With summer just around the corner, Sports Gazette got in touch with professional volleyball player Chloe Collins to give you an insight into what it takes to be an expert in the sport and the difference between playing in America and Europe.
Collins started playing volleyball in the States before deciding to come to Europe to further her career.
When she got to Europe, she played first in Spain before moving to Finland.
She is a two-time All-American at Texas (2016 & 2015) and a four-time NCAA Women’s Volleyball Championship finalist but she still expresses her sadness that she didn’t win it all.
Recalling her early days in the sport, she acknowledged not being very good, and the huge influence her mum had on her.
“I began playing volleyball when I was eight years old,” she said.
“Initially I was a cheerleader before I started playing, but my mom had other intentions for my future.
“She was really keen on me picking another sport. I was terrible (at volleyball). My parents and coaches could see my potential however, I was still in the mindset of being a girly-girl and not worried about winning or losing.
“I continued to stick with volleyball because despite being a girly-girl, I enjoyed playing and over time, I developed a completive attitude.”
Having also been ranked fourth in assists at Texas with 3,687, a three-time All-Big12 First Team and part of the USA Youth National Volleyball team that competed in Turkey at the World Championships in 2012, Collins looked back at her time at Texas with fond memories but a new chapter in her career was about to begin.
She made the decision to come to Europe to turn professional and has competed in both Spain and Finland but said volleyball in Europe is quite different from in the States.
“It’s completely different. In the States, we don’t have a professional league of any sort. So coming from playing at an amateur level to playing professionally was a huge change.
“The level of play is different. It changes depending on which country you’re playing in. But I think the biggest difference was playing on a pro level.”
Collins said she would also like to branch out and play volleyball in other countries in an effort to expand her already impressive resume.
“I’d love to go to Greece,” she said. “It’s a beautiful country I hope to visit one day.”
Despite being extremely sporting herself, Collins confessed sport runs in the family.
She said: “Both of my parents competed in team sport (basketball). My brother played American football at a collegiate Division 1 school.
“Consistently being surrounded by people who love all sports really drove me to continue playing volleyball and have my own niche.
“I can’t speak for other sports, but to me it stands out because it’s the best sport in the world.
“Anyone who wants to start playing volleyball, I’d advise to just go out and have fun!
“Anything you do should be fun and done with passion.”
Thankfully, Collins isn’t done just yet.
She is currently playing volleyball and enjoying life in Finland but after that, she hopes to come to the UK to study a masters degree in an effort to continue her education after graduating from the University of Texas at Austin with a BS in Communication Studies in 2016.
Featured image courtesy of texassports.com