Home Youth jerseys NJCU HC Men’s Volleyball Carlo Edra teams up with NVA for historic ESPN3 debut

NJCU HC Men’s Volleyball Carlo Edra teams up with NVA for historic ESPN3 debut

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SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – For most of the sport’s existence, men’s volleyball has been a global game with international appeal. Professional athletes overseas are well paid – in the hundreds of thousands for some of the best players – but here in the United States, the professional ranks have left sports lovers wanting more. University of New Jersey City Men’s Volleyball Head Coach Carlo Edra is one of the main men trying to change that.

As a founding member of the National Volleyball Association (NVA), Edra joined a group of like-minded people in order to take the NVA off the ground and reach new heights. With 12 professional teams, players and coaches gather in San Bernardino multiple times throughout the summer to play countless games during the regular season, all to qualify for the eight-team playoffs, which will have take place this weekend, from Friday to Sunday August 5th. 8, at the Pearce Sports Center. For the first time in NVA history, this playoff tournament will now be fully broadcast on ESPN3.

“I think [this exposure] gives young volleyball players in the United States something to strive for,” Edra said. “Now that we have professional men’s volleyball played nationally on ESPN3, it’s just huge for the country as a whole. Now there is an achievable goal in their own backyard instead of leaving the country to play professionally.”

New Jersey Freedom head coach Edra led his team to first place in the regular season standings with a perfect 10-0 record as they head into the playoff tournament.

  • The four quarter-final games will take place on Friday at 12:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. ET.
  • Then on Saturday, the two semi-final games will take place at 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. ET.
  • The third-place game (2:00 p.m. ET) and the championship game (5:00 p.m. ET) follow on Sunday.

For reference, ESPN3 is available for free to all viewers, regardless of any ESPN+ subscriptions.

“While it’s nice to go undefeated in the regular season, it really doesn’t mean anything if we don’t finish the job,” Edra continued. “We could either be the undefeated Miami Dolphins or the New England Patriots, who were undefeated but then lost to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl.”

The NVA also does not discriminate on the experience level of its athletes when they enter the league. Although the majority of the players come from the Division I pedigree, apart from being among the best players in the world in various international professional teams, Edra approached it in a different way. The NVA All-Star Coach’s NJ Freedom roster has 14 players, nine of whom competed collegially at the Division III level. This puts the Freedom by far at the top in terms of Division III player numbers.

“We play with a chip on our shoulders and that’s part of the reason we’re successful,” Edra said. “We use the nickname WhyD3 [the popular theme among NCAA Division III athletics] and it just goes to show that Division III volleyball players can compete on a national stage with some of the best players in the world.”

One of those NVA players is the former NJCU standout Jonathan Andrews (North Bergen, NJ/North Bergen), who are currently preparing to dress for the Orlando Southern Exposure, one of eight teams to qualify for the NVA playoffs. Andrews, a two-time First Team All-Skyline Conference and All-New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) selection — had his career-best season in 2022 with the Gothic Knights and turned it into a spot with Orlando as a professional. Additionally, NJ Freedom is owned and operated by former NJCU star Justin Beaumont. Another NJCU contributor to the NVA is Ira Thor. The longtime member of the NJCU community is one of the NVA’s three main broadcasters and helped make the arrangements for the league to debut on ESPN3 this weekend.

“I think it’s validation. When we started this journey, naysayers and skeptics said it wouldn’t work,” Edra said of the early formation of the NVA. “Now that we’re streaming on ESPN3, it shows all the hard work was worth it.”