Dec the 20 Corporate
Shanice Marcelle : A pure love for the game
After a stellar career both on the court and sand, Shanice Marcelle is officially retiring from the National Team.
Marcelle has the unique perspective of representing Canada at almost every level from youth, university, junior and senior in both disciplines of the sport and most recently a member of the senior national beach team since 2018.
As well as representing Canada, Marcelle was a five-time CIS (now U Sports) championship winner with the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds. Individually, she was twice awarded the CIS women's volleyball player of the year in 2011 and 2013, was the 2011 CIS volleyball championship MVP, and was named the 2013 winner of the BLG Award as the best female athlete in all of university sport.
In 2013, she was the opening ceremonies flag bearer for Canada at the FISU Games in Kazan, Russia, which is among her favourite memories. "It’s hard to describe that feeling in words - the amount of pride, joy, and jubilation for being granted that opportunity and walking out to thousands of sports fans celebrating you," explains Marcelle.
She counts UBC coach Doug Reimer as one of her mentors, “who helped to instill a level of belief and confidence in myself that has carried on with me through the entirety of my career.
"I would also like to thank Chris Densmore for his unwavering belief and support and guidance through my first U19 beach volleyball world championship event in Poland.” The other notable coaches that have influenced her over the years include Lee Carter and Joely Christian.
Marcelle played professionally in Germany and France during her time with the indoor National Team, winning two Bundesliga Championships, a finals MVP, and a silver medal in the Coupe De France. Her memorable achievements on the indoor stage include playing at the 2015 Pan Am Games as a member of the senior national team.
"Having the opportunity to play on home soil at the Pan Am Games in Toronto was one of very few opportunities where my parents were able to watch me play for Canada, and where the crowd was all about our team."
Shortly after this, Marcelle decided to switch to beach volleyball, but also had to come back from shoulder surgery in 2016 and an ACL repair in 2017. During her rehab, she became involved in coaching.
Despite the challenges, her recent successes on the sand also stand out as highlights: "On the beach I am very proud of my results in the last two years. I switched positions, lost coaches, often trained partnerless and yet I managed to win two bronze medals through NORCECA and a FIVB futures bronze medal in New Zealand.”
My biggest takeaway is to love the things you do and love the people you get to do it with. Pursuing high performance, Olympic dreams, and chasing medals is equal parts gratifying and disappointing when things don’t work out the way you dream them up. It is important to enjoy all of the moments along the way and remember the why that drives pursuing excellence. For me that was always pure love for the game, and that is something that enabled me to pursue my dreams in both sports for so long.
Marcelle has used her platform as an elite athlete to speak and write about her experience as a person of colour. "Growing up in the sport as a woman of colour I did not have many idols that I could see myself in and often felt I was carving my own path. I have always tried my best to lead with intention and grace to be a visible mentor for our younger athletes of colour to look up to and spark dreams of 'I can do that too.' "
Marcelle is the lead assistant coach with the York University women’s program and hopes to further develop her coaching career moving forward.
On the personal side, Marcelle was born in Toronto, but grew up in Victoria, BC. She credits her mom with being her inspiration and supporting her through the physical and mental ups and downs of a career in sport: "There is no one that deserves more thanks than her for helping to catapult me on to the journey of a lifetime."
Marcelle is now based in the Toronto area with her fiancé, Dan Dearing, who is pursuing his Olympic dream as a member of the men’s beach program.
Although not an easy transition, Marcelle offers encouragement to other athletes preparing for life after a professional and National Team career.
“I would encourage everyone who is involved in sport to continue to build up other areas of their lives to make transition processes a little less painful. While there has inevitably been a grieving period moving on from such a significant part of my life, I am thrilled for what’s next. … I am passionate about coaching and working with high performance athletes.”
And volleyball will remain a big part of her life, "You might catch me making my return to the hardcourt at senior women’s nationals in the new year!"