Beach of Dreams: Nobles and Powell target pro volleyball careers | News, Sports, Jobs

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Tambre Nobles (left) and Melissa Fuchs Powell compete on the professional beach volleyball circuit.

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Melissa Fuchs Powell (top) and Tambre Nobles pose for a photo. Former Utah college volleyball stars compete as a team on the professional volleyball circuit.

Photo courtesy of Melissa Fuchs Powell

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Tambre Nobles (left) celebrates with teammate Melissa Fuchs Powell during a professional beach volleyball tournament.

Photo courtesy of Melissa Fuchs Powell

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Former Utah volleyball player Melissa Fuchs Powell (center) tackles the ball during a professional beach volleyball event as teammate Tambre Nobles looks on.

Photo courtesy of Melissa Fuchs Powell

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Former BYU volleyball player Tambre Nobles dives into the sand while playing professional beach volleyball.

Photo courtesy of Melissa Fuchs Powell

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Former BYU standout Tambre Nobles (left) and former Utah standout Melissa Fuchs Powell pose together while competing in a professional volleyball tournament.

Photo courtesy of Melissa Fuchs Powell

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Tambre Nobles’ garden is filled with a truck loaded with his hopes and dreams.

Nobles, who played away for the BYU team in 2014 that qualified for the NCAA championship game, has a full-size volleyball court outside the back door of his home in Lehi .

Melissa Fuchs Powell, who prepped at Pleasant Grove and finished her college career at the University of Utah, had similar dreams, and fate brought them together.

Nobles and Powell embarked on a difficult journey as professional beach volleyball players, competing against some of the best teams in the world in places like Brazil, Qatar, Turkey and Lithuania. They made it into the top 150 in the world rankings out of around 30,000 registered beach volleyball players. A few weeks ago in Michigan, Nobles and Powell qualified for their first main draw on the Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) circuit.

Utah hasn’t produced many quality beach volleyball players over the years, but that’s changing. Nobles and Powell jokingly call themselves the “Jamaican Beach Volleyball Bobsled Team,” a reference to Jamaicans’ unlikely Olympic experience in the sport in 1988.

“For the past few years we’ve tried to qualify on the AVP circuit and it’s been very difficult,” Powell said. “We traveled to many events and lost to a group of Olympians. We improved faster by playing with better teams. We feel like it’s our time and it’s a dream come true.

The Nobles moved from Northern Colorado to BYU in 2013, helping the unranked Cougars to the 2014 NCAA Championship Game before losing to Penn State. His younger sisters, Lyndie Haddock-Eppich and Lacy Haddock, were integral to the BYU team that was ranked No. 1 for much of the 2018 season and advanced to the Final Four.

After graduating from college, Nobles settled into life with her husband, Bryce, and eventually two children. Nobles coached Lehi’s women’s volleyball team for several years, but also started playing beach volleyball.

“I just fell in love with the sport,” she said. “I played in some tournaments and got better. It was my dream to play beach volleyball professionally.

Occupied by her young family, Nobles decided to build a sand volleyball court in her backyard.

“I needed to be able to train,” she said. “It was nice to be able to do that in my home. The kids could sleep and in a comfortable environment and that was a huge blessing.

This is where Powell came into the picture.

Powell played for Allyce Jones at Pleasant Grove, helping the Vikings win a state title in his senior season in 2012. Powell competed at Central Michigan and Houston Baptist before heading to the University of Utah and its fledgling beach program.

She graduated in 2018, married BYU soccer player Riggs Powell, and began training with P1440, an organization led by U.S. Olympian Kari Walsh Jennings. Powell has played on the World Tour Circuit with Allison Spurrier and competed on the Brazil Pro Tour during the pandemic. With dual nationality, Powell played on the professional circuit for six months.

While living in Brazil, Powell marveled at the support these athletes received to pursue their professional careers, and when she returned to Utah, she wanted to provide similar assistance.

Project Beach Utah was born with Powell as founder, director and CEO.

“Only the best beach volleyball players make a lot of money, so it’s very difficult to pursue a career,” Nobles said. “Melissa wanted to start an organization to help grow beach volleyball in Utah and help those who wanted to turn professional.”

A professional beach volleyball career requires intensive training and the support of a village of experts, including coaches, physiotherapists and nutritionists. Financial assistance is essential to travel to events around the world.

Powell’s Project Beach Utah has three levels of training: Beginner, Development, and Professional. Nobles joined the development tier and quickly progressed through the internal ranking system, which includes points for participation, tournament finishes, completion of drills and personal training. In her freshman year at Project Beach Utah, Nobles finished first in the standings.

“I was really impressed with Tambre,” Powell said. “We wanted the same things.

The two became play partners and began competing in professional beach events.

“We’re pretty similar in how we deal with issues,” Powell said. “We see things the same way and it’s a very good learning experience. It’s a bit like a marriage to learn how to communicate with a partner.

At 6ft tall, Nobles said she always felt a bit small while playing indoor volleyball.

“I love the transition to the beach because size doesn’t matter,” she said. “What matters is ball control and you have to be a complete player.”

Project Beach Utah, which trains at the Sand Bar and Sports Mall in Salt Lake City, is growing rapidly and gaining momentum in the volleyball world. Powell started with about eight players in her organization, but by last fall the number had grown to 70 athletes. Powell was able to afford a full-time coach, former Brazilian Olympian Cristine Sant’Anna.

The help of sponsors allows Nobles and Powell to travel to professional tournaments, both in the United States and abroad. These sponsors include Teriyaki Grill (owned by former BYU football player Mike Keim), the Iron Cowboy, DownEast Outfitters, Auto Savvy, Wags Capital (owned by former BYU football player Aaron Wagner), Keto Chow and Unishippers .

“Having people in your corner supporting you is super important,” Nobles said. “It’s a huge blessing because there aren’t many players who have that kind of support to be able to pursue their dreams. I feel so blessed that this opportunity has come my way.

Now that the pair have made a main draw at an AVP event, they are confident that they can continue to grow. This week they travel to Greece to participate in the Beach Volleyball World Pro Tour.

“I feel like our goals are getting more achievable every day and every tournament we play,” Powell said. “We want to try to get to the Olympics in 2024 or 2028. We like to be the underdogs and to be from Utah.”



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