Zana Muno - Beyond the Court and into the Life of a Professional Athlete - From episode #192 of The Athletes Podcast
Written by : Tomas Morgan
Growing up in the sunny coastal town of Hermosa Beach, California, Zana Muno had
sand between her toes and beach volleyball in her blood from day one. As the daughter
of athletic parents, with a mom who narrowly missed a tour card in golf, a dad who
played D1 football and even a brother who plays baseball professionally, the
competitive spirit ran deep in the Muno family.
Zana's introduction to sports began with soccer, where she showed immense promise,
even earning a spot in the national program. However, by seventh grade, the young
athlete was yearning for a new challenge. Fortunately, family friends who were
collegiate-level athletes at UCLA opened the door to a thrilling opportunity.
With their endorsement, Zana joined a competitive volleyball team. Her journey didn't
start on top; she had to work hard to match the skills of her teammates. But she never
gave up. Four years of indoor volleyball and three years of beach volleyball at UCLA
culminated in two national championships and a passion that would shape her future.
The decision to attend UCLA was a no-brainer for Zana. Not only did it provide an
education but also the chance to excel in both indoor and beach volleyball, allowing her
to train all year long. The success she found on the court at UCLA was only the
Today, Zana Muno is a professional beach volleyball player, taking on the sands of the
AVP with various partners. Her journey in volleyball has given her the incredible
opportunity to travel the world, experiencing diverse cultures while doing what she loves
When asked if she ever looks back and wonders if soccer was the right path, Zana's
answer is a resounding "no." Her competitive spirit remains as strong as ever, and she
still enjoys a variety of sports daily, from pickleball to paddle.
The conversation then turns to the changing landscape of collegiate athletes benefiting
from the NIL (Name, Image, Likeness) rule. Zana acknowledges that she was fortunate
to have her education paid for, which is a relief for students graduating without debt.
However, she raises concerns about the increasing focus on individual popularity rather
than the value athletes bring through their sport.
Female athletes, in particular, face challenges in securing brand deals, as many sponsors prioritize social media following over athletic prowess. This shift in focus, Zana believes, diminishes the value of being a great athlete and blurs the line between athletes and content creators.
To young athletes and aspiring volleyball players, Zana offers advice: build your social
media presence authentically while staying true to yourself. She believes that in the
coming months, she'll be able to make professional beach volleyball a full-time job by
aligning herself with brands that reflect her values.
Zana dives deeper into her story including things such as her diet, mental health and
answers many amazing questions from her fans throughout the podcast. To watch Zana