Versatility is such an amazing attribute for any athlete competing at the highest level of their sport. Rebecca Pavan has shown that it's never too late to learn new skills and grow within your sport. She competed at University of Kentucky, and was a member of our Canadian National team before pursing her career overseas. In her first year, she competed for Kopenicker SC where she earned the Best Blocker of the German league for the 2012-2013 season. A middle blocker her entire life, Rebecca made the courageous decision to further her career by moving to the right side. She is currently competing in Poland, in her fifth season overseas, and second season as a right side attacker. We're so excited to see where she goes next, and just a hint - you might be able to watch her competing on the beach this summer! Check out more about her influences and what inspires her to play below.
Club: KW Predators
University: University of Kentucky
Professional: Kopenicker SC: 2012-2013, VC Stuttgart: 2013-2014, Beziers Volley: 2013-2014, MKS Dabrowa Gorniczal: 2014-2015, Budowlani Torun: 2015-2016
What drives you to play?
I think that my love of volleyball drives me to play. I was completely surrounded by the sport growing up. Watching my parents and sister play I developed a passion for volleyball from an early age. It's also special to me as it's something I can share and enjoy with my whole family.
How did growing up in a family heavily involved in volleyball impact your career?
I think having parents who were able to play a huge role in my development really pushed me to try and play at the top level I could reach. Of course watching my sister's success from an early age, I had a great positive role model to look up to. Seeing Sarah play NCAA, national team and then professionally in Europe made those dreams feel attainable and made me believe it was something I could do if I worked hard enough.
Who is your biggest inspiration and what’s the most important thing you learned from them?
I think my biggest inspiration is my father. I credit him with all of the opportunities I have been lucky enough to have. Without his influence and having him as a coach, I don't think I would be a professional now. The most important thing I learned from him is that I can always improve and to push myself to meet my goals.
You and your sister had the opportunity to play together on the Indoor National Team, can you tell us a little bit about your experience playing on the same team?
There is a four year age difference between me and my sister. Growing up always looking up to her, and never having the opportunity to play with or against her made coming together for the national team a special experience. I was happy to play beside her for our country and learn from her on the court. 2012 was both the first and last time we have played together and I will always cherish and remember it.
This is your fifth season playing professionally overseas, what has been the best part of your experience so far and have you had any major struggles?
The best part of my experience has been all of the people I have had the opportunity to meet. I feel as though I have had the unique experience of participating in different cultures, that if I were to just visit a place I wouldn't have. Of course there are always downsides like time difference, long distance relationships, and being an ocean away from family and friends, but I still love what I do and I think it's worth it.
You’ve already had a stellar career, do you have any future goals or aspirations for volleyball?
Thanks, overall I hope to continue developing as an opposite since it's my second season in the position. Also, I hope to someday represent Canada again, though it may be on the beach tour.
Do you pursue anything outside of your volleyball career, what are your other passions?
Living abroad has given me the opportunity to learn a lot about the history of Europe, specifically WW2 and after. I love visiting museums and memorials to learn more. I enjoy reading and baking as I tend to have a ton of time for it between practices.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
Just that I think volleyball provides an great opportunity to see the world. If anyone has the chance to go abroad I recommend taking it even if it's only for one season. I think it's great that ONE Volleyball is providing an outlet for elite volleyball players for after CIS, NCAA or playing abroad is finished and it makes me happy that when I choose to finish my professional career in Europe I will have a place to continue doing what I love.
You can check for updates and follow Rebecca's volleyball journey on her Facebook Page.