The U.S. volleyball international Kawika Shoji has decided to end his volleyball career at the age of 34.
Kawika was one of the brightest spots in USA volleyball over the past 10 years, showing huge professionalism on the court and off the court as well.
Here is a letter from Kawika.
“It’s impossible to find the perfect words for retirement. It’s just such a loaded word, and it’s more a transition than anything. Over the next few months, I will be able to express my sincere gratitude to all of my coaches, teammates, friends, and family for riding along right by my side through this special journey. For now, I want to thank my wife and kids for being the true backbone of my career, my parents for all their sacrifice and support, and my brother and sister for their friendship. Thank you to the fans of my teams and my career for your constant encouragement. It carried me through many tough moments, and you make the game fun. Finally, Hawaii, my home state, thank you for supporting your local kids. It’s been an honor representing the 808 all over the globe.
I remember my first volleyball practice like it was yesterday (well it was more like an open gym with all of the kids we could round up). It was in Klum Gym in the spring of 1998. I remember which end court we were on, which baseball and basketball and surfer friends showed up to learn a game that I had no idea would provide me with so much.
Fast forward 24 years, an NCAA championship, two Olympic Games, twelve professional seasons overseas, and most importantly a lifetime full of memories with great people all over the world later, it’s time to say goodbye to my playing career.
I prided myself on two things throughout my career: loving my teammates and trying my absolute best to win every single point. For the young players out there, take those things to heart and you will be just fine. I know I made the most of every last bit of my God-given abilities. Not all athletes can say that.
Finally, I have received a lot of questions about what’s next. I am very excited to move home with my girls and jump into the next phase of life and a new job! Stay tuned….
That’s it from Kawika. However, he has already found a new role:
“So what’s next?? I am very excited to announce that I have taken a position as financial advisor and portfolio manager at Regency Capital. I look forward to getting back into the community, helping clients reach their financial goals, and doing some volleyball and performance psychology projects on the side as well. Transitions can be a bit scary, but I have relied on an amazing tribe of family, friends, and mentors to help with this next step. I look forward to applying my experiences and lessons learned in the sports world to business endeavors and hope to inspire athletes to do the same down the road. Finally, I must extend a big thank you to Neil Rose and the rest of the team Regencycm for this opportunity and for their trust and encouragement. Can’t wait to get to work,” writes Kawika on Instagram.