Updated: Oct 19, 2021
Every athlete aspires to play professionally in their respective sport and perhaps the ultimate dream is to play abroad.
But this was not the case for Courtney Felinski even though she was aware that volleyball players from her university, Georgia Tech, had an opportunity to play overseas.
“I didn’t know that playing overseas was an option until my freshmen year college,” the 27-year-old open-spiker stated in the 42nd episode of The Globally Ballin Podcast.
It was during her senior year when she thought of giving it a single try. Through her new coach who had also played overseas, who eventually pushed her into playing more seasons abroad, Courtney figured that this could be her chance.
She had gone through 6 countries starting in Finland, then to Germany, next door to Switzerland, over to Spain, across the globe to the Philippines, and finally, the most recent, in Cyprus.
Among these, she experienced the most intense daily schedule in Germany where they trained twice a day and played twice a week because of the high competition level.
“Even if we had days off, they didn’t really want us taking a day trip or exploring, they want us [to be] resting,” she said.
On another note, it was in the Philippines, where she played for the Foton Tornadoes, where she had the most wonderful playing time.
“I remember our last playoff match, we could barely hear each other on the court because the fans were screaming so loud which is the best and [shows] just how supportive they were,” she said.
It was also where she stayed the longest, extending for another 6 weeks after the season was over to travel either alone or with her teammates in Batangas, Siargao, Balesin Island, Baguio, Tagaytay, and Palawan.
Meanwhile, playing in Switzerland was one of her favorites because of the food, safety, medical team, and housing prompting her to think that it’s something that she will never get the chance to have again.
Courtney then admitted, in The Globally Ballin Podcast episode, how her three-month experience in Spain under Las Palmas was her least favorite due to the underlying issues that caused a directive from the International Volleyball Federation to put a hold on all foreign players until the issue was over.
“When I arrived, I realized that it was not what it was supposed to be...We had dates that we’d agreed upon by which everything should be done and there was no sense of urgency to fulfill their end of the contract,” she said.
During off-seasons, she would go to her parents’ hometown in Houston, but after her last season in the Philippines, she moved to Atlanta to try on a full-time job before she took the fall off and went to Cyprus.
She worked as a brand liaison in a company in Atlanta to see what it was like to live on her own and have a working schedule; she also took this time to determine if she was ready for retirement.
With no initial interest in playing overseas, Courtney completely turned the table by having a 5-season-long career overseas.
“It was amazing. Even during the rough times, I was so glad I chose to keep playing,” she told Globally Ballin through a chat interview.
“Getting to see so much of the world and [to] live in so many countries was something I never thought I’d get to do, and I met so many amazing people along the way who I know will be in my life forever,” she added.
Courtney has announced her retirement from volleyball last March and is currently residing in Atlanta, Georgia, job hunting, networking, and doing “tons” of cooking.
This piece was written by Carla Molina, a common contributor for Globally Ballin
The entire interview of Courtney Felinski (Episode 42 of The Globally Ballin Podcast) can be found with the links below.