Sam Jackman signs with Swedish volleyball team Floby VK
Jackman is the first Jimmies men's volleyball player to ever sign a professional contract.
JAMESTOWN — For the first time in the University of Jamestown men’s volleyball program history, a player has signed to play professional volleyball.
On July 9, opposite hitter Sam Jackman signed a one-year contract to play for Floby VK in Floby, Sweden.
“As we are a fairly new program to UJ, it feels good to start a legacy,” Jackman said. “(I am) hoping that by me going and playing pro other recruits choose UJ and join the team.”
In preparation for heading out to Sweden, Jackman said he has been working hard in the gym.
“It’s been a straight grind, I go hit (the) weights and hit balls every chance I get,” Jackman said. “Seeing as I’m stepping into a professional league the bottom line for skill level has been raised so I have to push my ability as well.”
Jackman said the process of signing with the team was a simple one after he and the team’s head coach, Felix Cassanova, agreed on his role on the team.
“My role will be very similar to my previous position as a points scorer in as many ways as possible including aggressive serving and lots of blocks,” Jackman said.
In his final season with the Jimmies, Jackman had 301 kills, 23 aces, 39 blocks and six assists. After the Jimmies season came to an end in a pool play loss to Grand View University, Jackman broke down in tears.
“That feeling has sat with me every time I hit balls and every time I push weight,” Jackman said. “I will play every game in Sweden as if it was my last and (until) my last bit of energy.”
Jackman is joining a team that hasn’t won a league championship since 1997, which he hopes he can help fix.
“Both of the top two teams have big attackers and play rather aggressively,” Jackman said. “I see our best chance to win would be to play free and respect my opponents.”
It will be the first time Jackman will play the sport outside of North America, and he said he is expecting the top teams in Sweden to be superteams, which is more than what is seen in the U.S. and Canada.
“If you look at the top players in both leagues you’ll see a lot of similarities but in the pro leagues, you’ll see more high-level players stacked on the same teams,” Jackman said.
One of the things Jackman doesn’t have to worry about is finding a place to live.
“They have an apartment already furnished for me to come live in and flight tickets to get me to Sweden and back on top of my monthly salary,” Jackman said.
Jackman said he is looking forward to going to Floby and joining other North American products Dalen Instenes, Jeff Lam and Ian Parish.
“After hearing about the league and the players there I am beyond excited to finally get there and join the mix,” Jackman said.
The professional contract is not the only life-changing event for Jackman during the summer as he also got married. Jackman said he and his wife, Bailey, are heading to Floby in mid-August.