The 2018 August Firesale was another huge success with 9 tryouts, 8 player contract offers in 9 different countries. Check the final placement results and player reflections here.
- Jen Hamson, BYU; Wiesbaden, Germany
- Rachel Cox, University of Rhode Island; Korinthos, Greece
- Ashlyn MacGregor, University of Maryland; Gislaved, Sweden
- Katie Huff, Arkansas Tech; Szombathely, Hungary
- Stephanie Lojen, University of Montreal; Szombathely, Hungary
- Arianna Person, Belmont University; Prerov, Czech Republic
- Samantha Cash, Pepperdine University; Linz, Austria
- Skylar German, Post University; Gerlafingen, Switzerland
- Brie Lewis, Belmont University; Luxembourg
- Jesse Earl, Auburn University; Newcastle University
- Alyssa Cavanaugh, Western Kentucky, Northumbria University
- Czech Republic
Coaches at Dras:
- David Goodchild; Head Coach NorthUmbria University/England Senior Head Volleyball Coach
- Yusuf Nahum; Turkish BIP partner
- Marton; Vasas, Hungary
- Teemu; Nitra, Slovakia
- Roland; Linz, Austria …
- Alessandro Chiappini, SLO WNT and Krakow, PL
- Luca Chiappini; Filottrano, ITA
- OK Formis, Slovenia
- Samo; NOVA KBM Maribor
- Giannis Athanasopolous; Stuttgart, Germany
- Svetlana Ilic; Austrian WNT
Rachel Cox, University of Rhode Island
I have been living in Greece for about three weeks, and I am so happy! This is such an amazing and unique opportunity to be able to travel the world and keep playing volleyball; my two biggest dreams wrapped into one. I am so thankful to Bring It for finding me a job. My experiences with Bring It have been so positive overall.
I was fortunate enough to attend both the January Exposure Tour in 2018, and the August Firesale. The Exposure Tour was excellent because I got to experience a taste of what it would be like to be playing in a completely new environment, and it let me test out if I thought the opportunity was for me. It was also perfect for Bring It to assess my skill and personality and make that same judgement. Luckily, it was for me, but I can say with complete confidence that even if I found it wasn’t my speed, it would have been an excellent experience. It’s perfect for those who aren’t sure, and it’s so much fun even if you decide against playing overseas!
During the Firesale, it was a little stressful, but in the fun, exhilarating way. The first few days are perfect for shaking off rust and adjusting to time changes and jet lag, and after that things start to happen very quickly. Nick and Sarah were very open with everyone from the start and keep everyone in the loop. This can seem very intimidating, but it’s good because there are so many moving pieces; one person can make a decision and everything shifts so there are new opportunities for others.
Ashlyn MacGregor, University of Maryland
I played college volleyball for four years, one year in the ACC and three years in the Big Ten. I graduated college and spent the next year working. After a year in the “real world” and without volleyball, I realized how much I missed playing. I began looking for options that would allow me to continue playing, I finally came across the Women’s August Firesale and decided to take a shot at playing professionally overseas. I put some film together and bought my plane ticket. Next thing I knew, I was in Slovenia (my first time ever being outside of the US).
We spent the next 10 days playing volleyball trying to get jobs. We had the opportunity to have a couple pro coaches coach a few of our practices. I really liked that because it gave you a small taste of what you might encounter if you got a job. We played a lot of volleyball, but there was plenty of time go explore the city. They even took us to a local winery one night!
I ended up signing a contract to play in Sweden. I have been in Sweden for three weeks now and I love it! I’m super happy and thankful I got to participate in the Firesale because I wouldn’t be playing volleyball in Sweden today if I hadn’t.
Stephanie Lojen, University of Montreal
Ask anyone who knows just a little about playing professional volleyball overseas and they will tell how difficult it is to make it as a libero. Actually, they will tell you without you even asking. So as a french Canadian libero who had just finished university and never played on the international scene before, I knew my chances at finding a contract were very slim. The only thing I had going for me was my European citizenship (thanks Dad!)
After three months with an agent based in France and personally reaching out to many, many teams with little to no result, I came to the realization that I needed to switch strategies. I needed to be where the opportunities to play pro were and that wasn’t in Canada. I switched to BIP and signed up for the August Firesale Tour in Maribor, Slovenia.
Truth is, there’s only so much emails and highlight videos can do. Coaches need to see you in live action and to be assured that you’re willing to move away from home to play volleyball. By signing up for the Firesale Tour, I was putting myself in the position to do just that.
So I walked into the tour fully aware that this was probably my last shot at finding a pro contract for the upcoming season and that my chances of receiving an offer weren’t the best. During our meeting on the first night, Nick actually mentioned that the only position teams were NOT looking to fill was for liberos. Great.
I was fully prepared to play volleyball for ten days and then be sent home empty handed. Prepare for the worst, hope for the best as they say… But I also entered the tour with the mindset of having the best experience possible, connecting with other players and giving my all for each and every session. Then if nothing came out of it, I would have the peace of mind of knowing that I did everything I needed to do to achieve my goal of playing pro. And worst case scenario, I would have spent ten days in Europe playing the sport that I love. Doesn’t sound too bad, does it?
The first three practices were meant for all 15 of us to get used to playing with each other and de-rusting our skills. Afterwards, coaches were invited to watch our training sessions and games.
In our first week, we had two games scheduled: the first one amongst our own team and the second one on the fourth day against the Austrian national team, who happened to also be training at DRAS Center. Both those games were also live streamed on BIP’s Facebook page for coaches who couldn’t make it to Maribor.
After our game against Team Austria, I was pulled aside by Nick who told me that coaches and the manager from Haladas, a club based in a small city named Szombathely in Hungary, were interested in talking to me and wanted to have me tryout for the team. You can imagine how excited I was! At the end of my discussion with the coaches, we agreed that a driver and member of the staff would pick me up the following day for the two-hour drive from Maribor to Szombathely.
After my meeting with the Haladas coaches and manager, Sarah and Nick were extremely helpful by explaining to me what to expect during the tryout period. It was mostly meant to see if the club was the right fit, if I got along with the other players and if I could see myself living in Szombathely for eight months. After a week and a half that involved a lot of running, fitness training and practices, I was told that I would get to stay with the team!
It might feel daunting to fly to another country and not know what will happen next. I know that’s how I felt at times before leaving for the tour. However, Nick and Sarah are always available if you have any questions and even after you’re gone with your new team, they’re just an email or phone call away. You can also be assured that they’re doing their best to help you find the right team for you and make sure that you’re getting the exposure you need.
My advice to anybody who’s thinking of joining the Firesale Tour would be to dive in with a «nothing to lose» mentality and to seize the opportunity to be seen by coaches. Keep an open mind and get comfortable with the idea of not knowing where you’ll be next week or the next day. You’re there to do what you do best and what you love most.
It’s only been a month since I started living abroad and it has already been such an eye-opening experience that would not have been possible without the help of BIP.