TODD ROGERS, one of the most famous beach volleyball players of all time, will be in action today when the 2013 NORCECA (North, Central America and the Caribbean) Beach Volleyball Tour serves off in the Cayman Islands.
The 39-year-old, nicknamed "The Professor", will be combining with fellow American Ryan Doherty in the three-day tournament, which also involves Daneil Williams and Simon Blake from Trinidad and Tobago.
Rogers will play alongside the 7-foot, 1-inch Doherty for the first time after blazing an amazing trail with Phil Dalhausser in the last few years.
The Americans won the gold medal at the World Championships in 2007 and proved it was no fluke by striking gold in Beijing, China, at the Olympic Games the year after.
However, Rogers and Dalhausser failed to defend the titles in both tournaments as they only claimed bronze at the 2009 Worlds and were eliminated in the round of 16 at the Olympics in London, England, last year.
The duo had finished as the top-ranked pair in the world the year before, when they completed a streak as leading male pair in the Association of Volleyball Professionals (the United States beach volleyball tour) for the fifth year in succession.
Rogers was also the best defensive player on the world tour for three straight years, from 2006, and was selected as Best Setter the year before this streak began.
Doherty and Rogers could receive their toughest challenge this weekend from defending champs Roberto Rodriguez and Eric Haddock.
The Puerto Ricans won two tournaments in last year's tour and Rodriguez, runner-up in the Cayman Islands two years ago, captured two other golds in the 11-leg circuit.
Williams and Fabian Whitfield picked up a bronze medal in the home leg of last year's series to become the first players from this country to ever secure a medal in a NORCECA competition.
But Whitfield is unable to travel to any NORCECA events for the next few months because of studies and Blake, who played in three events on last year's circuit, will play with Williams for the first time.
As a result of a lack of funding, the Trinidad and Tobago Volleyball Federation (TTVF) was unable to send a female pair to the Cayman Island, but there are 13 other legs in this year's circuit and, hopefully, the women will get their chance soon.
T&T is scheduled to host the 11th stage in mid-November, while the final two legs are expected to take place in Mexico in early December.
The second leg will be contested next weekend in Dominican Republic.