Cardarelli: AAU experience is invaluable to Irish U18s
Ireland's Under-18 Women's squad return to the USA this summer to participate in a number of AAU tournaments following the successful trip of 2009.
The Irish will once again be in good hands with vastly experienced coach Bill Cardarelli taking charge of the squad for the two-week tour.
Cardarelli's impressive CV includes a head coaching role at the famous St Joseph's College, while he was assistant to the men's team at the University of Connecticut. Bill has a long association with Ireland and is a former assistant coach for the senior women's national team. In 2004, he was an inductee into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame.
In 2009, he marshaled the Irish U18s for their last visit to the US, and he believes their latest excursion to Penn State will provide invaluable experience. "If it is anything like 2009 then the team is in for a special experience," said Cardarelli.
"The players get exposure to playing in AAU tournaments and a chance to work with American coaches. The trip also gives the squad a chance to bond. The opportunity is similar to playing in the Europeans with so many games in such a short space of time.
"The schedule is very tough and players will be pretty tired but they get so much out of the experience," he added. "I have seen players last year improving and they are responding to playing and training to a strict schedule."
On top of the basketball, the players are proving quite a hit with the locals with the Irish-American relationship proving as strong as ever.
"They are treated like rock stars," added Cardarelli. "Everyone wanted to talk to the Irish kids last year, which I suppose is no surprise given they estimate that around 50 million Americans have Irish heritage. One of the main reasons I'm involved is down to how well the players represent themselves and their country when they are abroad." The AAU Tournament was established in 1888 and now caters to over 30,000 age division events. AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) is one of the largest, non-profit, volunteer, sports organisations in the United States. The U18 Women's squad can be followed on Twitter and Facebook as well as YouTube for updates during the tournament.
IRISH UNDER 18 WOMEN'S SQUAD
U18 Girls Coaching Staff: Bill Carderelli (head coach), Jenny Coady and Lisa Kenny (assistant coaches).
Emma Tarbett (Meteors), Clodagh Scannell (Glanmire), Rebecca O'Keeffe (Tolka Rovers), Eimear Browne (Meteors), Siobhain Power (Waterford Wildcats), Casey Grace (Glanmire), Stephanie O'Sullivan (Glanmire), Leah Cunningham (Moycullen), Ciara Newell (Claregalway), Catriona Foley (Maree), Rheanne O'Shea (St Paul's, Killarney), Laura Moloney (St Paul's, Killarney), Karen Meany (Meteors), Caoimhe Colgan (Tyrone Towers), Tessa Solan (Meteors), Helena Rohan (Waterford Wildcats).
Reserve: Alison Keech (Drimnagh Dynamos).
Coach in Training Programme: Jade Daly (Killester).