By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
Sharonda Pickering has added becoming a professional Volleyball player to her history making sheet, after becoming the first BVI Volleyball player to sign a contract with a European club, to with Hungary’s Haladás HSVE Sport Kft in the upcoming season. She departed the territory on Tuesday.
Pickering is the first BVI Volleyball player to play in the National Jr. Colleges Association Volleyball Tournament where as a freshman, she helped Hillsborough Community College Hawks to a bronze medal in her freshman year. She then helped the Florida Gulf Coast University Eagles to its first NCAA Division I Tournament in her Senior year. They beat the University of Central Florida Knights in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to make program history, before losing to the Florida Gators.
While in Europe last summer with the Florida Gulf Coast University Eagles Volleyball team, Pickering got an opportunity to play against different European Clubs on a summer tour and later examined the possibility after helping the team to its first ASUN Conference title; first NCAA Tournament and first NCAA Tournament victory all in program history.
While home over the summer, she’d planned on going to an Aug 6-16 European draft. She sent her volleyball resume and two videos from her Eagles days to the draft coordinator, who helps recruits athletes and coaches. As it turned out, the coordinator is part of a Volleyball Agency and he told her that she’d be better off signing with the agency and being drafted through the agency, rather than going directly through the draft.
“I signed with them and I was being drafted from Switzerland, Hungary, Belgium, Germany and a few other places and eventually I chose Hungary and that’s how the whole thing came about,” explained Pickering who competed in the High Jump and ran a few sprints while at the Elmore Stoutt High School. “It’s like a dream come through. It’s something you always think about, but to actually be there in the moment of actually having it come through, it’s exciting and it’s a bit nervous to go to a new and different environment, but the thing that will keep me grounded is volleyball. It’s something that you know and not much will chance with that, so I’m pretty excited about it all.”
While at home, Pickering participated in coed volleyball matches at the Multipurpose Sports Complex, which she said as ‘always exciting going back from where you came’ and seeing the progress. She also went to the gym to keep her muscles tuned.
“It’s always a challenge playing with the men and my height gives me an advantage as the net is higher,” she noted. “That’s a challenge I always look forward to. When the net is lowered to women’s height, it’s always a good feeling. It’s always more competitive when you play with men. Men are more aggressive in their sport so it’s always interesting to come back and be able to play. The challenge is a good thing because it helps you develop as a player.”