Hande Yetis: "NOMOS EVE is one of the memories I would never forget"
1) What inspired you to come to America to play volleyball? Why the US?
The thing that inspired me the most was my friends who come to US before me and while I was talking with them, I realized that this was the best decision for me. Another reason was, US has the best resources compared to other countries. They provide every single detail for you. They also plan your classes and practice schedule so it is easier to make everything work together. Our sport equipments, food…everything that comes to your mind is provided by school. When I think about all of these stuff, US was the best option for me.
2) What were some of your concerns and expectations about college sports in the US? What criteria determined the choice of university?
The level of volleyball is so good at US. We have very strong opponents. Before coming here, I didn’t think that we would have hard matches. Especially, defense, serving and blocking level is so high. I always trusted my volleyball performance before coming here and I think I will learn a lot while playing in the US. While making my school decision, first thing I did was deciding which division and conference I wanted to play. Then, I looked at the rosters and see if they have seniors that are going to graduate in my position. Also, I looked at the schools coaching staff.
3) When did you start the university searching process? Are you happy with your choice? Do you have stories you can share with us that marked you from this experience, something you will remember for the rest of your life?
I started searching for universities when I was a senior in high school. I am so happy with my decision because I am playing in a really good team and my major is very successful too. At the end of 2019, I was going to take the SAT exam and I only had 1 month to study because I was a senior and I also had school and club matches. I was trying my best to work both of them together. I remember that I only slept for 13 hours in 4 days. I spent those days talking to Tassos and he remembers how stressed I was. The last week before the exam was so hard for me but at the end I got the score I wanted and we also won our club games. This week was a week that I will remember the rest of my life. Another memory I have is my NOMOS EVE 2020 journey. I was going to travel that week and before I travel I also had one club game at İzmir. After the game, I packed two bags. One of them is for my travel to Marmaris and other one is for NOMOS EVE 2020. We traveled and everything was going good. We were winning all of our games. Then we were going to play our final game… The time we are going to play and my flight to Selanik only had 1 hour in between. So me and my coaches started to think what we can do about this situation. Also, one of my teammate was going to fly with me to Selanik. We were paying that our game will end early. We got so lucky because our opponent didn’t show up to the game and my coach said “ This is a sign, everything worked out perfectly for you guys to go.” We made it on time to the flight and I will remember this day for the rest of my life.
4) A year ago to the day, you took part in NOMOS EVE 2020 in Thessaloniki, how did that help you make your dream come true and what do you think about the services provided by Nomos?
NOMOS EVE 2020 is one of the memories I would never forget. I met some amazing coaches from really good schools like Stanford, Wisconsin… Everything was planned perfectly throughout the whole camp: the place you stay, practice gym, equipments…and the time frame for these were also planned perfectly. Without NOMOS EVE 2020, I wouldn’t come and play for my school. They taped our practices and they sent them to the coaches who wouldn’t make it to the organization. It is a really hard process but with these resources lots of coaches watched me and my chance to find a scholarship increased. Everyone should go to this organization and I am grateful for NOMOS.
5) You are one of the star and starting freshmen this season, and doing remarkably well for your team. You have been charged with leading a team that is doing brilliantly in your very competitive Conference USA, and you are rising to the occasion. How has it been, tips for rookies, and thoughts for the challenging weeks ahead?
When I first got here I had some hard times because I was a freshman and also I was international. The system, culture, language, people...I learned everything from the beginning. First few weeks I missed my family, my house and my friends but my coaches and teammates supported me a lot. They thought me everything that I needed to know and they still continue to help me with everything. It’s only been 1 and a half months since I started practicing with the team and we have a really young team. I am sure that we are going to do great things. In the court, I am trying my best to play with my full focus and I am trying my best to play the sport I love. I am focusing on what I want to do and why I am here. My old coaches, my family and my friends help me a lot with this. I am getting my power from them. Next week we have a really strong opponent, Rice University and I trust my team a lot. It’s going to be a hard match and we started to prepare for that game. We are going to do our best.
6) Academically you were an excellent student, but the transition to a University abroad is always challenging, with all classes in English, and overall a demanding transition, let alone for a student athlete. Reflections on your academic progress, still pursuing Engineering, and any other thoughts for the academic value of the US journey?
I care about school a lot and for me, success is not only volleyball so I am studying for my classes a lot. Right now, I am a freshman and I have easy classes but I am having a hard time with language barrier. I am trying to talk to my professors one on one. My academic advisors help me a lot with school. Engineering is my passion and especially with volleyball I know that it is going to be hard but I will do my best. My goal is to get through the next 4 years while doing my best and I also want some good internship experiences.
7) What advice would you give to athletes who are thinking of following a path similar to yours? What do you have to say to parents and athletes who are considering starting this journey?
You have to be sure that you really want this because when you come here you are going live alone and it takes so much responsibility. Sometimes there will be some things that you don’t plan to occur and at that point all you have to think is that how much you want to be here. You have to be patient and you have to work hard. Sometimes how hard you work you will still fail at somethings but If you continue to be patient you will get through everything. Dear parents, If you see that light in your child's eyes, how far it is you will still let them go because there is a bright future that is waiting for them in US.