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Long Beach to host men's qualification

The U.S. men's national volleyball team will have home-country advantage in May when Long Beach, Calif., hosts the NORCECA Olympic qualification tournament.

The winner of the eight-team event at the Walter Pyramid will earn a spot in the London Olympics this summer.

"We don't get many opportunities to see our teams play in the United States. Not only are they here in front of our U.S. fans, but with an event that will give them a chance to earn a spot in the London Olympics," USA Volleyball CEO Doug Beal said in a prepared statement Friday. "It just doesn't get any better."

It is the first time the NORCECA Men's Continental Olympic qualification tournament has been held in the United States. The other teams competing in the event May 7-12 will be Cuba, Mexico, Canada, Puerto Rico, Trinidad & Tobago, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic.

NORCECA is the North America, Central America and Caribbean volleyball confederation, representing 35 countries. The confederation stages the continental championships for men's and women's indoor volleyball, as well as beach volleyball. It also holds the Olympic and world championship zone qualification tournaments.

Twelve men's teams will play in the London Olympics. Great Britain has a berth as the Olympics host, and Russia, Poland and Brazil qualified with the top finishes in last year's FIVB World Cup.

The defending Olympic champion U.S. national team is looking to qualify for its seventh straight Olympics. The men are ranked sixth in the world.