The United States are likely to have several new men’s teams competing on the 2023 Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour after two of the country’s top players, 33-year-old Tri Bourne and 36-year-old Chaim Schalk, announced they will be joining forces next season.
Olympians Bourne and Schalk announce new American team
The two veterans will play together in 2023
Published 07:45, 04 Jan 2023
A Tokyo Olympian, Bourne, who first competed internationally in 2013, spent the last four years of his career playing with childhood friend Trevor Crabb, who was his only partner since he returned to the sand in 2018 after sitting out for two years because of an autoimmune disease.
Together, the pair won two medals on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour (gold in Qinzhou in 2018 and bronze in Chetumal in 2019) and also made it to the semifinals of the 2019 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships, where they finished fourth.
In 2022, they had a season of ups and downs on the Beach Pro Tour, never finishing better than ninth in the six events at which they appeared.
“I was just looking to switch it up, I like change a lot, I like variety,” Bourne said in an interview with Volleyball Mag. “I get bored easily. Trevor and I turned potentially what was supposed to be a three or four-event partnership into five years, split-blocking and entertaining. I just wanted to switch it up, do something new.”
Schalk, who formed the top-ranked USA team on the Beach Pro Tour in 2022 with Theo Brunner, also decided it was time for a change after two years with the 37-year-old blocker. Together, they took gold at an FIVB World Tour event in Rubavu last year and also were fourth at this year’s FIVB World Championships.
Schalk is a Rio 2016 Olympian, and represented Canada in that edition of the Games. In his opinion, the move will put him in a better position to attempt to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympics.
“I think we’ll be a good fit,” Schalk added. “I think we’ll both play a different style than we were. I just think the best part about it is that he and I have the work ethic and if we need to figure something out, we’re going to do everything we can to get over that hurdle. That’s what makes a great team. We’re going to have ups and downs but we’re going to be able to grind through it.”
It’s not clear yet when the two could make their first appearance together, but they are excited to work hard and see what they can do together.
“At the end of the day, I think Chaim has one of the best work ethics out there,” Bourne commented. “That’s what put him on the table. I’m interested to see how far that can go.”
Their former partners, Brunner and Crabb have also announced they'll be pairing up during the 2023 season.