The journey of a lifetime!
I got in contact with Sandra through my German coach Tom who knew, I wanted to combine volleyball and education. Sandra (VolleyUSA) helped me throughout the recruiting process and was a big help with the different tests and formulars that are necessary for NCAA volleyball. She really helped me find the right place for me.
I arrived in Long Beach in fall 2017 with clear goals about volleyball improvement but had no idea that the biggest improvement would be my personal development. I remember moving into the dorms not knowing anybody from my team to a new country that was different, in many ways, to the life I had in Middelfart, Denmark. In the first couple of weeks, every way that I had played volleyball before got changed but I loved the new challenges that you as a student athlete get to face every day. I quickly got to learn my new teammates and had some of my fondest memories finding new ways to get better on and off the court with them. We had amazing facilities at the university so coming in at 6 am for some agility training from our strength coach, or getting into an ice bath tube after practices made it a lot easier to find ways to get better. We ended up winning the championship my freshmen year which became a time filled with unreal experiences and set the motivation for more to come.
I moved out of the dorms in my sophomore year really got to know the local community in Long Beach. I continued exploring different places with my teammates in fall, where we had off-season. Halloween and Thanksgiving was a special experience that was celebrated like I had never seen back home in Denmark. My teammates and friends really took me in as another family member which created some very strong bonds. Being a part of the Long Beach community brought something new every week. as I had never been to a college water polo or basketball match before, and of course supporting our women’s program was always a great time in fall. Also, the alum community was amazing as they filled the Pyramid week after week making a big difference in our journeys to the national championship. In our second run for the title the final match was played at Long Beach and the pyramid was packed. A match that will for sure stand out in my volleyball career as it was such an intoxicating feeling that showed me that all the hard work really did pay off in the end.
My junior year brought a whole new set of challenges as school got very busy and I had to play a new position as opposite for most of the season. Here our team culture of supporting each other and being comfortable in the uncomfortable made it much easier to get up and grind every day. It also helped that the beach was 10 minutes away. When choosing a college, I would recommend to think about the place and not only volleyball or study level, as you will spend a lot of time off the court.
Later that year, we were getting ready in our morning serv and pass for an evening match as our coach stopped the practice and said we were going in quarantine because of Covid. Covid ended up effecting our team for a long time and my senior season came while we still couldn’t enter campus. Being one of the older guys on the team and team captain I had a lot of responsibility to make sure we got ready for the season without our coaches. This challenge developed a lot of skills that I will take with me after my volleyball career that I am so grateful for now. Our team put all the effort we possibly could in that season and even though we didn’t reach our goal on court it seemed ok as I had no regrets after.
After 4 years I finished an Applied Mathematics in Finance degree at Long Beach and now play professional volleyball in Belgium while getting a masters in Economy. I had some unforgettable volleyball seasons and made friends for life. I faced a lot of challenges that taught me so many lessons off and on court. If you have the opportunity, take it! Long Beach truly became my second home.
Thank you Sandra and VolleyUSA!