In a recent interview with Heart for the Game, Lisa Tuiasosopo (née Fryer), a former two-time ACC Champion at the University of North Carolina, reflected on how much her volleyball career shaped her life.
Her dreams began as a child, because she always wanted to play a college sport.
“I was the girl that had a ponytail in her hair and a ball in her hand, basketball shoes on her feet, and living in the gym.”
She achieved that goal, but something else very important happened along the way. On a recruiting trip to the University of Washington, she met the man who would become her husband, Marques Tuiasosopo.
“His sister played volleyball for the University of Washington, and she was my host on my recruiting trip there. So she sort of introduced us while on the trip.”
“After college, I had taken a job in corporate marketing on the East Coast. I reconnected with Maruqes’s sister where she reintroduced me. So it’s a really funny story where I am very thankful that I played because I did meet my husband through my sports!”
Marques, at that time, was still playing in the NFL. Upon retiring, he took a job with the University of Southern California, where they now live with their two sons and one daughter, where the athletic culture of Lisa and Marques continues.
“I think that playing sports teaches you so many life lessons,” she said. “Not only teamwork and the obvious things that it creates and teaches, but it also gives off confidence, and it challenges you to go the extra mile and achieve the extra mile to achieve that goal.”
Her daughter is the youngest of her three children. Is she at all worried about protecting some part of her femininity with such an overdose of masculinity that will pervade throughout her life?
Well, no, it turns out, because “she’s already obsessed with beach volleyball. [Marques will] go throw the ball to her and she’ll hit it back to him.”
“But, Kylie, yes, she has a little bit of a unique life, given that she’s going to be surrounded by guys. But, I think, just really encouraging her to be who she is, is going to be the ticket. But you can write: she is the girl with a bow in her hair and mud on her knee!”