The plan for today is to focus almost exclusively on my PhD work. No volleyball or other outside distractions – or at least keeping them to a minimum. I’m aiming to end the day with a full draft of my thesis for my supervisor to review – or at least to get very close. I also have to finish up work on the slides for a presentation I have to give in Glasgow next week. I saw a bit of news from Vinny at Off the Block come across the wires that got my attention, though, and decided to put down some thoughts.
For those who don’t know, Thomas Jaeschke is a member of the US National Team and recently finished his Junior year at Loyola where he won back-to-back national championships. He was the 2015 AVCA National Player of the Year.
While leaving college early to go pro is a common occurrence in basketball and football (and it’s probably happening a bit more often in soccer now), it’s not something you see in volleyball. There was talk last year about Micah Christenson (Team USA setter) leaving USC after his junior year, but he stuck it out (he’s now signed for an Italian team). That makes the Jaeschke move unusual. While volleyball players generally speaking don’t make nearly the money of athletes in other major sports, some of them do pretty well for themselves.
To make things even more interesting, he signed with Asseco Resovia. That’s a pretty good club. They were in this year’s CEV Champions League final where they lost to Matt Anderson’s Zenit Kazan side. From that perspective, it’s pretty easy to see the appeal to making a move like that. Fellow US player Paul Lottman actually just left Resovia for Berlin, which might have been what opened up a roster spot for Jaeschke.
Here’s the concern for me, though.
I’m a soccer fan, and have been for many years. During that time I’ve seen a lot of young US players go abroad with mixed results. In particular, players who sign on with larger, stronger clubs and/or in the better leagues often find their careers stunted because they can’t crack the starting line-up. They would have been better off going to a smaller club and/or to a lower level league where they would likely have been a starter and thus gotten a lot of playing time rather than riding the pine.
Is there a risk of something like that happening to someone like Jaeschke?
I honestly don’t know the answer. Maybe some of my friends in the professional coaching ranks will chime in.
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