Women’s Volleyroos captain Kell Lean has this week announced that she will be retiring from professional sport.

Lean has played more than 70 games for her country, leading the Volleyroos as captain since 2019.

The 27-year-old from Victoria has been an integral member of the national program since 2017, leading the team to its first international tournament win in 2019 in the Polish Cup, where she was also named the Most Valuable Player.

In announcing her retirement from volleyball, Lean took a moment to reflect on her career and those who have played a part along the way.

“It has been an honour to wear the green and gold alongside so many incredible women, who have helped shape my life beyond anything I could have imagined,” Lean said.

“To each coach, who I am forever in debt to, thank you. As proud as I am to represent my country, I am equally proud to have been good enough to play for each of you over the course of my time in this team.

“I don’t quite have the words to thank my family, friends, partner and entire support system from home and afar.

“But please know that in every way, I am grateful to have had you with me and lucky to have never done it alone.

“Thank you to every girl that came before me and all the best to the future squad. I hope that I can keep finding ways to support the team in the years to come.

“The tank isn’t quite empty yet, but this chapter of the book is ready to be closed,” Lean said.

Women’s Volleyroos Head Coach Russell Borgeaud thanked Kell for her ongoing commitment to and support of the team, especially over the last 12 months.

“When I became the Head Coach of the Women’s Indoor Program, the team was in the midst of a huge change with only a handful returning after an enforced two year break because of COVID,” Borgeaud said.

“Kell was the current captain of the group, and it quickly became apparent to me why she had been chosen in that role.

“Kell was always able to bring the squad’s focus back to the present and drive their performance, while developing a positive and supporting culture that puts the teams goals and performance ahead of the individual’s desires.

“Her commitment to the program remained strong and her focus was always to bring her best and secure a positive future for the team.

“On behalf of the team, I thank Kell for her commitment and tenacity, but also her care and compassion.

“I wish Kell all the best for her new journey and look forward to seeing her share her experience with future generations of athletes,” he said.

Team mate Mikaela Stevens thanked Kell for constantly challenging her, and bringing her experience and leadership to the court each and every day.

“Kell was one of the best teammates a person can ask for. She challenges you both physically and mentally to be the best version of a player you can be,” Stevens said.

“It has been my greatest pleasure to have learnt alongside her and have her as my setting partner for the last 4 years. She has challenged me to be not only a better setter but an even better teammate. 

Kell has a unique way of helping each of her teammates find who they truly are and how they can bring these qualities into the team. She has been an inspiring leader both on and off the court, showing that with determination, resilience and hard work you can achieve whatever you set out to be. 

Kell has shown to all her teammates about what qualities make a great leader and has certainly left big shoes to fill for the next person. The team without her won’t quite be the same, however we know that the work she has put in over her time in the women’s team has left this program in a much better place, and for that the team will be forever thankful to her,” she said.

Former Women’s Volleyroos Head Coach Shannon Winzer thanked Kell for her ongoing support and leadership during her time on the team.

“Kell was all in from her first day as a Volleyroo. There was no in-between with her, it was all or nothing,” Winzer said.

“That is what made her a great teammate and leader. Her path to the national team was different than most, and as a result I think she was an athlete who played with a point to prove. That was fun to coach! 

“I wish Kell nothing but the best post-retirement, I look back on her time with the Volleyroos and smile. It’s been quite the journey little Red!” she said.

Her former coach Luke Campbell said he has never met a harder working athlete Kelly.

“Kell never took a shortcut nor was given anything in her career,” Campbell said.

“From Juniors to College then into the National Team and becoming captain, she had to truly work for everything she achieved which I respect endlessly. Bravo Kell,” he said.

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