Price Jarman was a rookie this past season in the Brazilian Superliga with Volei Um Itapetininga.
Jarman’s club, in its first season in the Superliga, exceeded expectations by qualifying for the playoffs after finishing eighth in the regular season standings. Itapetininga was knocked out of the playoffs in the first round by eventual champions, SESI-SP.
Tours Volleyball, eight-time French Ligue A champions and winners of the CEV Champions League in 2005, subsequently announced in late May it signed the former BYU All-American middle blocker for the upcoming season. Jarman will be joining fellow American middle Dan McDonnell at Tours when they report to training at the end of August.
Jarman graduated from BYU in 2018. He was two-time AVCA All-American honorable mention and a VolleyballMag second-team All-American. He was only the fifth American player to play in Brazil’s top flight in the past decade and third from BYU along with Russell Holmes in 2011 and Taylor Sander this past year.
VBM: BYU boasts one of the most energetic crowds in all of college volleyball. How did playing at the Smith Field House help prepare you for the playing environments you encountered in Brazil?
PJ: The playing environments were actually pretty similar. Playing in front of big crowds at BYU prepared me for the passionate Brazilian fans. It was different to hear drums and whistles and other noise makers in the crowd though.
VBM: What has been the biggest challenge (on or off the court) of your rookie season?
PJ: The biggest challenge was just getting used to having volleyball be my life 100 percent of the time. In college, I had schoolwork and a social life to help break it up. When you’re playing volleyball professionally, there’s not really time for anything else.
VBM: What was the biggest change you noticed between NCAA volleyball and how the game is played in the Brazilian Superliga?
PJ: The biggest change was just how much talent there was top to bottom in the league. In college, we would have really tough matches and then some others that felt like if we would win if we just showed up. In Brazil, one bad play could be the difference between a win or a loss against anyone. For example, my team was in the middle of the pack, and we beat the eventual champion during the regular season while also losing to the worst team in the league (Sao Judas). It can be a coin toss on any given night who’s going to win.
VBM: In what ways did your game change and grow during your first season abroad?
PJ: I had to get a lot faster in everything: My arm, my feet, my eyes. The speed of the game is just much more intense, and it definitely took some time to adjust. I came back to the United States a much better player than I was when I left.
VBM: Tours Volleyball is a very successful club with a rich pedigree of winning in France and achieving success in European competitions. It is also a club that has shown favor to American middle blockers: Dave Smith played there for five seasons until 2016 and Dan McDonnell had a previous stint with the team back in 2014-2015. What are your expectations, and what are you looking forward to next season?
PJ: This upcoming year in Tours, I expect to win the French Ligue A championship and the French Cup, as well as make a deep run CEV Champions League. I’m really excited to go to such a historically good club and have a chance to play on one of the biggest stages in Europe.
VBM: What are your personal volleyball goals for the upcoming year?
PJ: For the upcoming year, I want to keep getting better and earn a starting spot on my club at Tours. I want to prove that I can play at the absolute top level and then hopefully be considered for more responsibilities with the national team next summer.
VBM: Can you explain how your summer workouts have been?
PJ: The summer has been really good for me. I made the Volleyball Nations League roster for the first time and got to travel to Bulgaria with the team (back from June 28-30 for matches against Serbia, Iran and Bulgaria). I also went to Colima, Mexico to play in the Pan Am Cup for the third time. It’s always a blast getting to train and compete with my friends in the Team USA gym.