Professional Volleyball: Catching up with Kennedy Bryan

BLACKSBURG – Former Hokie volleyball player Kennedy Bryan has been playing professional volleyball overseas for almost two years now. The Georgia native has learned a lot about the game, international cultures and herself.

Bryan, an outside hitter at Tech from 2012-15, has played for four club teams since her graduation in 2016. She has set up shop in Italy, South Korea, France and the Philippines, but has enjoyed the travel and the things that come with moving to a new place.

Currently she plays for the F2 Logistics Cargo Movers in Metro Manila, Philippines, who are coming off a league championship on Dec. 16 under head coach Ramil de Jesus. The squad, which is in the Philippine Superliga Grand Pix, finished the season 10-2, in large part due to Bryan’s play at the opposite position.

For more on Bryan’s journey, read below.

What was it first like moving overseas and how quickly did you adapt to a new environment?

“Moving overseas is difficult but also very exciting. It's fun to be in a new place with new teammates and learning different styles of volleyball from all around the world. Adapting to a new place can be hard but the best part about being on a team is that there are people to help you. I feel like I adapted pretty quickly to living overseas. Each new place takes a little to get used to and to figure out what works best for me but I enjoy it.”

How many of your teammates are from America and how did the team welcome you to the club?

“I have one teammate currently who is from Hawaii and she has been playing in the Philippines for a little over a year. She helped a lot with welcoming me and we have become very good friends since. The Filipino people are very welcoming. I have felt so loved and taken care of since the first day I got here. My coach also coaches for a college team here. We practice with the college girls and some of them are playing for both the college team at La Salle University and for the F2 Logistics Cargo Movers or they graduated from La Salle. Some of the girls have been playing together for like eight years! The atmosphere here is very much like a family and they did an amazing job making me feel like I was part of the family.”

Language barriers are a key thing when someone moves overseas. What was it like picking up a new language?

“When I was in Italy, only one of my teammates was fluent in English. That made things hard. I used the translator app on my phone very often. I had studied a little bit of Italian that summer before I left but being able to speak and really communicate is very different. In Korea, I had a translator with me all the time. None of my teammates or coaches spoke English so my translator was needed for everything. I couldn't use my apps on my phone because the Korean characters are different then our alphabet.

“In France, I only had one girl on my team that really didn’t speak English but most of the girls could talk with me just fine. The league in France has no restrictions on foreign players so I had teammates from Russia, Serbia, Croatia, Spain, Canada and France. They all learn English to go play in other countries. Here in the Philippines almost everyone speaks English. Even the Tagalog has some English words in it so that makes it easier to keep up. Everywhere I've been I've learned a little bit of the language. It's a good way to bond with new teammates. You just kind of have to go for it and not be afraid to say things wrong or mess up because the girls think it's funny.”

Are you a starter and are you performing at the level you want to be statistically speaking?

“I am a starter on this team. I try to stay positive and always bring a lot of energy to the court when I play. With the girls I'm playing with now, we have a lot of fun on the court. I also try to remain consistent in everything I do. I think I am performing at a good level statistics wise. I still consider myself a young player and I know I have a lot to learn and so much more room for improvement.”

How have you seen your game grow from your time at Virginia Tech to the level you compete at now?

“I think that I have gained a lot of experience since I left Virginia tech. I was only a consistent starter at Virginia Tech from the middle of my junior season through my senior year. I think that I am much more comfortable and confident in myself as a player. At Virginia Tech I was with the same coach for all four years and since I've been overseas I have learned under four different head coaches in four different countries and two different continents in just a year and a half. Each coach has their own style of play and I've gotten to take what I like from each coaching style and use what works best for me.

“I have also had the opportunity to play at a high level everywhere I've been with very experienced teammates and opponents. In Italy, I had a teammate who was previously on the Italian Beach National team and a girl who was on the Italian Youth National team. In Korea, some of my teammates where on the Korean National team and I played against girls who have played on the USA National team and Canadian National team. In France, I had teammates who were on the French National team. Here in the Philippines, I am playing with many National team players and against girls who play on the Canadian National team and the Serbian National team. The other import on my team is from Venezuela and has played for the Venezuelan national team for 14 years and played in the Beijing Olympics. I am so thankful I have gotten to opportunity to be a part of such amazing volleyball. I learn so much from playing this level.”

With a busy schedule and being on a different time zone, do you have a chance to watch Virginia Tech’s volleyball team play its matches online at all?

“I did get the chance to watch a few games online before I left this fall, but right now I'm 13 hours ahead in time difference which makes it hard to watch the games.”

Do you stay up to date with the Hokies on social media?

“I usually keep up with Instagram consistently. I see the Instagram post and stories about the team. I also see a lot from the girls since there are still girls on the team that I used to play with. I am still friends on social media with all of them so I see that, too.”

For updates on Virginia Tech volleyball, follow the Hokies on Twitter and on Instagram @vthokievolleyball Instagram

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