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By Jessika Long
STORRS, Conn. - Since coming to UConn, rising redshirt-sophomore Kayla Williams has been able to not only progress in her volleyball skillset, but her talent and love for the sport has also given her the opportunities of a lifetime.
Following her true freshman season at UConn in 2015-16, Williams was able to travel to Europe with USA International Athletes to compete in a tournament that took place in Germany, Austria and Italy in the summertime.
Over the course of 10 days, Williams and her team traveled throughout various counties and competed with and against players from all over the world.
“My teammates came from different systems, so we had to work through that and figure out what worked best for us as a group” said Williams.
A native of New York, this was Williams’ first trip to Europe. For Williams, this trip wasn’t just a chance to grow in the sport she loves, but it was also a chance to learn about cultures beyond her own.
Williams described her experience by saying, “I would say my favorite part was the hospitality that all of the clubs we played with showed. In Italy, everyone got together and they made us a home cooked meal. We hung out with each other and they would teach us about their culture.”
For this Husky, traveling to Europe led to a great deal of education and growth, some of which carried over into her most recent season with UConn.
Finishing this last season with a team-high in kills (392) and total attacks (1,045), Williams was named Second Team All-Conference at the end of 2016.
Going into the future, Williams is excited about what the future holds, and where her volleyball career may take her next.
“I have decided not to play again overseas this summer but hopefully I will get the opportunity in the near future,” said Williams.
At this time, Williams is planning on spending this summer coaching and helping with volleyball clinics at All Star Empire Volleyball in New York City.
Having the unique opportunity of playing overseas has given Williams the ability to transfer new cultural perspectives into her own life, while also allowing her a chance to grow in the sport that she loves. She will use that passion to influence younger athletes in the summer.
“I am grateful for the opportunities that this sport has provided me and I am incredibly excited for the upcoming season and for my future as a UConn student-athlete,” said Williams.