HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. — April Ross was on the beach this past weekend for AVP Huntington Beach, albeit in a different outfit (shirt, leggings, no two-piece swimsuit), different equipment (clipboard, no Wilson volleyball), and a different role:
Coaching finalists Betsi Flint and Julia Scoles.
It wasn’t just a sudden and newfound passion for coaching that led Ross to the sidelines, but the addition of a new human being.
Yes, April Ross is pregnant.
“Been working on a project for a little while now,” Ross wrote on Instagram, “and so happy to announce we’re adding to our family!”
Her child is due in October.
As far as volleyball goes, she spoke with VolleyballMag.com’s Phil Collin over the weekend in Huntington Beach:
“I’d like to come back and play at some point. I would just start on the AVP. I don’t have like a huge drive to come back and chase the Olympics at the moment but if I come back and it’s a good situation and I feel like I’m playing well on the AVP, I wouldn’t rule it out.
“I’ve accomplished everything I set out to do in my career so if I play from now on, I just want it to be a fun, good journey and play with somebody I enjoy playing with. I have no idea who I might play with or any of that. It’s just how it develops.”
Not that there’s any pressure for Ross to continue playing. As the only female beach player with an Olympic medal of all three colors — silver in London in 2012, bronze in Rio in 2016, gold in Tokyo in 2021 — she has nothing left to accomplish or prove to anyone, including herself.
“Since I’ve stepped away and coaching, I’m content doing this and I get a lot of fulfillment out of it,” Ross said. “I thought I hated coaching. I don’t know. I kind of stepped away from the game and thought ‘Well, what am I going to do with the rest of my life?’ I always wanted to go back to school, I knew that Concordia had a real good coaching program and decided to jump into to school and they wanted me to grad assist their beach program. It was a great experience.
“I just offered to Betsi and Julia, ‘Hey, if you need help with practice here and there, I’m around if you want it in the fall.’ I helped them a little bit before Australia and then come winter and spring, they reached out and asked if I’m interested in coaching them full-time. I said ‘Yeah, let’s give it a go.’ And it’s been fun.”
Ross joins a growing list of beach volleyball players who are either pregnant or just had their children. Delaney Mewhirter — and VBM beach editor Travis Mewhirter — had their son, Austin, in mid-April. One week later, Mark Burik welcomed his daughter, Mackenzie, into his home. Kendra Van Zwieten, Sheila Shaw, Emily Day, and Alix Klineman, Ross’ gold medalist partner in Tokyo, are all currently pregnant.
The only top-level AVP pro who is a mom is Betsi Flint.
“As the only woman with an Olympic medal of all three colors — silver in London in 2012, bronze in Rio in 2016, gold in Tokyo in 2021 — she has nothing left to accomplish or prove to anyone, including herself.”
If we are talking about U.S. volleyball players, Foluke Akinradewo and Jordan Larson both have medals of each coler.
Just talking beach players