YORKTON - A new professional sports league launches in January.
The Pro Volleyball Federation is scheduled to start play in late January as a professional women’s volleyball league.
The Orlando Valkyries, a member team of the Pro Volleyball Federation, have announced the signing of Canadian national team Shaïnah Joseph.
“I’m really excited about it . . . About having professional volleyball in North America,” she told Yorkton This Week in a recent interview.
“Shaïnah Joseph brings an impressive track record to the Valkyries. Her journey is highlighted by a remarkable period at the University of Florida, where she secured three Southeastern Conference titles and played a pivotal role in guiding her team to the 2017 NCAA National Championship Finals,” noted www.orlandoprovb.com “Internationally, she is part of the Canadian National Team and has prior experience with professional teams in France, Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Bulgaria. Her versatility on the court and leadership qualities have earned her a well-deserved reputation.”
Joseph’s signing was announced along with deals for Aury Cruz, and Vanessa Agbortabi.
“I am really excited to have this group of athletes signed with the Valkyries and the Pro Volleyball Federation. They bring several years of national team and professional experience can’t be measured,” said Amy Pauly, Head Coach of the Orlando Valkyries in the online article. “Aury especially was with the Puerto Rican national team for 20 years and has played in some of the best leagues in the world. I anticipate she’s going to be a key leader for our group and a steady contributor to our team. Vanessa and Shaïnah have recently been playing on the biggest stages of volleyball – at the VNL and the Norceca finals. Their infectious energy and their competitiveness are going to be instrumental in building our team culture and making this team successful.”
Joseph said she actually had interest from more than one team.
“I had a couple of choices,” she said, adding she said initially there was some “skepticism about the league.
Then the Orlando coach called.
“She said ‘we really want you to be a franchise player’,” said Joseph, adding she saw that as “a very cool opportunity.”
It helped too that Joseph had played college volleyball with the Florida Gators, and she saw that as an opportunity to bring some Gator fans to the pro game.
Overall Joseph said she saw “a bigger role” being offered with Orlando.
Part of that role will be the same as every other player, building a foundation to sustain the league.
“It is pretty inspiring being one of the players starting something new,” said Joseph, adding she recognizes the players are very much pioneers in season one. “. . . I think all of us are super excited.”
While launching with seven teams, new franchises are already being announced for 2025, and Joseph said 14 are expected by 2026.
Could one of those franchises be in Canada?
“Absolutely! That would be amazing,” said Joseph.
Joseph said having an NBA team in Canada has certainly grown the profile of basketball in her home country and a PVF team could do the same for volleyball.
In college Joseph said she has always felt she was “carrying the Canadian flag”, and now it will be the same in the PVF showing the league Canadians can play volleyball too.
The Valkyries hit the court for their first game Jan. 26, hosting the Atlanta Vibe.
Joseph said she is working out with her old college team and in the coming weeks will be working on “getting my heart and spirit in a good place going into the upcoming season.”