CR North Alum Ford Playing Pro Volleyball in Finland

Council Rock North graduate Dan Ford signed a contract to play professional volleyball in Finland.

Loimaa, Finland.

It’s not where Dan Ford thought he’d be spending the next year of his life, but that’s exactly where the former Council Rock North standout finds himself after signing a contract to play professional volleyball for the Hurrikaani Loimaa.

“It’s kind of crazy,” said Ford, who completed a stellar career at St. Francis University this spring. “It’s pretty much the last place I thought I would end up after college.

“Most college athletes think they’re going to be entering the working world. I was just very lucky to have a great supporting cast around me – my coaches and teammates – that really helped me get to the next level. I couldn’t be more grateful.”

Ford wrapped up a record-setting career at St. Francis this spring with his selection to the 2017 All-EIVA First Team after doling out a single season program record 1,067 assists (rally era).  The league’s top setter closed out his career first in assists in school history in the rally era with 2,680 assists.

Ford, however, wasn’t ready to call it a career and had a highlight video made of his stellar senior season.

“After doing that, I contacted an agent in Slovakia and said, ‘Hey, I’m interested in playing professionally. Here’s my tape, here’s what I’ve accomplished,’” Ford said. “Within two hours, I got a reply, and he said, ‘I definitely want to work with you.’ The next day he e-mailed me a contract to sign with their agency, and as soon as that happened, he started sending out my video to teams in Europe. Within a week or so, teams from Germany, France, Finland, the Czech Republic were interested in seeing what was going on with me, what kind of money I was looking for.

“It just so happened that a month or so ago, the top team in Finland that actually won the league last year was looking to sign me as their primary setter. I liked the offer they gave me, and I ended up signing with them.”

Ford travelled to Finland last week and began training with Hurrikaani Loimaa on Friday.

“I couldn’t be more excited to work with them,” he said. “They’re really talented players. There are actually four Olympians on my team, so that will be awesome to see how my talent matches up with them.”

There’s no mistaking Ford’s excitement as he begins his new adventure

“I’m also nervous because I’m a very family-oriented person, and I’m very close to my family,” he said. “That part might be the most difficult at first, but the support I’ve had around me through this process – everyone keeps telling me, ‘You only get this chance once in a lifetime, so you just really have to go out there embrace the moment and create memories that could last a lifetime. Once you’re done, you’re done. You come back and you can look back and say you’re proud of what you’ve done.’”

Ford signed a one-year contract with his new team’s first game Sept. 24.

“I’ll get about two months to get adjusted and get some good training and get acquainted with the new surroundings and new teammates, coaches and what not,” he said.

The season runs until May, and according to Ford, Hurrikaani Loimaa has already qualified for the European Champions League and will be traveling to several countries to play teams from outside the Finnish League.

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A 2012 graduate of Council Rock North, Ford helped lead the Indians to their first SOL and District One championship in school history in 2011. Rock North closed that season ranked fifth in the final PVCA poll. A team MVP and three-time all-league selection, Ford was named to the Fab 50 by USA Volleyball in 2012. During his three years at Rock North, the Indians compiled an impressive 44-9 overall record.

“Dan was one of the reasons there is now a banner for boys’ volleyball at CR North,” coach Greg Marchetti said. “Since Dan graduated, he often spends time giving back to our program by helping mentor players through the summer and when he was home from college. He understands the importance of giving back to the program.”

Ford’s journey after high school actually began at Lewis University.

“It was a very reputable (volleyball) program, but it didn’t seem like the best fit for me because at the time I was a little bit more immature and didn’t know how to handle being that far from home,” Ford said.

The following year, Ford transferred to St. Francis where he was a three-year starter and two-time All-EIVA setter, leading the Red Flash to back-to-back appearances in the EIVA title game.

“As far as being at St. Francis, it really couldn’t have been better,” Ford said. “My junior year it was the first time in school history that we beat Penn State, and that was actually on their home floor.

“Three weeks later, in that same season, we knocked them out of the EIVA playoffs on their home floor again. During my junior season, we beat five top 15 programs in the country, and we finished in the national rankings for the first time in school history. This year, for the first time in school history, we beat them at St. Francis’s gym, so it's a lot of history.”

Ford was the first St. Francis setter to be named first team all-conference.

“Just a lot of great things came out of moving to St. Francis,” he said. “I have no regrets making that decision.”

Ford graduated from St. Francis with a degree in management and marketing, but a career in the business world will have to wait while he follows his dream.

“Dan has worked tremendously hard to reach his goal to play professionally,” Marchetti said. “He earned this contract through thousands of hours of practice and preparing himself both physically and mentally.

“What stands out the most to me about Dan is that he is so fiercely competitive and always looking for ways to better himself and his team. As a coach, I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with many hardworking student-athletes. Dan helped change the culture of our program and the expectations of our players and coaches. We wish him nothing but the best in Finland.”