While a new season with new lineups and a new format will always spark interest among both fans and players, watching some of the most successful teams in the sport will also attract fan and media interest.
Until a few weeks ago, it was not certain that April Ross would be playing this season, but the great news is she’ll be digging in the sand in 2017 alongside partner Kerri Walsh Jennings. And the Rio Olympic bronze medallists will be among the teams at Fort Lauderdale.
Ross, 34, has won medal after medal on the international and domestic scene since she made her debut on the FIVB Tour in 2006.
On the AVP Tour, Ross has clinched no less than 32 gold medals from 103 tournaments, as well as 13 silvers and 18 bronzes. To that, you can add the 21 golds, 15 silvers and 12 bronzes she has scooped on the World Tour.
Last season, Ross won five gold medals from just 11 tournaments and never finished outside the top five. Her achievements in the sport mark her down as one of the all-time greats.
Ross was the first American woman to win the FIVB Rookie of the Year award in 2007, while in 2015 she set a record by becoming the first woman to win domestic titles in the same season with three different partners.
In December, Ross was named USA Volleyball Female Beach Player of the Year for the sixth time and the fourth year in a row.
“I'm really honoured to be named USA Volleyball's player of the Year again this year, I can't believe it's my sixth time," Ross said. "The past season was definitely the best one of my career.”