Play with the Pros: Back for its 4th year!
"Episode IV: For the Players, By the Players"
West Coast Beach Volleyball Society’s Play with the Pros is back for its fourth straight year! This year we have changed up the tournament which means more teams and less sitting, playing outdoor on real beach sand, focusing on our core mission of fundraising, and also - it's For the Players, By the Players! You know who you are directly helping with your registration dollars, and know they are putting their own sweat equity into this fundraising because they are running the show!
Get to know the athletes in their bios below! But one thing you need to first know is that these guys are seriously motivated ... the 6 guys came to us with initiative, advocating for themselves, and had ideas and a plan; they are putting their sweat equity into planning and executing PwtP and WeCoBeVo is playing a backoffice support role. Enough cannot be said about how they are working as a team and pulling everything together. So let's get to know them more already. (p.s. there's about $17K of outstanding costs for their training and travel Sept -March ... let's help these guys out and in the meantime further establish the West Coast as the place for Beach Volleyball opportunity!)
Justin Faester, 22
Started playing beach and building a passion for the game in grade 8 (2010). My twin sister introduced me to beach volleyball at this time, and soon after, we built a court in our backyard. We called this the Backyard Beach club. Throughout high school (2010 to 2015), I trained with Side Out Beach club and was a part of the youth beach volleyball provincial team. This led me to try out for the 2017 U21 World Trials in Ontario but fell short losing in the semifinals. In the indoor game, I played at Douglas College. During my 3 seasons with Douglas I helped lead the team to a silver, and two bronze medals at the Pac-West Provincial Championships; also, have been an ongoing member of the KBVA since 2015. After many summers of training and tournaments, I won my first pro tournament at the Parksville 2-star this past July. I have so much joy playing this sport and love getting into high pressure games. My favorite part about playing beach volleyball is the atmosphere which is created around a championship match. The support and love which the community has for the game and each other is something extremely unique to this sport.
Jake Hagen, 23
My love of Beach Volleyball began when I started playing with Sideout Beach Volleyball Club at 16 years old. At the time, there were Canadian Pros playing on the tour like Sam Schachter, Maverick Hatch, Martin Reader and Josh Binstock that were all huge role models and made me realize there is a possibility of playing internationally one day. I pursued Indoor Volleyball after high school, playing for Dalhousie University and Capilano University, where I played with some incredible teammates and worked under some exceptional coaches. I would always spend my summers playing Beach Volleyball at Kitsilano in KBVA and VBC events. It’s a truly amazing community to be a part of and everybody a part of it wants to see it grow to new heights. Now that my Indoor career has finished, I want to represent this community at the next level and fulfill my dream at the same time. To be a role model for younger athletes and to ignite them to want to play Beach Volleyball Internationally is another dream of mine. This is why I am committing to train all winter and give my all to reach my goal and win the Norceca Trials next year.
Devon Dunn, 24
I see myself as a dedicated beach volleyball athlete, and proud to have competed in both the U19 Beach Bolleyball World Championships and the FISU World University Games in Estonia (July 2016). I've been playing high-performance beach volleyball for the past eight years earning multiple provincial and national medals, as well as competed in multiple provinces across Canada; trained full time at the beach volleyball training center in Toronto in 2017. I've been recognized for my indoor volleyball abilities playing for Douglas college, helping my team get a bronze medal in the Pac-West Championships.
Zeid Hamadeh, 22
I started playing beach volleyball 11 years ago (2008) when my brother started coming home dirty everyday leaving tons of sand in our bathtub. We set up a very sophisticated volleyball net (a string tied between two trees) in our backyard and would rally for hours. It was obvious I loved the sport of beach volleyball but was torn between worlds as indoor volleyball is where all the opportunity was. After winning the Ontario Summer Games in 2016 and making a few provincial finals for beach volleyball, I finally had the chance to play indoor volleyball in university, so I put a pin in beach volleyball. I played for four years as a starting outside hitter for Western University, studying a degree in medical sciences and played out my last year of eligibility at the University of British Columbia while getting a master’s degree in genetics. I’ve lived in Vancouver for just over one year now and am so grateful for the beach volleyball community native to Kits Beach that inspired me to take up beach volleyball again. It’s because of these people that I play to compete and aim to bring this atmosphere with me to Toronto in the spring and try out for the FISU Games (World University Championships) in beach volleyball representing Canada.
Aleksandar Borisov, 24
I started playing beach volleyball competitively in 2015 after playing indoor volleyball for 7 years and instantly fell in love with the outdoor game. After developing the variety of skills necessary for beach volleyball by playing indoors, I found the transition smooth and dedicated the following two summer to competing with Team Quebec, winning U22 Canadian Nationals in 2015. Once I finished my undergraduate degree in Montreal, I planned on moving to Toronto to train with Team Canada, however an untimely torn ACL forced me to move back to where I grew up - Vancouver. A year of rehabilitation later, I joined the Kits Beach Volleyball Association and began competing in pro tournaments again in 2018. The community and environment created around beach volleyball at Kitsilano Beach is truly one of a kind and has helped fuel my passion to continue competing. Outside of volleyball, I thoroughly enjoy overly complicated board games, all things NBA, and as a UBC medical student – human physiology. My future goals are to help grow the high-performance beach volleyball environment in Vancouver and to represent Canada in international tournaments, as early as next summer.
Connor MacCuspie, 24
Connor MacCuspie is a player-turned coach-turned player again, falling in love with the beach game after his varsity career with UBC ended three years ago. Making the switch to coaching indoor and competing in beach, he firmly believes that you cannot teach what you do not practice yourself. Looking to improve his game on the sand further is an exciting prospect for him. New training and techniques from the beach will transfer well into his role as an assistant with the UBC women’s team as well. When he’s not on a court, Connor works behind one of downtown Vancouver’s biggest bars.
SOLD OUT 3 years running!
Cannot attend or don't want to #playwiththepros but would like to help chip away at the $17 outstanding training costs?
Thank you for supporting WeCoBeVo and our fundraising efforts. Funds raised are currently going towards: (1) helping support developing athletes in Western Canada to compete nationally and internationally; (2) enhancing Western Canada’s reputation as a competitive volleyball market that is developing future leaders in the sport; (3) creating a Beach Volleyball National Team Training Centre HUB on the West Coast; (4) finding a home for and installing a 25,000 Sq. Ft. "sports bubble" that we inherited from a tennis club that lost their land lease (all ideas and leads are welcomed!)