It seems Kerri Walsh Jennings let the cat out of the bag in speaking with a group of high school players at the AVCA Convention over the weekend. Walsh Jennings was sharing her hopes for the future of the Under Armour High School All-Americans she was speaking with and dropped the news that she is helping launch a new beach volleyball tour in 2018.
“My personal mission is to grow the game on the beach side,” she told the first team All-Americans in the video shared by FloVolleyball. “We are launching a professional tour in 2018 that I would love for you guys to be a part of when you are ready. It is so exciting to me. Right now our sport is a hobby, but it is the most beautiful hobby in the world and my job is to make it a true profession for the athletes and for you girls when you come out.”
After the session, the FloVolleyball Staff, who was in attendance, apparently followed up with Walsh, who seemed a little coy at first before sharing what she could about her hopes and dreams for the new tour and for herself.
“Did I say that out loud? Ya, you know we are launching a tour in 2018. There is a lot I can’t share with you but there are some things that I can. That is very real. The whole purpose of it is to elevate the game into a true profession. Our sport is largely underserved in the professional arena. And last year I went to the NCAA Championship in Gulf Shores and I watched these girls who are so well trained on the beach and I see these girls playing indoor this weekend and I want to give these girls a home. I want to give them a true career. And the current situation status quo is that it is a hobby, it is not a profession. So the purpose of the tour that we are coming out with is to elevate the game on all levels and to broaden the reach and the scope of our sport, so that we can introduce it to the world on the highest level possible. And I want to compete on it and I want to dominate. And I want to win in Toyko.”
Walsh Jennings also added that the group is working with USA Volleyball, the FIVB and the college ranks to be collaborative and do what is best for the players.
“We want to be friendly with all of the powers that be. We certainly want to collaborate with USAV, and we have had some really great meetings. We have been talking really closely with FIVB. We want to put the players in the best position to rise and to thrive. We don’t want to put them in any uncomfortable situations even though we are kind of being disruptive with what we are going to launch. We just ultimately want to give the athletes more opportunity to play and in order to do that we need to be friendly and work with USAV, who we respect so much, because they are the pathway to the podium. We want to work with FIVB and the collegiate programs. … We want to elevate the game and I believe that in the world, especially the volleyball world, there is enough for everybody and we just want to take it to the next level.”
Stay tuned for more details as they are unveiled. USA Volleyball announced its own USA National Beach Tour in November. The AVP also recently announced its 2018 tour dates.