also boasts an international volleyball referee and an international beach volleyball referee. The beach referee has refereed on the FIVB Tour and NORCECA Tour. We have many young coaches with FIVB Level 1 coaches certification who work with schools and clubs.
Belize presently hosts one regional international competition per year and participates in at least 4 international volleyball tournaments per year and 4 international beach volleyball tournaments per year.