After almost 15 years of international competition, Beach Blacks player Sam O'Dea has called time on his international career in beach volleyball.
O'Dea penned an open letter to the volleyball community to confirm his decision after competing in the recent Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
After close to 15 years of international competition, I’ve decided to hang up the boots or more appropriately the sunnies, cap and shorts.
I could have never imagined the journey I’ve had playing volleyball, the places, the people, and the huge highs and lows over the years.
It's been an epic journey with memories I'll have for the rest of my life. As much as I still love competing, I have many other things that I want to do in my life that I cannot do while still playing.
I want to plant my feet on the ground for a while, experience some colder months and follow some other dreams I have.
There have been many people that have had a huge impact on my career, coaches, partners, sponsors, supporters and organisations that have allowed me to follow my dreams and I will be forever grateful to them.
Knowing when to leave is hard, it's a big decision and a very personal one. I hope that during my time I have represented New Zealand well and I leave the sport in a better place.
VNZ High Performance Coach Jason Lochhead acknowledged O’Dea’s retirement comes after an outstanding commitment to his own development and the game in New Zealand for more than a decade.
“Sam has devoted himself to beach volleyball over a long period and achieved some outstanding results for himself, his team-mates and his country on the international stage,” Lochhead said.
“He is an incredibly talented player, but we understand that he is ready to move on to the next chapter of his life.
“I’ve really valued working with him and he’s produced some great performances on the FIVB World Tour. On behalf of everyone in the New Zealand volleyball community, we wish him well for the future and what’s to come.”