A successful 5 years in the NCAA, Hyde Reflects on his American College Experience most only dream about.
For most young aspiring athletes playing a sport in the NCAA is seen to be the pinnacle experience that young athletes can aim and strive towards. For those who get to actually experience the student athlete lifestyle are few and far between, especially our very own Aussie's who are slowly beginning to make their mark in the NCAA. This week Volleylink caught up with one athlete who has just completed his 5 years of eligibility in the NCAA, successfully walking away with a double degree and life experience most will only ever dream about. Volleylink would like to welcome Charles Hyde, a young Victorian middle blocker who reflects on his time in the NCAA at Barton College and gives advice for those aspiring juniors of Australia.
1. Which University do you play for, what course do you study and what year of eligibility are you currently in?
I played for four years at Barton College in North Carolina in NCAA DI/II. I graduated in May 2018 with a double bachelor’s degree in Accountancy and Business Administration.
2. Can you please sum up your overall NCAA experience for the 2017/18 season?
Although we lost in the Conference finals, we battled through so much adversity in the form of injuries and sometimes pure bad luck, it showed how cohesive we were as a group. It just goes to show that repeating championships is a very difficult thing. It made me appreciate our first championship in 2017 that much more.
3. Why did you choose to play in the NCAA initially how did it come about?
I had always wanted to go to college in America from the age of 10, although at the time it was through basketball. As I got older and picked up volleyball, I realised there would be more opportunities for me to play volleyball collegiately. My parents were very supportive of this pursuit, and I emailed coaches for about 6 months before eventually accepting a scholarship and committing to Barton College.
4. What has been your best volleyball memory at Barton?
Winning the Conference Carolinas championship in my Junior year in 2017 will always be an unforgettable feeling. Following this up by playing at the NCAA D1 Final 6 at Ohio State capped off my favourite month of volleyball probably ever.
5. What are your plans after graduation, will you return back to Australia?
Although there were opportunities to continue playing volleyball at universities in England, I decided the best thing for me would be to come back home and begin my finance career. I would definitely recommend considering playing in England after you graduate, as it is possible to get a Master’s degree and scholarship money.
6. What advice would you give to young Aussie's interested in the university pathway?
I would definitely tell them to pursue it, it is such a rewarding experience personally and as an athlete. Moving to a new country at 18 years old will give you friends from around the world, as well as a deeper understanding of different cultures and perspectives. Despite knowing no one in America when I went over, my teammates and coaches at Barton were so supportive, it was easy to fit right in, it is a real family environment. With Australia having such a good reputation in the USA, a lot of people are very interested to meet you and I have received many compliments about my accent (an underrated perk)!
7. As a non-national team player, do you strive to play for your country or is playing the sport of Volleyball at a NCAA level enough of an achievement for you?
I personally do not strive to play for Australia, playing NCAA volleyball required playing volleyball 5 or 6 days a week with 3 lifting sessions, so I believe I had my fair share of living the elite athlete life! Another reason I chose to go to college in the USA is the fact that America is the hub of global finance, so I always planned on leveraging the experience to get a job back home by differentiating myself from other candidates who had taken the regular path of going to school in Australia and living in their home comfort zone.
Quick Fire Questions:
1. My favourite volleyball drill is? Hitting lines
2. American accents? Yes
3. The Student Athlete Lifestyle? Yes
4. Favourite American food: Buffalo Wild Wings or Chipotle… please don’t make me pick!
5. Biggest rival NCAA team: Mount Olive College
6. Indoor or Beach? Indoor until the NCAA starts men’s beach volleyball (I’m hoping in the next five years)
7. One thing I could never understand about America? Why banks and pharmacies have drive thru
8. What is your volleyball nickname? Kangaroo
9. Favourite team-mate at Barton: Might get in trouble here… I love everyone equally
10. What is your dream job? Being a CEO at an NBA or Football team
11. Favourite time to play volleyball: Having practised at both 6am and 10pm until midnight, I can definitely say: Evening… although before 10pm is optimal…
12. Gatorade or Powerade? Gatorade
13. What is the best thing about the Campus at Barton? The brand new weight room
14. The thing I miss most about Australia is: the bacon, I would recommend uncured turkey bacon as a substitute
15. When you have 30mins of free time, what do you do? Fortnite, nap or study. Sometimes a combination of all three…
16. What is your favourite cuisine? In America, it would have to be Mexican, unbelievable cheap food and I have heard that their margaritas are good too…
17. One thing about volleyball that you hate? Jarring fingers when blocking
18. Favourite TV show? Entourage
19. If I played another sport in college, what would that be? Basketball
20. One word to describe the volleyball player you are? Fast