If things go his way, Cole Chea will spend part of 2024 in Paris. But not to see the Eiffel Tower.
Chea, the current team leader in kills for the Brahmas, dreams of playing for the United States Men’s National Volleyball Team.
Chea, a freshman, graduated from El Camino Real Charter High School and started his volleyball career during his sophomore year in high school.
In his last year in high school, Chea was awarded Most Valuable Player and City Section Division 1 Player of the Year.
Sports have always played a big role in Chea’s family.
“I have a family full of athletics, but my grandfather is the main reason I got into volleyball,” Chea said. “I realized volleyball was the main thing I wanted to do more than anything. It’s the one thing that actually clicked with me and I quickly began to see how much I want to play.”
When he was 14 his grandfather showed him Chea life-size cutout of himself wearing the number four. That inspired Chea to continue the tradition of wearing the number four.
Chea said his grandfather has always told him to hustle, and that “it’s always better to be the worst person on the court then the best person on the court because you always strive for greatness.”
While Chea has had the support of his friends and family, he’s also experienced challenges.
At a point in his life, Chea spent cold nights sleeping on the floor and had a grade point average of 1.7 but through it all, he maintained his spirits high.
“At the end of the day I always learn from every situation,” Chea said. “You have to have a mentality of wanting to better yourself everyday. You have to ask yourself, did you get better than you were yesterday?”
Brent Norkus, middle blocker, said Chea always gives 100 percent in everything he does.
“He is charismatic, always positive and he loves the game of volleyball,” Norkus said. “His work ethic is always on point. Chea has an incredible talent and it’s always great to be around someone like him who motivates you to be your best.”
Morgan Wadlow, outside hitter, said he sees Chea obtaining his Olympic dream.
“Cole is that one person who’s always setting the bar high. It’s definitely something he can achieve,” Wadlow said. “Chea is here at Pierce to become a great player, and once he continues to better himself, there’ll be no stopping him.”
Chea said that Maxwell Holt, who plays for the United States’ men’s volleyball team is someone he looks up to because of the work ethic he has.
“Ever since I can remember, Maxwell Holt has been a big inspiration and someone I look up to,” Chea said.
Chea said he met met Holt while he was playing at the 2017 Manhattan Beach 6-Man competition.
When he was done playing, Chea remembered telling himself “give me two, three years and I’m going to be as great as Holt.”
Chea said his dreams to become an Olympian will take hard work, consistency and a lot of dedication, but he is here to put in the blood, sweat, and tears.
“I live for the battles when it comes to sports. I don’t play for an easy victory,” Chea said.