Volleyball stars make England Lions team for crunch tour

  • Date

    Thu 1 Sep 22

Essex players in action

Five stars of the new Essex Rebels volleyball squad will line up for the England development side on a crucial European tour.

Volleyball stars make England Lions team for crunch tour

The professional players and students who will compete for The University of Essex’s elite franchise side this season will head out to Slovakia for a five-day training camp.

The England Lions will face off against teams from Austria, Czech Republic and the host country during their trip from 31st August to 5th September.

Top performers could then be selected for international honours and the chance to compete at the highest level.

The Essex Rebels’ players in the 16-man squad are:

  • Connor Reeve, 20, studying Sports and Exercise Science
  • Ben Osborne, 20, studying Sports Therapy
  • Christian Christie, 23, studying for a Master’s in Sport and Exercise Psychology
  • Jacob Jones, 23, studying Environment, Society and Culture
  • Thomas Jefferson, 19, studying Sports

Performance and Coaching Volleyball Performance Coach Alex Porter has welcomed the move and believes his players will make a mark on the international circuit.

He said: “The students have dedicated a large portion of their lives to their sport and this recognition is something they should be very proud of.

“With five of our current athletes and one graduate making the England National team, it demonstrates that our focus of developing student-athletes is paying off.”

A feeling echoed by Volleyball England.

Andy Jones, Talent Coordinator, said: “This development camp is an excellent opportunity for the Senior Men’s programme. This will be the England players’ first competitive outlet since the Novotel Cup in 2020 while emerging juniors will be given their first international playing experience.

“Thank you to those who have made this possible, especially to Marcel Sivak for drawing on his contacts. Good luck England Lions!”

The squad announcement comes just weeks after the Essex Rebels volleyball side was revealed.

In a dramatic expansion of the University’s top sport offering Tendring Volleyball Club men's and women’s first teams were brought into the Essex Rebels family for the 2022-23 season.

The high-performance sides will compete in the incredible Essex Sport Arena, on the University’s award-winning Colchester Campus in the National Volleyball Super League – England’s highest level for volleyball teams.