Nick England can certainly be considered a veteran player for the NVA. First playing for the Stunners through the 2019 season and now playing for the Ramblers, he holds opinions that are valued and have been developed through a plethora of experiences, especially regarding the league. Nick, who has been around since the beginnings of the NVA, took the time to sit down and elaborate on his thoughts containing quarantine, the Ramblers, and the upcoming season.
Q: How has quarantine been for you?
England: Quarantine has been overall fairly stressful, unfortunately. Work has been tough for me and those around me, and dealing with uncertainty on the day to day basis is never an ideal situation. Volleyball has also been my stress relief and way of staying in shape for as long as I can remember, so losing gym time on top of the added stress has also been a new obstacle to overcome. I have spent more of my free time learning about live streaming and how best to use social media to grow a brand and I am excited to continue learning more and bringing that to the NVA and the Ramblers!
Q: What are your thoughts on the upcoming season?
England: I’m so excited to continue growing volleyball. We have so much talent and so many great personalities in the space that I think we are really heading down the right path to bring professional volleyball to the US. COVID certainly made things harder, but I am very thankful for all of the hard work the NVA and teams are putting in to be sure that what we are doing is not so fragile that this off season was the end of it. Teams and players are working harder than ever to be ready to bring high level play back to volleyball fans everywhere!
Q: What are my thoughts on the Ramblers this year? Any strengths or players to mention?
England: The Ramblers are going to be an extremely exciting team to watch. After leaving the Stunners last season to help grow another team, I was nervous about what my future would hold. We are very unique in that our roster is split between Las Vegas and Southern California, so our matches will be a “meeting of the minds”. Our owner Vinny Rodriguez has worked very hard to scout players that are not only talented, but have the ability to easily mesh with other players. While there is no shortage of big names on the team to be excited about, like our middles Marty Ross, Antwain Aguillard, setter Tanner Maxwell and outside hitter Kendall Ratter, some of our younger guys are definitely going to be fun to watch develop as they see high level play- I am keeping an eye on Quinn Peterson.
Q: What are your thoughts on the potential of the NVA.
England: I played in the PVL prior to the NVA and there is such a noticeable difference in the trajectory and growth of the league. NVA will not settle for mediocrity and settle for being the same year after year. The process of growing a league is a slow one: getting players, fans, teams and a final product to share with the public is not an easy thing to do. I hope volleyball fans continue to engage with the league, share in its victories and know that no major US sports leagues were born overnight. Their support is essential to what we do, and the thought of bringing pro volleyball to the US is definitely a dream worthy of pursuit! It is also extremely important to me that future generations of players are able to have a goal of playing professionally here in the US after college.
Q: What teams really stick out to you this year?
England: This is a tough one to answer! With so many new teams added, there are a lot of new faces in the league. Many teams also lost players to overseas contracts, that would have usually been state-side if COVID had not occured. What excites me so much is that each team has such well developed identities that fans will be able to find a team that fits them; whether its due to geographical location, their players, or their playstyle! Team Freedom excels with their online content and branding, Utah Stingers have a wealth of BYU players and Russ Holmes at the helm and the Stunners never fail to produce some of the best talent in the league. I may be biased but I am most excited for the Ramblers, Las Vegas does not have any direct collegiate programs to feed the team, so we have really pulled players together from all sorts of backgrounds – the USA Team, NCAA D1, 2 and 3 Schools, NAIA and Im here making sure college club teams are represented as well! Our team never says die, and putting that all together on the court is sure to really deliver for NVA fans!