Volleyball is undoubtedly one of the world’s most underrated games. It takes incredible skill and talent and so the many female athletes that have taken on the volleyball challenge in its 100-plus-year history have made waves.
There has been a rise in global volleyball leagues and tournaments. In particular, those that are run by the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB), which has made it much easier for the public to get to know some of the world’s greatest volleyball players.
Any list of the biggest names is relative, but here are those who will belong in almost any list of the best players in women’s volleyball.
One of the greatest beach volleyball players was the now-retired Misty Elizabeth May-Treanor. At the 2012 London Summer Olympics, 2008 Beijing Olympics, and 2004 Athens Summer Olympics, she enabled the USA team to secure the gold medals.
She was named one of the most successful female volleyball athletes with 112 championship wins under her belt and was eventually inducted into the Volleyball Hall of Fame four years after she decided to retire.
Jaqueline Maria Pereira de Carvalho Endres
Jaqueline is a Brazilian volleyball player and a part of the Brazilian team that won the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympic Games. Before moving to Unilever Rio de Janeiro in 2004, she began her career with the Gremio de Volei Osasco in 2002.
In 2006, she played for Vini Monteschiavo Jesi in Europe, subsequently joining Gruppo Murcia 2002 and Scavolini Pesaro. For the 2014/15 season, she represented Camponesa-Minas, before deciding to play for Sesi-SP. In November 2016, she returned to Minas.
At the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, she was part of the national team that took gold. At the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Carvalho and Brazil’s national team won the gold medal.
On August 24, 2013, after winning the final match against Japan, she won her fourth World Grand Prix gold medal. At the 2015 Pan American Games, Carvalho won the silver medal when her national team was beaten by the United States in the championship match, 0-3.
Kerri Lee Walsh Jennings
She is an American professional beach volleyball player, a gold medalist in three Olympics, and a bronze medalist in one Olympic.
With 133 wins and $2,542,635 in winnings, she is the beach volleyball career leader in both career victories and career winnings as of 2016.
The gold medalists in beach volleyball at 2004, 2008, and 2012 Summer Olympics were Walsh Jennings and teammate Misty May-Treanor.
They have won the 2003, 2005, and 2007 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships. They were named “the greatest beach volleyball team of all time.”
Francesca is an Italian volleyball player who has led Italy at the Summer Olympics four times (2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012). She was a part of the Women’s National Team that won the 2002 World Championship in Germany with a gold medal.
She started her career in Italy on June 10, 1995, against the United States. Playing at the top level with the Italian club Volley Bergamo, she received the “Most Valuable Player” award when her team won the 2009–10 CEV Indesit Champions League trophy.
In 2016, when her side, Pomì Casalmaggiore, won the 2015-16 CEV DenizBank Champions League title 3-0 against the Turkish VakıfBank Istanbul, she again became “Most Valuable Player.”
Kim Yeon-Koung, a South Korean national, is well-regarded as a shining star in the sport in Asia. She first played for Heungkuk Life in her nation and then got a deal with Japan’s JT Marvelous.
She then stuck with Turkey’s Fenerbahçe for about six years. Until moving back to play for Turkey in 2018, she signed up for a one-year stint with China.
Although South Korea’s big international honors have missed her, at the 2012 Olympic Games, she was given the personal distinction of being awarded the MVP and Best Scorer titles.
Although this is not a list of all women volleyball players, it addresses the questions “Who are the most successful women volleyball players?” and “Who are the top female volleyball players?”
In any field, it takes a lot of sweat and tears to be a professional, so all the praise is deserved for these outstanding women.