Rachael Adams started playing volleyball during her freshman year in high school and took her career a step forward when signing for four years at the University of Texas in Austin to play volleyball for the Texas Longhorns. During her time there she made it to three Final Fours, a National Championship appearance, and became a Two-Time All-American.
After a successful collegiate career at Texas she ventured overseas for her first season abroad in Bydgoszcz, Poland, where she started her first blog, “My Scenic Route: Living in a City I Can’t Pronounce” After a successful first season she returned to America and set off to California to officially join the US Women’s National Volleyball Team as their newest member.
Following her summer of traveling the world, collecting stamps in her passport, and competing against other countries while representing the USA, she headed back to Poland for season number two where she is currently playing.
Geena Urango played four years on the University of Southern California Women’s Indoor Volleyball team during which they had two Final Four appearances. She then played on the first ever USC Women’s Sand Volleyball team for a fifth year while getting her Master’s and finished 5th at the AVCA Collegiate Sand Volleyball Championships.
After her career at USC, she went on to play for the USA High Performance Beach team. She traveled to the World University Games in China and the World University Championships in Brazil where she took 5th place. She has continued to play on the professional beach volleyball tour in the U.S.
Geena has also experienced the professional volleyball life overseas when living with her boyfriend last year while he was playing in Italy. Since then she has been home while traveling to visit friends overseas. She is anxious to get back across the sea for more adventures.
Our Appreciation for Like-Minded Brains
It’s actually a funny story how Rachael and Geena met. They had played against each other during their junior club volleyball days, but they never formally introduced themselves. That is, until the invention of Twitter. After following each other and realizing through each other’s tweets just how much they had in common (aside from volleyball also being both right-brained and passionate about the digital marketing sphere) Rachael and Geena knew it was a match made in heaven!
Why did We Start Athletes Abroad?
The initial inspiration for Athletes Abroad all began a couple years ago. Rachael had just finished her collegiate career and wanted to go play overseas. But she had so many questions: What is the professional athlete life like? How do you even get over there? Who are you supposed to contact? How do you choose a country? What is the country like? Geena was going through a similar situation when deciding to go live with her boyfriend overseas while he played volleyball professionally. Is my situation normal? Are other significant others going through this? Am I the only person that can’t find peanut butter?
After going through their first year experiences blind-sided, Rachael and Geena connected again over a Direct Message on Twitter. Surprising? (They’re obsessed with social media if you can’t tell.) After picking each other’s minds they realized that they both had the same idea from their personal experiences living the expat life: create a virtual world for professional athletes, significant others and fans/supporters to connect. They found a niche: professional athletes playing overseas. They found something the niche was missing: collaboration and advice. Rachael and Geena wanted to make this community a great experience for everyone, thus they created Athletes Abroad!
Where do We See This Going?
Rachael and Geena see Athletes Abroad becoming a second home for professional athletes of all sports; a place where they can relate and help one another through both the good and the bad. They see Athletes Abroad becoming a main source of information and advice for younger athletes considering this opportunity and everyone else within the community. In addition, they see the site becoming a place for supporters and fans to connect with their favorite athletes in a more personal way. Overall, Rachael and Geena want this to be a welcoming community to any and all, WORLDWIDE!
The Response and How can you Help?
Thus far, the response has been nothing but positive. Athletes Abroad has already had multiple sport additions, and a ton of new athletes have joined the community as well. There have been veterans and Olympians who have reached out to Athletes Abroad and said they wish they had something like this when they were younger and still playing professionally. The support on Twitter has also been phenomenal. Everyone has been so willing to help and Rachael and Geena can’t be thankful enough.
If you want to contribute to the site, any and all are welcome! All you have to do is go to the “Contribute” tab on the Athletes Abroad site and Rachael and Geena will be in touch with you ASAP!