One year ago, after wrapping up a much-decorated university volleyball career with the Trinity Western Spartans, Steve Marshall faced a pivotal choice.
On one hand, the high-flying 6’2” outside hitter from Abbotsford had the opportunity to play the game he loved for a living – he had offers from pro teams in Europe, albeit lower-level squads.
On the other hand was the delayed-gratification route – spending the year at Volleyball Canada’s national training centre in Gatineau, Que., grinding his way through daily skill development sessions.
He chose the latter, and today, he believes he’s better for it.
The biggest piece of evidence to support that notion is his recent selection to the Canadian senior men’s indoor team’s 22-player roster for FIVB World League pool play games over the next month. It’s Marshall’s first stint with the national A indoor squad, after extensive experience representing Canada internationally in beach volleyball.
The 24-year-old Mennonite Educational Institute grad is also drawing better pro offers from overseas, and hopes to have something finalized within the next month.
“I’m pretty pumped about it,” Marshall told The News this week, reflecting on his national team selection.
“I’ve progressed quite a bit over the past year. The amount of reps and touches we’re getting constantly at the training centre, it’s way more than you see at the university level, and even the pro level. It’s more just performance once you go over there. They don’t really focus as much on skill development, because they expect you to already have those things in place.
“I put in my time and got in the structure and the system that the national team has and wants for all their athletes. And I’ve built more skills to help me go play pro – make better teams and more money, basically.”
Marshall represented Canada at the U19 and U21 beach volleyball worlds in years past, and on the FIVB beach tour. He was also a member of Canada’s national indoor B team in 2012, and helped the Spartans to the 2012 CIS championship.
Canada’s World League schedule includes games in Calgary May 31 and June 1 vs. Finland; in Vancouver June 13 and 14 vs. Belgium; and in Edmonton June 20 and 21 vs. Australia.
Only 14 of the 22 players on the national team make the traveling roster, and while Marshall isn’t on the traveling roster for this weekend’s games vs. Finland, there’s a chance he could make the cut for the future World League dates.