Former Badger Tiffany Clark finishes first professional season in Athletes Unlimited Volleyball League
Former Wisconsin Badger, Tiffany Clark, just competed in the first professional season with the new USA based league, Athletes Unlimited Volleyball. The inaugural season was a success.
“I’m excited for the future of AU just because I think it’s ushering in a whole new era for women’s sports in the US,” said Clark.
Tiffany and 44 other volleyball players from around the world spent nearly two months in a bubble, or as the players referred to it a shield since they shared their hotel with the public, in Dallas playing volleyball.
Each week, based on points for kills, aces, assists, digs, blocks and passes four new captains select their roster for the week facing off in three matches per week.
Clark opened the tournament as a captain with the third most points in the first week’s scrimmages.
“It was so cool to see like ‘Team Clark’ up on the broadcast. I was like come on, this is pretty cool,” said Clark. “I loved the system. The draft was nerve racking but also it was so exciting, like ‘oh who’s team am I going to be on. I’m hope on that team’.”
Clark got to play with many different players and many different styles. The highlight may have been playing not once but twice with two-time Olympic medalist with Team USA, Jordan Larson, who Clark called a ‘class act’.
“When I was on her team she was just always helping. Always giving advice, helping me out, how to make my game a little better and she does not need to do that at all,” said Clark. “Just a true leader. I would follow her anywhere, truly. She’s awesome.”
Each athlete played for a cause Clark played for non-profit environmental law organization EarthJustice. Clark plans to go into environmental law when her playing career is over.
“I feel very passionately that we need to protect the environment in order to provide a healthy world for future generations,” said Clark.
Clark had a nice viral moment in the first week of the tournament giving out bird facts when mic’d up for her teams opening match.
“All the girls found out that I love bird watching. That’s one of my hobbies outside of volleyball to decompress from it I guess. They kept asking for bird facts, so I gave them bird facts,” said Clark. “I had so many comments about bird facts. People were like we want more bird facts in my Instagram DMs it was hilarious.”
On top of the other innovations of the league, it also has Topps training cards for the athletes.
“Seeing volleyball but also female athletes on those is something that I’ve never seen before personally. That was really really cool. I was excited that they did that.”
Clark finished the five-week competition 14th in total points with 2,529. She also had the fifth most points in digs with 865. She proved to herself that she can compete with the best at the highest levels.
“I’m excited because there’s so many more things that I can grow. A whole new level has been opened up for me. And now I can work on things and see what I need to improve on from that game film. I think it’s only up from here.”
Clark took a little bit of time off to recover from AU volleyball but plans to train for a potential invite to Team USA training camp for the Pan-Am Cup team. Following that she will play with AU once again or head overseas. But her eyes will always be on a future Olympic team.
“I’m looking forward to 2024,” says Clark.