For Ryan Ammerman, playing in the FIVB World Championship NORCECA Qualifying Tournament at the Olympic Training Center is like coming home.
The 6-9 setter is happy to be in Colorado Springs for the four-day tournament as he helps the Team USA men work to secure a berth in the world volleyball championship. His mother's family is from Centennial, so Ammerman attended Chaparral High School in Parker.
Nearly a dozen family members have been on-hand to support him at the OTC.
"I love being back in Colorado," said Ammerman, who was part of UC Irvine's 2009 NCAA championship team. "I usually only get to come back for two or three days every summer, so it's cool to be back here. I don't get to see my family very often, and they were able to come out to the match (on Friday), and they'll probably come see a few more."
Ammerman's mother, Maria, played volleyball at the University of Alaska-Anchorage, and his father, Brett, played club volleyball at Purdue. The oldest of eight children, Ryan's siblings are also accomplished in the sport.
His brother, Dalton, played at Long Beach State and is preparing to begin his own pro career. His sister, Sarah, played at Texas A&M.
Ammerman played for the Colorado Gold club team in high school since boys' volleyball is not a sanctioned sport in Colorado. He helped that team finish second at the 2003 USAV boys' junior national championships.
Born in Anchorage, Alaska, Ammerman was a first-team All-American during UC Irvine's national title season and was named most outstanding player at the NCAA Tournament. He has been playing abroad when he's not representing the United States at international competitions.
"I feel great," he said. "To be here with this team and these guys is great. This tournament is a nice stepping stone, and I'm happy to be here competing with some of the best players in America.
"I'm very fortunate to be a part of this."
Ammerman will have a busy summer, playing a match against Russia in California, as well as tournaments in Bulgaria, Serbia and Italy.
Like the rest of the players at the OTC, Ammerman is gunning for a spot on his country's world championship team and would love to play in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
"This is basically a tryout for later in the summer," he said of the tournament. "So, you just go out there and do your best, and hopefully your best is good enough."
Ammerman and the U.S. team dispatched Guatemala Friday 25-12, 25-14, 25-16.