Lausanne, Switzerland, October 1, 2020 – Player of the Week Jordan Larson of the United States was pleased to get a feel for what is on fans' minds as she joined Volleyball World live on Wednesday to answer questions from around the world.
Watch the Facebook Live session by clicking on the link below.
>>>Live with Player of the Week Jordan Larson
Her volleyball life
Jordan played multiple sports at a young age but got acquainted with volleyball at age 12. Her love for volleyball never faded and her career as a professional continues to take her to new heights.
“My volleyball life started at the age of 12 and I probably started playing other sports much younger. I played soccer, softball and did all these other things, and I really just kind of fell in love with volleyball. When I started doing club volleyball and getting more exposure outside of my little, small town in Nebraska, it just kind of grew from there. I just couldn’t get enough of it and that’s really where it started.
“I still played other sports throughout high school, then once I got into college and ended up going to the University of Nebraska, it kind of went from there. I got asked to train with the national team and the rest is history.
“I’ve been playing professionally for 12 years, which is crazy to think about, but it’s been a fun ride and I am very lucky to play in a lot of great clubs. I started playing in Puerto Rico and then I went on to play in Russia for Dinamo Kazan, then I went on to play for Eczacibasi in Turkey. I played last season in Shanghai and I am hoping to continue that this season. I had such a great time last season and I am looking forward to the new one. Again, a great professional career overseas.”
Her biggest inspiration
Jordan’s mother is the person she owes her career to and calls her biggest inspiration in her life. With a successful career in sport, Jordan always looks back at the time her mother got her into different sports and was her inspiration to become the player she is today.
“My biggest inspiration in life is my mother. She unfortunately passed away 11 years ago now. She was an all-around great lady. She was always fun to be around. She was also an athlete who played basketball for many years. She was the one who got me into all these sports.
“As she was battling cancer and as tough as it was to watch her to go through that, it just showed me how resilient she was. I admired her a lot and that is why I try to make her proud every single day. That’s kind of where my motivation is and where my inspiration comes from.”
Being a big fan of the sport
Jordan lives and breathes volleyball. Even on a day off, she is keen to watch volleyball.
“In general, I am just a big fan of the sport. My teammates always make fun of me because I am always watching volleyball even if we are on a day off. I would choose to watch a game or past game that I have been in. I am just a fan of the game and I just love watching it.”
Her favourite places to play
Brazil, Japan and Thailand are top of Jordan’s list of places that she loves playing in because of how hospitable and appreciative the fans are of the players.
“There is a tie between Brazil and Japan. Every time we go to Japan, I am so impressed with the hospitality and just how kind they are. Their fans love the game. Of course, they may be cheering for Japan, but I think ultimately they just love to see a good play. Coming from a small town in Nebraska, Japanese fans remind me of fans in Nebraska. We may be playing a good competitor, but if there is a good rally then they’re just going to cheer and encourage the athletes. Japan often reminds me of home.
“Every time we go to Brazil, the stadiums are packed, so I am impressed by the crowds there. To be honest, anywhere I’ve gone and played, all the fans have been phenomenal. Also in Thailand, they have fans who are so kind.”
On being coachable
Jordan says that being a coachable athlete was her biggest lesson from her family and being coachable led her to a successful career.
“My parents always talked to me about being a coachable athlete. You may not always agree with the coach, but being able to stay open to what they have to say is the best way to honour it. I’ve always tried to make an effort in that area to really be open to feedback.
“When I first came to the national team, I was accustomed to learning new techniques in passing and hitting. And when I first got there, they basically said that they were going to re-teach me everything. And then I had to think 'I’m pretty good and I am on a good path'.
“I became a better passer and hitter. If I had a closed or fixed mindset, I wouldn’t have made those changes and I would not be where I am today. It’s really important to be a coachable athlete, especially from a young age, because you can learn so much. And even as you get older there is so much to learn and I think I am on that road and that I still have more to learn.”
Her dream team
Jordan’s dream team is composed of former teammates and rivals from other teams.
“I would choose Maja (Ognjenovic), the Serbian setter. I also choose (Tijana) Boskovic who is an amazing and fun athlete, and just a good person. I would choose Maja (Poljak) and Foluke (Akinradewo) as middles.
“There are too many outsides to choose from but I would probably say Zhu (Ting). She is phenomenal and so much fun to compete with. For libero, I would say the Italian libero Moky (De Gennaro). All around great athletes and good people.”
On when she is going to dominate in beach volleyball
Jordan and fellow University of Nebraska alumna Sarah Pavan, who is currently part of the world’s top beach volleyball team, used to play together in college.
“It’s fun to play beach volleyball and I’ve thought about it so much. I played in college when they were trying to start it at the collegiate level. I played with Sarah Pavan who is now on the World Tour and playing for Team Canada. It was nice to get my feet wet on that and who knows, maybe that will be next in my career.”
Follow Jordan Larson on Instagram.