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17/07/2018 19:16
U20 talents opt for combining sports with college education
2018 CEV U20 Volleyball European Championship - Men

Ede, The Netherlands / Kortrijk, Belgium, July 17, 2018. Some of the best young talents of the continent have come together in the Netherlands and Belgium to compete at the 2018 CEV U20 Volleyball European Championship - Men’s finals. As they are growing to be great athletes, they can rightfully dream of big careers in professional sports, but it is refreshing to see that many of them deem their on-going education as equally important.

Two of the participants in #EuroVolleyU20M have chosen what is arguably the best way to combine their passion for high-level Volleyball and their desire to get good higher education and develop not only as athletes, but also as persons. Filip Humler of the Czech Republic and Davide Gardini of Italy are both incoming freshman recruits to the highest division of USA’s NCAA college Volleyball.

Humler will be playing for the University of Hawaii Warriors, while Gardini is making his way to Utah to join the squad of the Brigham Young University Cougars.

For 18-year-old outside hitter Filip Humler it has been a long-time dream to go to college in the United States. Actively playing Volleyball has not only not steered him away from pursuing his dream, but has actually helped him achieve it. He has been offered an “almost full”, as he puts it, athletic scholarship to play Volleyball at the University of Hawaii and in about a month from now he will be on his way to the exotic Pacific islands to pursue an undergraduate degree in Business.

Unlike Humler, Gardini is not sure what academic field to choose yet, but this is actually another perk of American college education – in the first two years you don’t have to decide what to major in, as you can take general study classes, needed for completing any four-year university degree.

"I don’t know in which direction I want to study; probably something like psychology, but that is not for sure,” 19-year-old Gardini says. “Normally I would study there for four years, but after each school year we will see what the future brings. It is important to have something in my hands after my career as an athlete."

This indeed is the most important reason for young sports talents to choose the education path. One dreams of a glorious career as a professional athlete, but one knows that sooner or later that career will come to an end and wants to be well prepared for the time after that.

“American universities provide the best opportunities to combine sports and education. This is something that I would not be able to do in the Czech Republic, for example,” Humler points out. “I will play high-level Volleyball while I am pursuing my academic studies. I hope to have a professional Volleyball career after I graduate, but once that is over I will have a university degree to help me with what I am going to do with the rest of my life.”

Gardini adds a slightly different angle to the decision to choose college over pro Volleyball. “Now it is more important for me to play rather than sit on the bench. I am young and I think it is still too soon for me to go to a professional team,” he contemplates. “When I come back from America, I will still have plenty of time to chase the professional player experience. In the meantime, I believe that living and studying at such a university will help me grow as an athlete, but certainly as a person as well.”

Obviously not relying on the big name that he carries, the son of three-time world champion Andrea Gardini has opted for education and has the full approval of his famous father as well.

“He helps me a lot and absolutely supports me in the choice I made. Not too quick, too high - this is also his conclusion,” young Gardini adds.

Engage with the U20 European Championship on social media by using the competition’s official hashtag #EuroVolleyU20M.

Click here for more information.

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