A professional volleyball player has many options of where in
the world they want to compete to earn money these days.
After graduating college and depending on your talent, international
experience and playing ability, an indoor professional volleyball
player can be invited to play in a very faraway place like Russia or be
recruited to play in a locale that's a lot closer like Puerto Rico.
Both places offer the possibility of earning more than a decent salary.
With the growth of volleyball and the continued
and organization of the sport, many different countries have organized
national professional leagues that allow a specific number of
foreign players to be recruited and paid to play with the best
Ideally, a professional volleyball player should get paid a decent
salary which can be based on a number of elements including their
national team experience, international playing experience,
popularity, and their volleyball agent or manager's ability to promote
them internationally and to negotiate a good deal with a good team
that will honor the terms of the contract.
Usually the volleyball federation that is in the country where a
professional volleyball player calls home, gets paid a fee for the "loan"
of that player to the team they plan to play for.
The better and more well known the player is, the higher the fee their
national federation can request as payment for the loan of that player
to another country.
So, for example a professional volleyball player that just graduated
from college is lucky enough to find a team to play for professionally in
Puerto Rico, her "transfer" fee would probably be less than an Olympic
professional volleyball team.
This is because an Olympic volleyball player will play in front of a
worldwide crowd thanks to televised matches and thanks to the fact
that in many countries, volleyball is so popular that their local, national
and international matches are televised more than many of the
football, baseball, basketball and hockey matches are here in the
International and Olympic volleyball players, both male and
female are extremely popular in many countries outside of the United
Top international players like USA's Kim Hill and China's Ting Zhu along
with several others play for Vakifbank Sporting Volleyball Club one of
the top women's volleyball clubs in the world. (2016)
USA's Kim Hill and teammate Serbian professional volleyball player
superstar middle blocker Milena Rasic appear on Turkish TV for an
Pro player Milena Rasic is interviewed on Turkish TV
Many have more fans than the NBA players here in the US, and they are
treated with the same level of hero worship that fans treat celebrities,
because they are considered sports celebrities in many countries
around the world.
Here's another example, three-time Olympian Paula Weishoff and I were
professional volleyball players playing on the Braglia Cucine
Reggio Emilia team in Italy.
I was a member of the US National Volleyball Team but Paula (now a
three-time Olympic player and one-time Olympic assistant coach) was
not only a Most Valuable Player in the 1984 Olympics but she had played
in two more of them.
Among American professional volleyball players, because of her
incredible athletic resume' Paula has had one of the
more expensive transfer fees that foreign teams have had to pay in
order for her to play professional volleyball in their country.
Recently the FIVB has made several changes to the "transfer" process
where now everything is done online instead of the traditional way of
doing everything on paper.
I remember that when I went to Italy each year I had to travel with all
these copies of all these federation and transfer papers to give to the
president and/or managers of the team I was going to play for.
Also, the FIVB will be the governing body of all transfers between
National Federations inside their Confederation.
For an American who's a professional volleyball player who wants
to start the online international transfer procedure, contact the best
person ever...USA Volleyball Manager of International Programs Carla
Hall at Carla.Hall@usav.org to request a username and password.
In my opinion, Carla Hall has to be one of the most well-informed people
when it comes to helping and assisting US volleyball players
who want to play professional volleyball abroad.
She helped me with all my transfers requests...from my first to my last.
I will always be grateful to Carla Hall.
For more information on the international transfer process check out:
The contract for a professional volleyball player will usually include a
salary and living quarters which depending on how well a team knows
you or how good an agent/manager you have, can be negotiated so
that you share a place or have an apartment or house of your own.
I was a professional volleyball player in Italy for quite a while so I
was given my own apartment, my own house and I've shared a place
with one of my teammates, for use during the season I was contracted
I was also given the use of a car by the teams I played for.
My first year, thanks to professional volleyball player Elaine Roque I
played in Parma, Italy.
She called me to take her place on her team in Parma since she was
ready to come back to the United States.
I shared an apartment with UCLA middle blocker Merja Connolly.
After several years of living and playing in Italy and with the help of my
Italian fiance at the time, when I took the place of Peruvian Olympian
and Volleyball Hall of Fame Inductee Cecilia Tait on the Reggio Emilia
team to be the other foreigner along with three-time Olympian Paula
Weishoff, I had a huge apartment that had a lot of American amenities.
Of course our team's sponsor at the time was Braglia Cucine. "Cucine"
means kitchen in Italian, so you can imagine that I was blessed with
being given a large kitchen.
Depending on the country, the team, the sponsor and your agent,
a professional volleyball players usually will have the use of a car
included in the contract.
According to World of Volley in 2016 the top female professional
volleyball players were:
Yeon-Koung Kim KOR Fenerbahce TUR 1,2M €
Tatyana Kosheleva RUS Eczacibasi TUR 1M €
Milena Rašić SRB Vakifbank TUR 350.000€
Sheilla Castro BRA .... 500.000€
Jordan Larson USA Eczacibasi TUR 1M €
Zhu Ting CHN Vakifbank TUR 1,1M € (the entire transfer)
In 2014 American Kim Hill played in Poland for Atom Trefl Sopot. Check
out this full interview segment done on one of their top TV stations.
Unless a pro volleyball player's
apartment is next door or close
to the gym, a car is needed to get to and from practice, shopping,
travelling to the airport and regular trips around town.
Professional volleyball players will live and compete for seven to
nine months out of the year in a foreign country. I've known many
players who embraced the fact that they had a chance to learn a new
language, a new culture and an opportunity to see the United States
the way other people see it, from outside of the country.
I know other pro volleyball players who were homesick and snuck off
and left their team before their contract was up.
That wasn't always the case but sometimes it happened.
Pro volleyball players are required to help their team win. That may
take learning the culture, getting to know your teammates by speaking
in sign language or some kind of hybrid English until your coach, the
players and you understand each other.
That may take you playing in a volleyball position you've never played
before, but it definitely takes a person who is unafraid to step up into a
A professional volleyball player plays for money and not just for the
glory like they are used to doing in college.
What you do off the court, in your free time can become of interest to
the team organization, team fans and the city journalists and
gossipmongers who need to know what the local celebrities are doing,
because now, you are considered a local celebrity.
If your team is on a losing streak and as a "professional" volleyball player
you were seen partying in the pub on a regular basis the week before,
you can best believe that your actions may have an effect on whether
you get paid or not.
"Guaranteed" contracts are honored in the United States, but for a
professional volleyball players playing abroad, that isnt always the case.
As long as a professional volleyball player conducts themselves
professionally, without giving the locals too many "off-the-court" things to
talk about, then usually things go well.
The name of the game is to win.
Often a professional volleyball player is treated like a celebrity and
frequently interviewed by the national television stations in the
countries they play for.
Watch how much European fans love volleyball in these two Kim Hill
interviews immediately after her Turkish Vakifbank team won the 2017
European (CEV) Championship!
In 2013, there were 173 female and 78 male Americans playing in
professional volleyball leagues worldwide.
Where in the world are the females playing? USA Volleyball reports that
24 females are in Switzerland, 23 females in Germany, 18 females in
France, 10 in Austria, 9 American men in Sweden, 8 men in Greece, 5
females and 4 males in Italy and 14 in Azerbaijian.
For the 2013-2014 season, American women are playing in 30 different
countries, while American men are playing in 23 different countries.
China, Japan, Brazil, Turkey and the new "hot" place Azerbaijian.
Find out where in the world the American volleyball players are
playing on the USA Volleyball website.
Then come back and submit your story on your experience as a
professional volleyball player below.
Are you a professional volleyball player or do you have a great story about any inspiring professional volleyball players?
Here's a place to share it!
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