Australian men’s indoor volleyball veteran Travis Passier returns to the Volleyroos for the Olympic qualifying campaign
Travis Passier has been juggling the realities of life as an International volleyballer. With family and work commitments, he is preparing to make a return to the Australian team for the Intercontinental Olympic Qualifying tournament in Italy.
Australia will need to finish on top of a pool, which includes powerhouse teams Italy and Serbia, and with Cameroon also in their group. The team at the top of the pool automatically makes it through to the Tokyo Olympics.
If the Volleyroos don’t make it through from this tournament, they will need to finish in the top eight at the Asian Championships, then go to an Asian Olympic qualifying event in January, with the top team making it through to Tokyo.
Travis missed the recent Volleyball Nations League to focus on work and family. “It was a family decision,” he said, “I have a son now and my wife has been off work looking after him, so I needed to find a job that actually pays. So I have been teaching for the past six months and training whenever I can.”
A graduate of the University of Canberra with a Bachelor of Science degree, Travis has been working as a teacher at Kaleen High School. He says he will continue that role after the Olympic qualifiers.
He is well aware of the commitment required, having been involved in full-time volleyball since accepting a scholarship at the AIS when he was just 15 years of age, before making his Australian senior debut in 2008.
Now 30 years old, he says next year will be last opportunity to play at the Olympics; “This will be my last crack at the Olympics. I don’t think I can go another four years. Not only family commitments but also the old body is starting to feel it. Hopefully it holds out for next year.”
A veteran of over 250 games for the Volleyroos, Travis says he is hoping to make an impact after missing the VNL; “It feels great. I like seeing the boys’ personal growth and watch how the team evolved over the VNL.” He says, “It’s good to try and get myself back up to that level. The have been playing really well. They struggled a bit in some of the bigger games, being up and down, so I’m hoping I can come in with more of a level head, being outside for a while, I can provide some stability.”
The reality of raising a family while keeping his dream alive of playing in his second Olympics has given him perspective; “I haven’t been on the international scene much this year. It’s not viable with a family, having bills and a mortgage doesn’t really work with earning reasonably small amounts in the professional season. So I have to work and keep volleyball going with the AVL.”
For the time being, Travis is enjoying being back in the Volleyroos team environment; “It’s awesome, particularly seeing everyone’s personal growth when they were overseas.”
Travis, who last played for Australia at the 2018 World Championships, is expected to play a key role in Australia’s quest to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.