Claremont grad Jamie Broder is one-half of Canada’s top women’s beach volleyball team.

Claremont grad Jamie Broder is one-half of Canada’s top women’s beach volleyball team.

Saanich volleyball athlete No. 1 Canadian on the beach

Jamie Broder is on the sandy road to the Pan American Games.

Jamie Broder is on the sandy road to the Pan American Games.

The 28-year-old Saanich product is coming off a breakout year as she and teammate Kristina Valjas, 25, established themselves as the nation’s top women’s beach volleyball team. They’re ranked 17th in the world.

“This was an extremely stressful year for us,” Broder said. “It was the first full-time season together for Kristina and after playing half of last year together.”

The duo won gold at the NORCECA Beach Volleyball Circuit in Trinidad in early December, the last event of their season.

It capped a year with four top-10 finishes from September on, with three ninth place finishes at FIVB (International Volleyball Federation) events.

Only a year ago, Broder and Valjas were the young ones learning the ropes. This year they hit all the FIVB events and are currently ranked as the top women’s team in Canada.

It’s a crucial spot, as a top-16 world ranking will automatically qualify them for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, when the time comes.

First things first as the duo look to reboot over the holidays before returning to Toronto.

“Nothing too crazy for the holidays,” Broder said from her parent’s home in Saanich. “We’ll have a big Christmas dinner. It’s just to nice be home and see family. I have two brothers here. I always love coming back to Victoria.”

The fact Broder is on Canada’s top beach team comes against the grain.

The Claremont secondary grad started the sport as a 15-year-old. Contemporaries from her school include respected teacher and volleyball coach Shon Ryan as well as national indoor player Fred Winters.

Broder played for Malaspina for three years and switched to UBC where she helped the Thunderbirds to a CIS national championships.

Even before conquering the collegiate indoor game in Canada, Broder had won gold at the U18 national championships and followed it up with U20 and U24 titles, including a spot on the 2004 and 2005 teams for  Canada at the U21 world championship.

But she wanted to play beach. Upon completing her commerce degree at UBC in 2010 Broder moved to Toronto, but her national beach dream fell short. She was cut from the team mainly due to her height. At 5-foot-7, she didn’t have enough of it to be successful at international beach volleyball, she was told.

She had experience playing beyond her height at UBC, where head coach Doug Reimer had her pegged as defence, where shorter players often find success. Instead, Broder’s smart play and battle level earned her a spot starting as a leftside hitter for the Thunderbirds.

“I struggled with the decision to move to Toronto a lot,” Broder said. “I don’t take well to people telling me I can’t do something – especially because of my height.”

Later that year she was named back to the team, mostly due to her work ethic and commitment. Broder and Valjas were paired late in 2011 and now they’re climbing the world rankings, which are dominated by Brazil.

Broder tries to work part time but it’s hard when she’s away so often. She and Valjas find there’s a cash shortfall being a national team beach volleyball athlete in Canada. To boost their chances, they’ve registered on the crowd funding site Pursu.it (pursu.it/campaign/valjas-broder).

“Being carded on the national team helps with the living costs. Travel is covered by us. Prize money at events also helps, the end of the season was big, two top-10 finishes, but there could be more money.”

sports@vicnews.com

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Reynolds Secondary School’s spring musical Freaky Friday features Grace Fouracre as teen Ellie Blake (left) who swaps bodies with her overworked mother, Katherine, played by Nadia Lurie. (Photo courtesy Reynolds Secondary School)
Saanich high school goes virtual with Freaky Friday musical

Reynolds Secondary theatre program to livestream performances March 9-12

Saanich Fire Department. Black Press Media File Photo
Fire displaces three Saanich families from two homes

Saanich firefighters found the fire had spread to a neighbouring home upon arriving

Ronald Schinners, owner of The Cabbie in the #YYJ, opened his taxi service in the West Shore last month. (Dawn Gibson/News Staff)
‘One man show,’ The Cabbie in the #YYJ cultivates 45,000 followers on Instagram

New taxi company brings unusual spunk to the West Shore

An Island Health nurse prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo courtesy Island Health)
Health authority opening 19 clinics to immunize Vancouver Island residents

Health authority anticipates more than 40,000 people will be immunized over the next month

The biggest risk to the Island's economy post-earthquake is that it may never return, according to Bruce Williams, interim CEO of the South Island Prosperity Partnership. (Contributed by Bruce Williams)
Greater Victoria businesses in chamber spotlight for 2021 awards

Annual awards program highlights local companies making the most of things, despite the pandemic

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

The Port Alice pulp mill has been dormant since 2015. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Parts recycled, life returning to inlet as as old Port Alice mill decommissioned

Bankruptcy company oversees de-risking the site, water treatment and environmental monitoring

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

Most Read