COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The 2016 FIVB World Tour resumes next week with the Kish Island Open in Iran. USA athletes are expected to begin their season in two weeks’ time at the Maceio Open in Brazil.

As athletes prep for the final leg of Olympic qualification, the FIVB named the 16 beach volleyball referees that have been selected for the 2016 Olympic Games. From the U.S., Dan Apol was selected as one of the beach referees. The makeup of the referee pool contains individuals from all five continents, two women and the host nation, Brazil, the only country represented twice.

American athletes will make their 2016 FIVB debut with most playing in a three-event swing through Brazil. Beginning with the Maceio Open (Feb. 23-28), four men’s teams and six women’s teams are tabbed for the event – headlined by Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena.

In the first Grand Slam of the 2016 calendar year, U.S. point leaders Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson join the list of six men’s teams, and contenders Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross debut among six women’s teams. The last time Walsh Jennings/Ross played was Sept. 5, 2015 at the FIVB Rio Open, where they tied for ninth.

Wrapping up the four weeks in Brazil is the March 15-20 Vitoria Open.

With over 55 events still on the 2016 schedule, the Junior Beach Tour will hit 23 states this year before concluding at the Championships in Milwaukee. Following that, a marquee event will be the West Coast Championships, being held the week following the Olympic Games and concurrent with the FIVB Long Beach Grand Slam where most of the Olympic athletes are expected to play.

The AVP finalized it’s 2016 schedule, announcing eight total stops which includes hosting the FIVB Cincinnati Open, points at this event will count toward Olympic qualification. Beginning in April, the AVP will head back to New Orleans (14-17) before two May events in Huntington Beach (5-8) and Cincinnati (16-21). Three events are set for June, starting with Seattle (2-5), New York City (16-19) and San Francisco (23-26). Manhattan Beach will finish the summer months in July (14-17) and the Tour finale will take place in Chicago in September (1-4).

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