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April 22, 2009

A Rambler, Gator and globetrotter

By Jon Malavolti
C & G Sports Writer

Volleyball takes Fraser native around the world

Fraser native Angie McGinnis has gone from being renowned across Macomb County for her volleyball skills to being renowned worldwide.

After playing collegiately at the University of Florida, she’s trekked across parts of Canada, most of Europe, Japan, China, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Most recently, the former Fraser High star completed her first season playing professionally for the Turkish club Besiktas in Istanbul.

“I always saw the possibility of volleyball taking me around the world, but didn’t know how likely it was to actually happen,” McGinnis said. “I’ve gotten to see some amazing places and learned a lot about different cultures along the way, and it has truly been a remarkable experience.”

After helping her club to a sixth-place finish in Turkey’s top division, she returned home in mid-April. She said her club team plays in one of the top three divisions in the world.

“It’s great,” McGinnis said. “There are many Olympians from different countries that are import players.”

McGinnis signed a one-year contract to play with Besiktas —where she joined several other Americans who play for the club’s men’s and women’s teams.

“There isn’t another city in the world with that many Americans, so it definitely made my first season a lot easier,” she said.

Not only did McGinnis get a chance to learn about different cultures and lifestyles overseas, she was able to reflect on her own life, as well.

“Having nothing to do but play volleyball really gave me a ton of time to myself to relax,” she said. “I learned a lot about myself living on my own. It made me realize I can do anything.

“If I can pick up and move to Turkey on a few days notice, with no family or friends, and have a great time, I can do anything!”

McGinnis did admit to getting homesick, and a visit from her mom midway through the season helped with that.

“I’m a homebody, so it will never be easy on me. But the experiences I have been blessed with are so special that I learned to deal with the distance,” she said.

McGinnis’ next step will keep her in the United States, as she will again train with the Olympic team this summer in Anaheim, Calif. In the meantime, she said she’s looking to sign another professional contract in Europe for the fall.

“I hope that I can continue to play and travel the world,” she said.

Most volleyball fans remember McGinnis for helping to lead Fraser High to state titles in 2003 and 2004, and for winning the Miss Volleyball award in 2004.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Jon Malavolti at jmalavolti@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1040. Twitter Follow Jon on Twitter.