Olympic Beach Volleyball Star April Ross’ Biography: In Her Own Words
April Ross is an American professional beach volleyball player. She has competed in three Summer Olympics (2012 with Jennifer Kessy, 2016 with Kerri Walsh Jennings, and 2021 with Alix Klineman), winning a silver medal in 2012 and bronze in 2016.
APRIL ROSS BIOGRAPHY: AGE, EARLY LIFE, FAMILY, EDUCATION
April Ross was born on June 20, 1982 (April Ross age: 39). She was born in Costa Mesa, California, and grew up in Newport Beach. She attended Newport Harbor High School, where she played varsity track and indoor volleyball – eventually becoming the nation’s top recruit in her graduating class for the latter sport. Ross also played on the club volleyball team Orange County Volleyball for five years. As a senior, she won the Gatorade National Player of the Year Award and was also named the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Player of the Year in 1998 and 1999. During this time, Ross also played on the U.S. Junior National Team.
Ross attended the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, where she played indoor volleyball. In her freshman year, she was named the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year as well as the National Freshman of the Year. That year, USC volleyball made it to the NCAA Final Four. As a junior and a senior, she helped USC volleyball win back-to-back NCAA titles. In 2004, Ross was awarded the Honda Sports Award – an award given annually to the best female collegiate volleyball player.
APRIL ROSS BIOGRAPHY: EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW ON SWITCHING TO BEACH VOLLEYBALL
While Ross played indoor volleyball throughout her high school and college career, beach volleyball was the place where she truly found her calling. Ross spoke exclusively with uInterview about making the switch from indoor volleyball to beach.
After college, Ross began playing professional indoor volleyball, However, she described starting to feel “very beat up.” “My knees broke down on me, my shoulder, I couldn’t swing at the ball anymore,” Ross told uSports in 2012.
For a period of time after that Ross actually gave up volleyball, and took a job hostessing. As she put it, “[figuring] out how to make a living outside of volleyball.” That didn’t last long, however. A former teammate from USC called her up and recommended she try out beach volleyball.
“I was terrible,” Ross recalled. “I don’t know why I liked it, because I usually only like things that I’m good at, but I think it was just being out on the beach, and the culture. It was a ton of fun, and I stuck with it and finally got better and better.” In Ross’s words, it was simply “a matter of fate.”
Beach volleyball was definitely a transition for Ross. “You have to think for yourself on the beach,” Ross explained. “You don’t have a coach on the sidelines yelling at you, telling you what to do, subbing you out if you’re not playing the way he wants you to. If you’re not playing good enough to win… you gotta figure out how to do something to beat the opponent.”
In addition to a mentality change, the rules of beach volleyball are different than indoor. In beach volleyball, players have to touch the ball every other time. According to Ross, this means you can’t be “hidden” in the same way as in indoor. “You have to be working on all your skills, all the time.”
Additionally, beach volleyball matches are two out of three, whereas indoor in three out five. For Ross, that means “you can make less mistakes” on the beach than in indoor.
Watch the full interview at the top of the page.
APRIL ROSS BIOGRAPHY: CAREER
In 2008, Ross and Kessy competed in Swatch FVIB World Tour – an international beach volleyball competition. They finished in third place at the ConocoPhillips Grand Slam Stavanger, second place at the Dubai Open and first place Phuket Thailand Open. Later that year, Ross and Kessy defeated world champion duo Misty May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings at an AVP tournament in Santa Barbara. In July of 2009, Ross and Kessy won the FIVB World Championships in Stavanger, Norway. In 2012, they were named the AVP Team of the Year.
In 2012, Ross and Kessy competed in the London Olympics as the No. 4 seed. They lost in the championship round to Treanor and Walsh Jennings, taking home the silver medal. Ross and Walsh Jennings partnered up in 2013, winning the final two FIVB Grand Slams of 2013. In 2016, the pair competed in the Long Beach, California Grand Slam, where they won the gold medal. In the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, the pair competed as the No. 3 seed. After defeating the No. 1 seed from Brazil, they took home the bronze medal. For the second time, Ross’s team was named the AVP Team of the Year.
In 2017, Ross partnered up with Alix Klineman. In their first tournament, the 2018 FIVB Dela Beach Open, the pair won first place. Ross and Klineman won four events in the 2019 AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour. Later that year, the pair won their second FIVB tournament event at the Yangzhou Open and were named the AVP team of the year.
In 2019, the pair won the Huntington Beach and New York City Open AVP tour events, the FIVB Itapema Open, and won the silver medal at the 2019 Beach Volleyball World Championships in Hamburg, Germany.
In July of 2020, Ross and Klineman won the AVP Monster Hydro Cup, the Wilson Cup and the AVP Champions Cup.
APRIL ROSS BIOGRAPHY: EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW ON HEALTH, HABITS
In 2012, Ross explained to uInterview that to prepare for the London Olympics, Ross and Kessi “looked at everything we did, as far as how we practice, how and we train… and how we eat.” Diet was an important factor for the pair, and Ross described how they “changed [their] diet a lot. Cut out a lot of carbs, cut out a lot of sugars, started eating more natural, more organic, just as healthy and clean as possible.” She mentioned that despite this strict plan, she made sure to go to a big dinner once a week and treat herself to something “really yummy.”
When asked about her morning ritual, Ross explained that she and Kessi like to take some time in the morning to relax.
“We like to have at least 45 minutes where we can drink our coffee and kind of relax,” she said. “And we try not to rush, because if you’re rushing at breakfast you’re just going to end up rushing the rest of the day.”
Watch the full interview at the top of the page.
APRIL ROSS BIOGRAPHY: PERSONAL LIFE
Ross was married to beach volleyball player Brad Keenan from 2010 to 2018.
Olympic Beach Volleyball Star April Ross’ Biography: In Her Own Words News
- USA Women’s Beach Volleyball Defeats Australia For Gold At Tokyo Olympic
- Kerri Walsh Jennings, April Ross Win Bronze After Beating Brazil
- Kerri Walsh Jennings, April Ross Fall To Brazil In Olympic Semifinal
- Kerri Walsh Jennings, April Ross Eliminate Australia To Advance To Volleyball Semifinals
- USA’s Kerri Walsh Jennings, April Ross Advance To Round of 16 In Women’s Beach Volleyball In Rio
- April Ross, Team USA 2016 Olympic Beach Volleyball Player, On Her Start In Outdoor, Pre-Match Prep [VIDEO EXCLUSIVE]