Out to net pro career

Ryan Heath, centre (number 11) with the England Juniors
Ryan Heath, centre (number 11) with the England Juniors

A WORKSOP youngster is hoping to net a career in professional volleyball.

Ryan Heath, 18, was introduced to the sport when he was a Year 10 student at Portland, and he’s now an England junior international.

Ryan Heath with England Juniors

Ryan Heath with England Juniors

He’s hoping that a move to Loughborough and twice daily training sessions are going to help him make a career in volleyball – most likely elsewhere in Europe.

Speaking to the Guardian he said: “I got into the sport through school when I was at Portland, and then got selected for the East Midlands team and I started to take it seriously.”

So seriously in fact that he was picked for England Juniors in Bosnia earlier this year.

He said: “It was incredible, playing against highly skilled teams, amazing really.”

“I was very proud hearing our national anthem.”

Heath, who also studied at Worksop’s Post 16 Centre, moved to Loughborough to complete a BTEC in sport and dedicates most of his time to volleyball at the national academy.

“It’s a very quick sport, very technical and it’s a team sport so there’s a lot of cohesion needed.”

“I have to train twice a day because I hope to play professionally one day – I’ll have to go abroad, it’s a bit like basketball in this country.”

The teenager, who is eyeing a move to Sheffield Hallam University so he can join a new volleyball programme at the English Institute of Sport in the city, is a ‘specialist defender’ and plays with club side Newcastle Staffs.

“I’m what’s known as a Libero, a specialist defender and passer. I stop the ball from hitting the floor.”

“I won the league this year with Newcastle in Division One. Last September we want to Italy and took on the best club teams in Europe.”

“But my highlight so far was the trip to Bosnia with England.”

Persuing a career in sport doesn’t come without sacrifice and Heath is quick to mention the support he receives from parents Gail and Darren.

“I’ve had lots of help and support from them.”

“They supported me financially so I could go to live in Loughborough and they come to a lot of tournaments.”

And he also keeps in mind those who sparked his interest in the sport.

“I played with Worksop Volleyball Club for a couple of seasons. Howard Tomlinson got me into the sport, and Colin Richardson at school, along with his son Luke Richardson.”