PVL Season 3: David Kisiel - born in USA, attained stardom in Europe, now finding ‘joy’ in India

Chennai, Feb 29 (IANS): The Prime Volleyball League has brought many international stars to India, providing an opportunity for foreign players, as well as Indian enthusiasts, a chance to experience top-grade volleyball in the country. One such player is David Kisiel, who is part of the Kolkata Thunderbolts franchise where he plays as an attacker in the ongoing Season 3 of Prime Volleyball League in Chennai.

Kisiel’s introduction to volleyball was purely accidental. Starting his sporting career with basketball from the age of 5, he received his introduction to the sport after his twin sister Natalie, asked him to play as a substitute in a match with her.

“It was a co-ed team. I joined their practice and I had a good time out there. That was my first introduction to the sport. After that, I started attending more volleyball camps. I started playing in high school and then joined a club team. After that, I got recruited to play at a Division One University (Grand Canyon University), which is the top level in USA,” he recalled.

Despite a good track record in the University, Kisiel had to struggle to earn his first professional contract. At the time, he began pursuing computer science courses to become a software engineer. After working through a few internships during his university days, he managed to land a great opportunity.

“Because I had a very good job opportunity lined up as a software engineer, working in the same company as my brother or I could take the route of becoming a professional volleyball player. And this was actually a very hard decision for me because, with sports, you never know how long you can play for,” he recalled.

This time, too, fortunes turned for him, when Kisiel was called up by the Dutch Club VC Limac during a tough season.

“They told me ‘we’re not having a good season. We need someone to come here and help turn things around.’ I flew out there. It was supposed to be a one-week trial and after one practice, they gave me a contract. I believed I have God-given athletic skills, so, I joined them.”

The 26-year-old joined up with the Savo Volley, a Finland-based club, which earned him the opportunity to play in the prestigious CEV Champions League. “It was something I really wanted to do because it helped me get the exposure to the entire European volleyball market and play at a high level,” Kisiel said.

Kisiel’s family remained supportive of his choices, despite him being the only one in his family to pursue sports as a career. While his twin sister works as a nurse, his elder brother, Matthew is a software engineer. His father (now retired) and his mother work at a hospital.

While he was making a name for himself in Europe, he was informed about the Prime Volleyball League by Matt August, who represented the Kolkata Thunderbolts in the first season. Kisiel, who trained with Matt in his hometown, kept asking him about the league, and once he found out there was an opening in the franchise, he shared his videos and portfolio with the franchise via Matt August.

“After speaking with Matt, he spoke very highly about this team, and about this league and his experience here. So since then, I spoke with the Kolkata Thunderbolts management, and they were interested in bringing me here and that’s how the process started.”

Having already been a regular in the starting line-up for the Thunderbolts this season, Kisiel said that he is impressed to see the athletic nature of the Indian volleyball stars and is enjoying the new and fresh scoring systems and the rules in India.

“Indian players are very athletic; they can jump very high and hit the ball hard. But it seems like there’s more technicality and more fundamentals in Europe. The level I played in Finland and the European Championship Cups, the level is a bit higher, but the format is different. Here, the rules like the super point and the sets of 15 points make it a completely different game where anything can happen. This style makes volleyball so much fun to play. Anyone can win this league,” he said.

Always wanting to visit India and experience the cultural vastness of the country, Kisiel is also enjoying his time currently in Chennai and believes the league has brought joy back to his sporting career.

“India has been very cool to experience. This was a perfect opportunity for me at this stage of my career life. I have been playing for several years, and there are a lot of ups and downs that come with playing as a professional. The takeaway from here so far is that there’s a lot of joy in this sport and I am thankful to the league for bringing it back to my life,” he signed off.



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Title: PVL Season 3: David Kisiel - born in USA, attained stardom in Europe, now finding ‘joy’ in India

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