About 300 players are expected from across the country, including Maryland, Washington, D.C., New Jersey and New York, with six teams from Philadelphia.
Teams will compete in pool play from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Aug. 10, and double elimination will begin at 8 a.m. Aug. 11.
Event director Martha Leshire, based in New Orleans, has been involved with NAGVA for 20 years. The association has approximately 4,000 members and regularly hosts three-day tournaments.
This event is the first spearheaded by NAGVA and under this name, Leshire said.
She said the tournament was created to allow LGBT volleyballers to make connections throughout the sport, and is especially meant for those in areas without an established LGBT volleyball league.
“The premise is friendship and we play a little volleyball,” she said. “I run other volleyball tournaments and wanted to start running events where they didn’t have them. We went across the country picking cities that didn’t have events that should have them. We picked Philly, Fort Lauderdale, Nashville, Kansas and Hawaii.”
Team Philadelphia chair Bob Szwajkos hopes the tournament brings momentum to organize a volleyball league in Philadelphia, especially in time for players to compete in the Gay Games in Cleveland next year.
Leshire said players of all levels and genders were welcome to sign up to play in the tournament and noted that the tournaments usually draw participation from a diverse group including everyone from post-collegiate players to beginners, as well as both LGBT and straight players.
“The higher divisions tend to be very competitive so it will drive ex-collegiate volleyball players in if it is close to their region,” Leshire said. “It is predominately a men’s classic, however we do have female teams as well. You don’t have to be gay to play; we’ve had straight individuals sign up just so they could play the sport.”
While regstration is full, spectators are welcome to watch the tournament for free.
There will be a registration party from 7-10 p.m. Aug. 9 at ICandy, 254 S. 12th St., and a seeding party from 7-10 p.m. Aug. 10 at Woody’s Bar, 202 S. 13th St.
For more information on the tournament, visit www.love.phillyvolleyball.org.