Dallas, TX – Athletes Unlimited announced today that its inaugural season will take place at Fair Park Coliseum in Dallas, Texas. Athletes Unlimited Volleyball will be played from February 27 – March 29, 2021.
Earlier this year, Athletes Unlimited announced the Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee as the site for its inaugural volleyball season. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Auditorium became unavailable for use by Athletes Unlimited. Athletes Unlimited Volleyball will not be played in front of fans and will follow all CDC and State guidelines as it pertains to COVID-19.
After a careful review of potential host cities, Athletes Unlimited selected Dallas and the Fair Park Coliseum as the home for its volleyball league. Located just two miles east of Downtown Dallas, Fair Park is a 277-acre campus that is home to the Fair Park Coliseum as well as the State Fair of Texas, Cotton Bowl Stadium and hundreds of events every year.
In October the Dallas City Council approved a master plan for the revitalization of Fair Park, and the Coliseum has recently completed a multi-million-dollar renovation. Athletes Unlimited Volleyball will be the first event to be housed in the Coliseum post-renovations.
"We are honored to partner with Athletes Unlimited as they continue to grow the sport of volleyball and provide more opportunities for women to compete at the professional level here in the United States," said Monica Paul, Executive Director, Dallas Sports Commission. "We consider the sport of volleyball to be a staple within our community, as we annually host the Lone Star Classic National Qualifier, have hosted many USA Volleyball Championships, and are home to more than 14,000 USAV members across the North Texas region. We are excited to welcome the nation's first professional women's indoor volleyball league and look forward to showcasing Dallas to the sport's national and international audiences."
"We are thrilled to partner with the city of Dallas to host our inaugural Athletes Unlimited volleyball league and are proud to be associated with the revitalization of Fair Park," said Jon Patricof, Co-Founder and CEO of Athletes Unlimited. "Texas is one of the epicenters of volleyball in the U.S. at the college and youth level, and we are excited to be bringing the only women's indoor pro league to Dallas. Our athletes cannot wait to play there."
"We're excited that Athletes Unlimited chose the recently renovated Fair Park Coliseum as the host location for their inaugural volleyball season," said Peter Sullivan, General Manager of Fair Park. "As the first event at the Fair Park Coliseum since the renovation, we look forward to showcasing why the venue is a great place to host world-class sporting events."
Athletes Unlimited Volleyball is officially sanctioned by USA Volleyball and will feature 44 of the world's best players including seven Olympians from five different countries, accomplished professional players and recent NCAA graduates during its 30-game season. Jordan Larson (Two-Time Olympic Medalist, University of Nebraska) and Karsta Lowe (Olympic Medalist, UCLA), will be joined by Sheilla Castro (Two-time Olympic Champion), Bethania de la Cruz (Olympian and Two-time Pan American Games Champion), Ozge Kirdar (Turkish National Team member, 2016-17 Challenge Cup Champion and MVP), Ciara Michel (British National Team member, Miami), Aury Cruz (Named Best Server at Olympic Qualifications Tournament for Puerto Rico, Florida) join confirmed players which include Sherridan Atkinson (International Star, Purdue), Katie Carter (International Star, UCLA ), Tiffany Clark (All-American Honorable Mention, Wisconsin), Taylor Cook (International Star, Colorado), Nia Grant (International Star, Penn State), Sareea Freeman (3x ACC Champion, Florida), Erin Fairs (2015 ACC Champion, Louisville), Erica Handley (2020 Czech Republic Cup Winner, Minnesota), Kristen Tupac-Hahn (International Star, Iowa State), Cassidy Lichtman (Two-Time Pan American Gold Medalist with Team USA, Stanford ), Molly Lohman (2016 Global Challenge MVP, Minnesota), Valerie Nichol (German Super Cup Winner, Purdue), Deja McClendon (Unanimous All Big Ten, Penn State), Molly McCage (All-American, Texas), Amanda Peterson (Sports Impact Classic MVP, Ohio State) and Paige Tapp (Two-time Pan Am Games Gold Medalist with Team USA, Minnesota).
Athletes Unlimited leagues feature a range of innovations to bring athletes and fans a unique and intense version of the sport. Individual athletes earn points based on team wins and individual performance and become the champions in team sports. Points can be earned on every play, and the leaderboard changes constantly. Teams will change each week, with the top four athletes in the standings serving as captains and drafting their teams.
In addition to an innovative new approach to sports, Athletes Unlimited offers professional development resources to help players expand their career opportunities. Players are also encouraged to engage in civic leadership initiatives and support a number of non-profit partners through the Athletes Causes program.
Athletes Unlimited was co-founded by Jon Patricof and Jonathan Soros and is supported by its Advisory Board comprised of high-profile contributors from sports, business and entertainment. Members include U.S. Women's National Soccer Team icon Abby Wambach; two-time NBA champion and entrepreneur Kevin Durant; Grand Slam champion and former world number one tennis star Caroline Wozniacki; ESPN broadcaster and four-time first-team All-American softball standout Jessica Mendoza; two-time Olympic medalist and captain of the USA Women's National Volleyball team Jordan Larson; Thirty Five Ventures co-founder Rich Kleiman; USA Volleyball Women's National Team head coach Karch Kiraly; International Olympic Committee member and four-time hockey Olympian Angela Ruggiero; Bleacher Report journalist Taylor Rooks and former player and past President of the United States Tennis Association Katrina Adams. The Athletes Unlimited Advisory Board will offer strategic advice and help the organization maintain best practices as the property grows.
For more information about Athletes Unlimited, its volleyball, softball or lacrosse leagues and additional announcements, please sign up at www.auprosports.com or follow @auprosports on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
About Dallas Sports Commission
The Dallas Sports Commission pursues amateur, grassroots, collegiate and professional championship events, positioning Dallas as the premier sports destination. A division of VisitDallas, the Dallas Sports Commission focuses on generating economic impact as well as improving the quality of life within the community through sports. For more information, visit www.dallassports.org.
About Athletes Unlimited
Athletes Unlimited is a new model of pro sports where athletes are decision-makers and individual players are champions of team sports. We literally change the game with faster play, and a new draft and team rosters every week, delivering next-level competition and engagement in which every moment counts. Athletes Unlimited, which seeks to build the next generation of both athletes and fans, launched with women's softball this summer and will follow with women's volleyball, women's lacrosse and our second softball season in 2021.