Newman University alumna Jada Key ’22 is taking her passion for volleyball to the next level with a professional opportunity in Germany.
Key, a native of Omaha, Nebraska, played women’s volleyball at Newman during her undergraduate years. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology in 2022 and recently signed to play professional volleyball for ProWin Volleys TV Holz, a team based in the German state of Saarland.
“What I’m most looking forward to is seeing and experiencing new things outside of my comfort zone and getting the chance to live the dream I’ve been dreaming about since I started playing,” Key said.
“After years of hard work and people doubting me, all the early mornings and late nights, lifting and eating right, it feels incredibly good to say that I made it pro and get to play the sport I love as a job.”
Key arrived in Germany this August and will play in her first game on Sept. 17.
The path to the present
She explained that travel and otherwise, it was a long journey to get there.
“The process of getting signed to a team is far from easy, at least it is for the pro volleyball world,” Key explained.
Key first had to get signed to an agency by creating an athletic resume and highlight video.
“That process alone took me about two and a half months to make,” Key said. “After that, I did about a month or two of research to send my application to agencies that I thought would help me get the best contract possible.”
She finally found an agent. After she signed, though, Key endured a “very long and painful waiting period.”
She added, “This was the part where it was a waiting game to see who would pick up the bait and what kind of offers I would receive. After what seemed like a decade of waiting, my agent texted me on a Wednesday morning saying, ‘We have an offer from a team in Germany, he will be contacting you shortly for a meeting.’”
“I remember my cheeks hurting from smiling so hard that day and reading that,” Key said.
While the call itself was nerve-wracking, it went so well that a contract was drawn up immediately after.
Now that the wait is over and she’s finally living in Germany and practicing with her new team, Key feels all the hurdles were worth it.
“Germany is a great fit for me so far,” she said. “Newman prepared me for this journey because it taught me that it’s okay to be comfortably uncomfortable. Although there are language barriers and different foods and ways of life here than I’m used to, the fact that I’m out seeing the world, trying new things and not afraid to fail is something that Newman taught me.”
Laying the foundation for success
“One of the many things that brought me to Newman was the volleyball program,” Key said. “I wanted to compete at a high level and become a better person on and off the court, and knew that this was the program that was going to get me there.”
During her senior year, Key won a Jetspy, which was something she had really hoped for.
“I won the Top Gun Female Athlete Award, and knowing that my teammates and other athletes noticed my hard work meant a lot to me,” she said.
Key also came to Newman for its academics.
“Knowing that I was going to be a person and not a number in a classroom made it an easy decision,” she said. “I knew the day I stepped on campus for the first time that it was a place I would be able to call my second home.”
Key graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology with a concentration in occupational therapy and minors in psychology and sports medicine. She plans to put her degree to use after her professional volleyball experience in Germany.
“I’m so extremely excited to see where this chapter of my life takes me, and I hope that my Newman family and other family and friends are supporting me and cheering me on from the states. I’ve worked for this moment my whole life, and I know for a fact that nobody is as proud of me as I am for following my dreams even when it got hard.”
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