Dustin Schneider, one of Canada’s national team finest setters over the last decade, is announcing his retirement after defying all odds to compete professionally in volleyball.
At 183 cm (5 feet 11 inches), Schneider was always dubbed too small to compete in the sport of volleyball and encouraged to pursue other activities where height wasn’t such a big factor.
If it wasn’t for his love for the sport, an athlete of Schneider’s caliber may have chosen to pursue a different athletic career. Instead, Schneider used the doubt and his love for the sport to fuel his success.
“I would like to acknowledge the people that wrote me off for being too small and not fitting the prototype of a volleyball player,” said Schneider. “I didn’t need extra motivation to want to be on the team and get better but it sure didn’t hurt.”
When reflecting in his volleyball career, Schneider’s biggest source of pride comes from his participation with Canada’s National Men’s Volleyball Team where he’s played since 2007.
“Beating Serbia in the 2010 World Championships, finishing seventh in the 2014 World Championships, qualifying and playing in World League Finals and upsetting and beating Russia were great accomplishments,” said Schneider. “But honestly, the main feeling of pride I get is from being part of the consistent improvement we showed to get into the top 10 rankings after being in the 20s when I first joined.”
“I would like to think my biggest accomplishment, as a part of the team, was being part of the changing of a generation for the program,” Schneider continued. “I was very fortunate to be on the court for many of the key victories that propelled us to higher rankings, increased funding, and eventually the multiple opportunities for an Olympic berth in Rio.”
Schneider was born and raised in Brandon, Manitoba, where he played hockey like his father and brother, but when he was introduced to volleyball, he fell in love and it became his number one passion and sport.
Schneider played university volleyball for the University of Winnipeg Wesmen where he won a CIS Men’s National Volleyball Championship Gold Medal and was named a Tournament All-Star and MVP in the 2006 – 2007 season.
Schneider also received awards in 2008 being named First Team All-Star and Canada West All-Star. He also received the award for CIS Academic All-Canadian.
From there, Schneider went on to play professionally for teams in Austria, Portugal, France, Israel and Poland, one of Europe’s top volleyball leagues.
“I would like to thank my family for supporting my career, and my wife for sacrificing so much time of her life to travel with me delaying her own career for my dreams to come true,” said Schneider. “I would also like to thank the coaching staff who had to take a leap of faith on me. I’m sure they took their fair share of criticism for giving me the chance to play.”
“Lastly, I would like to thank my many teammates who I played and fought with along the way. I have stories about each and every one of you that put a smile on my face,” continued Schneider. “The love of ‘hanging with the boys’ is the thing I will miss the most about volleyball.”
Schneider is currently working as a financial security advisor in Manitoba where he lives with wife Ashley and son Theodore.
“It’s a perfect fit for me after a lifetime in sports,” explains Schneider. “The ability to keep moving forward, to win some and lose some and to keep your head up are all key skills in my new line of work. It’s like I’ve trained my whole life for this.”
Schneider is also staying involved with volleyball taking on small roles as an assistant coach for a club and high school volleyball team in Winnipeg.
“If I can pass on any of the knowledge I have gained from my professional experience and the many great coaches I have had, it will be a victory for me.”