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Q&A with England Volleyball captain and A Level Student, Joshua Sturland


Talented athlete and A Level student at Newcastle College, Josh Sturland, has been playing volleyball for more than six years. He was recently appointed captain of the U17 England Boys and captained them internationally at the NEVZA Championships in Denmark, October 2023.

He tells us all about his sporting career to date, his plans for the future and what he loves about volleyball...

How did you get into volleyball?

My previous high school, Madeley High, is partnered with Newcastle Staffs Volleyball Club. The club runs a free after school session on Friday introducing people to volleyball. I went to this in year 7 for the whole year and Will Roberts, the chairman of the club, asked me to carry on playing for them. Since then it all took off and I now play for many teams, clubs and my country.

How long have you been playing and what clubs do you play for?

I have been playing volleyball for 5 years, I am now into my 6th year. I play for Newcastle College who are reigning national champions in both the men’s and women’s league and I am also the captain of Newcastle Staffs U18 team who came 3rd last year in the National Championships. I also play for Newcastle Staffs men’s 1st team in the Super League and men’s 2nd team in division 3.

I have also represented the West Midlands in the inter-regional tournaments for the past 2 years in U15 and U17 and during the summer I play tournaments as part of Sky Ball Beach Volleyball Club.

Recently, I came 2nd in the U17 National Championships - I lost the final due to an injury that made me pull-out. I have represented England beach volleyball in the Home Nation’s Tournament against Scotland, Ireland and wales where I came first.

My biggest achievement to date is playing for England U17 indoors volleyball. I have played for them for two years and represented them a total of four times, two of which being internationally. I represented them at the NEVZA North European Championships in October 2022 and I also played in the European Championships in January 2023.

I was recently appointed captain for the U17 England Cadet Boys, captaining them at the NEVZA Championships in October 2023.

What is it about volleyball that draws you to the sport?

I enjoy the atmosphere of the game and how high speed it is. I also like the fact that people don’t realise how athletic and physical you really have to be. It isn’t just a power sport, it requires you to be very smart and technically gifted.

The people I have met through volleyball is also a great part about the sport. The nature of the people is always very friendly and I get along with them better than most other people.

How do you find balancing your studies with playing?

It is difficult to find time to balance my studies, I wouldn’t be able to do it without my mum and dad making sure I keep on top of the college work. It’s still very hard trying to balance my time between college, training, going to the gym and also working a part time job.

I have to sacrifice a lot of social events to dedicate my time to training or work. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as I enjoy training and playing the sport and during College, I try to do as much work as I can in my free periods, so I spend a lot of time in the library.

Will you continue to play at university?

Yes. I would like to get a scholarship to America or Canada to play volleyball in the top divisions over there at university. The atmosphere in university volleyball over there is like no other!

If I fail at that, I want a scholarship to University of Nottingham or Durham to play volleyball and study physiotherapy or sports and exercise science. These both have teams in the Super League which is the top league in this country.

What’s your favourite thing about studying at NSCG?

I enjoy feeling more independent and using the breaks and free periods to manage my own time. I don’t really like being told what to do so I didn’t enjoy high school but here the staff treat you more like adults and you are expected to work independently which I like.

Tell us a random/interesting fact about yourself

I am a massive star wars fan!