Senior setter sets sights on Tokyo

May 7, 2008 — by Alex Sclavos

If all goes according to plan, within five years senior Kent Johnson will be living by the beach and making a very comfortable living from his professional beach volleyball career.

Johnson hopes to join the American Volleyball Program centered around beach volleyball that travels around North and South America, is the main beach volleyball circuit in the United States that represents professional athletes such as Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor.

For Johnson to achieve his goal, he and his teammate, Jake Wahl from St. Francis, will have to win elite tournaments located all over California, of course, the odds of making the circuit can be slim.

“There are a lot more guys who play volleyball now than a few years ago,” said Johnson. “Most of them are over 6’4’’, which makes making the circuit a really tough thing to do.”

Although the circuit is Johnson’s goal, he hopes to attend Osaka University, located 45 minutes outside of Tokyo, this fall and join its volleyball team.

“This is one of the best volleyball schools in the world,” said Johnson. “If I could play there, I would in a heartbeat.”

Since Osaka University is on a different system than schools in the United States, Johnson will not know whether he’s been accepted for a few more weeks.

While waiting for the decision, Johnson was offered a scholarship to the University of Southern California, a Division I school, but turned it down because his playing time there would be slim to none.

“It is a D1 program with tons of really talented guys,” said Johnson. “I would most likely never see the court and just be a practice player who picks up balls after the starters hit.”

Johnson, the starting setter on the Falcon volleyball team, also does not enjoy indoor volleyball nearly as much as beach volleyball.

“Beach volleyball is more technical and skillful,” said Johnson. “There are only two people covering a large area versus six on an indoor court.”

If Osaka University falls through, Johnson will attend Sonoma State and play on its Division III club team, allowing him to focus more on beach and reach his goal of making the circuit.

“I know no matter where I play it is going to be a big commitment,” said Johnson, “but, I am excited to continue to play and see where I end up.”

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