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Sandy Beginnings: Zana Muno’s Path from Hermosa to the AVP

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

beginning.


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

most.


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

Muno: Beyond the Court and into the Life of a Professional Athlete - episode #192, click

here. You can also listen on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

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