At an early age, Edmond fell in love with volleyball. She knew she wanted to pursue a career as an athlete and that likely meant graduating college from the University of Kentucky, packing her bags, and traveling to another country to continue her career. When COVID-19 hit, suddenly Edmond’s volleyball career was uncertain.
While Edmond loved education, she didn’t expect to graduate from college and take a position as a teacher, but like many, had to pivot. “It’s definitely not what I thought I would be doing straight out of college. I love teaching. I’m totally okay with doing that. It’s just not what I thought [would happen].”
The result was uncertainly surrounding her volleyball career. “It was hard for me over the summer not knowing what was going to happen,” Edmond said. And then came Athletes Unlimited with the opportunity of a lifetime: teach and play volleyball.
“I would always be like, ‘I wish I could teach and play volleyball. It’s not going to be possible, but I wish I could do it.’ I love teaching and I love kids and I love playing volleyball and I didn’t want to ever have to choose between the two,” Edmond said. Now, she doesn’t have to.
Excitement aside, Edmond is up for her greatest challenge on the court yet. Because of COVID-19, her training has shifted and she’s more limited than she’s ever been. She’s had to make the most of what she’s given to train with and get creative. “I’ve had to improvise with my dad throwing balls at me from 20 feet. There isn’t really anywhere to play volleyball in Lexington (Kentucky),” she said. In addition to being limited as far as facilities go, she’s balancing working full time and training.
I love teaching and I love kids and I love playing volleyball and I didn’t want to ever have to choose between the two.”Leah Edmond,Athletes Unlimited Volleyball, Outside Hitter
Edmond has spent her entire career fighting through adversity so despite those challenges, she’s prepared for her first professional experience. “It was never that I was a skilled volleyball player or that I had a high volleyball IQ,” she said, “It was, I was really athletic, and I could jump. That pushed me throughout high school and even throughout college to show everyone that I’m not just someone that can jump really high. That’s always driven me.”
She brings that mentality into the upcoming season with Athletes Unlimited when she faces some of the most talented volleyball players the United States has to offer.
“I’m just excited for the competition. You’re going to constantly be pushed. You can’t have an off night. But at the same time, I’m really excited to be around people that I’ve grown up watching and looked up to.”
If you had asked Edmond a year ago if she thought this was how the beginning of her career would play out, she would have said no. Edmond, like the other 43 players set to take the court in just a few short weeks, recognize how unique this opportunity is and couldn’t be more thrilled to be a part of something that could pave the way for younger athletes. “It’s a really great opportunity to grow the game here [in the United States] past the college level. I love that there’s another option [other than playing overseas].”
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