Where are they now?: Alicia Nelson
March 18, 2013
The volleyball team is highlighting the lives of its alumnae after Stony Brook. In the first installment, 2011 America East Player of the Year Alicia Nelson talks about continuing her playing career in Europe and reflects on her time at SBU.
I finished my last season at SB in November of 2011 and graduated one month later. Even though I had five years to prepare for it, it felt like my student-athlete days had come to an abrupt end. At first I enjoyed the late mornings, skipping a few gym days and not worrying if I slept on my shoulder the wrong way, but that got old after about two weeks. I knew I wasn't ready to stop playing the game I loved!
I knew a few former teammates who decided to continue playing after college and that there was an agency that helped players do so in Europe. The agency said there was no guarantee that I would end up on a team but that I had a good chance. I was told to report in August to Maribor, Slovenia, to be prepared to travel to any other country after two days and that I would return home after either two weeks or nine months. I decided to take the risk and try for this opportunity. The worst that could happen was that I would return home and start my "big-kid life!"
I spent the spring and summer working to save up for the plane ticket, doing an internship to prepare for my "real job" someday and trying to get in as many workouts as possible. Unfortunately, there was nothing I could do to prepare for leaving my boyfriend and my new puppy at home in New York.
Ultimately, I ended up finding my perfect team at SCU Emlichheim Volleyball in a tiny town in northwest Germany. We are currently third in our 12-team league with three games to play. With an average of 600 fans per home game, my club has the biggest fanbase in our league! We had 1,000 people at our last home game! It is so much fun to finally be in a country where volleyball is one of the most popular sports!
My workweek consists of practicing, lifting and a match on the weekend. On our weekends off, I get to travel and explore surrounding cities and countries. Also, with the help of my language tutor twice each week, I am slowly but surely learning to speak German!
Aside from my coach not knowing English, my bike being stolen, being made fun of for eating PB&J sandwiches and the occasional public embarrassment from the language barrier, I'd say I have acclimated well! I wasn't sure when I first left for this adventure if it was the right decision for me (I was terrified!), but I couldn't be any happier now that I have settled in! It's amazing to me that volleyball can take you on such amazing adventures!
I've had a ton of fun following Stony Brook online and tell all my teammates of the amazing times at SBU. To them, college volleyball is like something from the movies! While I can't make this year's alumnae event because I will be playing in my last match of the season, I will be thinking about everyone and hope to make the next one (and the many after that)!!
--Alicia Nelson '11