Professional volleyball player Matt Proper created Skyball, a new online recruiting tool, to put athletes in touch with recruiters and to give kids the same opportunities that were given to him.
Matt Proper is grateful to volleyball for all of the places it has taken him. After having a great career at Penn State, the 6’7” outside/opposite played professionally in Italy, Turkey and Cyprus.
“Everyone has some kind of epiphany in his life,” Proper said. “Mine came from realizing how blessed I’ve been through volleyball. I owe so much to the game. My education, world travel, my friends, so much of my life’s path has been set by the sport.”
Proper even met his wife, Morgan Beck, while they were both on the professional circuit. Now, he says, it’s time that he gives something back that can help afford other kids the same experiences he’s had.
Proper grew up in rural Pennsylvania, away from the typical recruiting spots like convention centers filled with courts and cities full of club teams. “It was farm country,” Proper said. “Amish, cows, the whole nine yards.”
Fortunately for him, there was a bit of a volleyball community in his hometown. His parents both played, as did his older brother, so he grew up around good volleyball. As a sophomore, his high school team won the state championship, which is where, Proper said, he was noticed by Penn State.
“I was probably 6’5” in high school and had a jump touch of 12’,” he said. “There were a bunch of kids I played with who were better volleyball players. I was raw and uncoordinated…But I got discovered for two reasons: I was tall and I jumped out of the gym.”
Originally published in July 2011