Logan Tom, a pivotal player for the USA Women's National Team has launched her professional sporting career in one of the heartlands of Volleyball, the Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte.
Tom, who was outstanding for the USA at the 2002 Women's World Championship, has made her professional debut with MRV/Minas of the Brazil Superliga, scoring six points in her opening match, USA Volleyball has announced.
Tom, a two-time American Volleyball Coaches Association Player of the Year and four-time first-team All-American in her four seasons at Stanford University, joined one of the best teams in the top Brazilian domestic league on Jan. 4 shortly after finishing her collegiate eligibility with a runner-up finish at the NCAA Championships.
Teams in four countries (Brazil, Italy, Puerto Rico and Spain) made offers to sign the talented American, a 2000 Olympian for the United States at the age of 19 and one of the stars of the American team that captured the silver medal at the 2002 World Championships in Germany.
But in the end she chose to play in Brazil, which she has admitted is one of her favorite places to play in the world.
"I looked at everything all of the teams offered and Brazil came out on top," said Tom, 21. "Brazil has always been one of my favorite places to play, so of course it is a bonus to get to play here. But I just wanted to start my professional career."
Tom, however has had to sacrifice her trademark No. 15 jersey, which was already in possession of another team member (Marina Donati Daloca). Instead, she will wear the No. 17 for her new team.
The season runs until the end of April, and Tom figures to return to Colorado Springs, Colo., to resume training with the USA Women's National Team "sometime in May."
Until then she is working hard to learn a new language (Portuguese) and to adjust to life as a professional athlete.
"Very few of the people here speak English, and I am just learning how to speak Portuguese," Tom admits. "But everyone has been really helpful. It gets better each day."