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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Former Beacons volleyball star signs pro contract in Austria

“It was always a goal at the end of my college career to play overseas.

“It was always a goal at the end of my college career to play overseas.”

After four years of college, Shannon Thompson, volleyball player and recent graduate of the University of Massachusetts Boston, struggled to find the career path she wanted to pursue. One thing she knew for certain was that she wanted to play volleyball.
“I think my decision to keep playing came from the fact that I didn’t know which career path I was ready to take. Volleyball has always been a huge factor in my life and it was only right to have it only be my focus as a career,” Thompson said.
The three-time American Volleyball Coaches Association All-American will continue her professional career with VC Tirol, located in Innsbruck, Austria. The powerful middle hitter became the first Beacon volleyball player to sign a contract with a professional team.
Playing overseas is something that the two-time NCAA Division III Regional Tournament MVP’s goal to play overseas has long striven for, and that goal seemed more realistic when she suited up for the Beacons her freshman year.
Her career with the Beacons is unparalleled. She holds the school record for kills and will undoubtedly be a first-ballot UMass Boston Hall-of-Famer.
“It was always a goal at the end of my college career to play overseas and I had been telling people that since I came to college,” Thompson said. When asked if she ever doubted her abilities, she said “I think everyone would have a little doubt, but I always knew if I gave it my all and came to the tryout ready that I would make it.”
Growing up, Thompson was influenced by her two older sisters, who also played volleyball. While she initially played soccer, Thompson fell in love with the ability to compete in sports. At a young age, she knew then that her future resided somewhere on a court or playing field.
“My older sisters both played and because of that, they taught me how to play. I didn’t start playing on a team until I was 12. I think I always knew that I wanted to play a professional sport, I just didn’t know which one,” Thompson said.
Experiencing sports at a young age, and growing up around family members who devoted their life to their respective sports were instrumental in Thompson’s career.
When asked about her sisters, Thompson said “that is what really got me interested in wanting to play professionally and then in college. Right from the start I was telling people that my goal after was to play overseas,” Thompson said.
Thompson’s decision to play for the Beacons was an easy one. Her love of the city, the UMass Boston coaching staff, and the bright future of the program were a few reasons why Thompson decided to make the move from her hometown, Moorpark, Calif., to Boston.
“I settled on UMass Boston for so many reasons. The volleyball program was on the verge of a championship and I knew that I wanted to be on a winning team. The coaching staff also really influenced me because I had other visits with other schools and I didn’t click with the coaches like I did with the coaching staff here. The location also was a huge influence because I wanted to be in a city and get that city life.”
Perhaps the most important person in the process of Thompson turning pro was Beacons head coach Terry Condon, with whom she had a special relationship with during her time on campus. Thompson said “Coach Condon was very instrumental in helping me. She told me what I needed to do before I went to the tryout camp and had so many contacts to help me find places to play.” She added “(Coach Condon) has always told me that she knew I could play overseas and I just trusted her in what she was saying. She has tons of experience and knows better than I do.”
While Austria is many miles away from her friends, family, and life in California and Boston, Thompson is eager to begin her career and take in the new culture she finds herself in the midst of.
“I get to learn a new language and experience a new culture that I have never experienced before. I am very excited to take in the new culture. … I had never even been to Europe before all this started. So, everywhere I go is something new I have never experienced or seen before,” Thompson said.
Thompson said that when her playing days are over, she’d like to coach at some level, but other than that, she’s just living in the moment. To keep track of VC Tirol, check out the team’s website.