Volleyball players from around the world are going to be hitting the sand for the Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals in Fort Lauderdale.
The tournament will have 16 two-person men and women’s teams, as well as four wild card teams, with the winning duo raking in $100,000.“It’s a great place for beach volleyball — the audience is knowledgeable and they’ll cheer loud,” said April Ross, a wild card player for the U.S. team. “They’re going to get a great show.”
Out Player Profile: Larissa França MaestriniHailing from Fortaleza, Brazil, the 33-year-old volleyball player hit the professional beach volleyball scene in 2001 after playing indoor volleyball for a number of years. She won a bronze medal in the Pan American Games in 2003 and also won a bronze medal at the Olympic Games in 2012 with her partner. In 2005, she and her then-volleyball partner, Juliana Felisberta Silva, set a record for the highest single season earnings when they won $409,750 in winnings.
An openly out player, Franca Mestrini married her partner, Liliane Maestrini, also a beach volleyball player, in 2013. The two had come out as a couple — and lesbian — just a month prior. In Brazil, gay marriage has been legal since 2004.“It is important to fight for what do you want,” she told SFGN. “Being a winner at the beach volleyball is not as easy as being one in life. But if you do just things that you like, it can be a little easier.”
IF YOU GO What: Swatch FIVB World Tour FinalsWhere: Fort Lauderdale Beach Park, 1100 Seabreeze Blvd. in Fort LauderdaleWhen: Sept. 29 to Oct. 4