Rebels draft global volleyball stars in UK first

  • Date

    Wed 29 Nov 23

Essex Rebels players from America standing on court

The Essex Rebels are “making history” as the first UK volleyball club to use an international visa to draft top-class professional players.

The four American players will inject experience into the squad and help raise the sport’s standards as the team’s first professionals.

Using an International Sportsperson Visa the side has secured four elite ballers for this season to boost and develop the sport at the highest level in the UK.

Kyle Vom Steeg 22, will complete a master’s in Management at Essex Business School whilst at Essex, with William Ragland, 27, studying Applied Data Science.

The men are joined by well-regarded Kathryn Attar, age 24, who joins after an incredible career at Ivy League university Yale Equally impressive Ellen Floyd, 24, will join Kathryn after three stunning seasons with The University of Alaska’s Seawolves.

Governing body Volleyball England has backed the ground-breaking scheme and helped the University of Essex secure an International Sportsperson sponsor licence from the Home Office.

The move has been praised by the body’s CEO, Charlie Ford.

They said: “By adding professional players to a women’s roster for the first time, Essex are clearly aiming to raise their standards, and that is exactly what we are trying to achieve with the Men’s Super League and MAAREE Women’s Super League as a whole over the next few years.

“We want to raise the bar so that the Leagues are an attractive proposition for not only up-and-coming homegrown stars and talented players from abroad but also supporters of those clubs and the wider public as well, making it much more recognisable to those outside of the volleyball community.”

Head of Volleyball Performance Alex Porter welcomed the players to the side.

He said: “The first four professionals at Essex will go down in history, not only were they recruited to help us achieve success on the court but also because of who they are.

“They are the type of person that every coach wants to work with.

“Kyle and William have previously played professionally and bring a wealth of experience at the very top.

“Kathryn and Ellen constantly demonstrate the elite standards required to be a professional but more importantly provide inspiration to our female student-athletes that anything is possible with the right desire and guidance.”

A sentiment echoed by Performance Sport Manager Susy Davies.

She said: “This achievement marks a pivotal moment for Essex Rebels Volleyball and the sport in the UK, and we're excited to be at the forefront of innovation and excellence.

“Our legacy as a Volleyball England Senior Academy is further enriched by the numerous students and alumni who've earned national team representation in the last decade.”