Lloy Ball has announced that he is stepping away from his playing career when his current season in Russia is finished.
“I will take a year off to reconnect with family and friends,” Ball said via e-mail of the year following his departure from Russia. “I will also take this time to reflect on what path my life will take next.”
Ball, 39, listed several reasons for his wanting to step away from the court, at least as a player.
“One is health; this year I have had many more aches and pains than in years past,” he said. “Plus, recently I have had a knee injury that will require surgery after this season.”
Ball is currently playing for the Russian club team Zenit Kazan, which is in the finals of the Super League playoffs. It is his fifth year playing for the city of Kazan, which he has led to three Russian Super League titles.
While Ball has had a great deal of success with overseas club teams, it usually separates him from his wife, Sarah, and their children, Dyer and Mya, who live in Angola, Ind., when they cannot be with Ball overseas.
“It has become more difficult to balance family and this career,” he said.
Ball was named the Most Valuable Player and Best Setter of the 2008 FIVB World League Final Round as the U.S. Men won their first World League title ever. That set the stage for the team’s success in Beijing, where it won eight straight matches to take the gold.
“He was great,” McCutcheon said. “I look at his performance in the year and a half he was with us. There were so many great matches where he got the job done. I cherish the working relationship he and I had.”
Ball lists his three favorite memories of playing with the U.S. Men’s Team as :
1) Winning a bronze medal at the 1994 World Champ.
2) Walking in at the open ceremonies at the 1996 Olympics.
3) Winning the Gold in 2008.
When asked what advice he would give to players on a boys’ high performance team, Ball responded, “Work every day like someone else is trying to take your position; because THERE IS!!!!”