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15 Top-Earning Women’s Beach Volleyball Players of All-Time

by: Esteban On  Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Tags:  Beach Volleyball   Salaries  

top-earning female beach volleyball players

Beach volleyball is one of the most entertaining women’s sports to watch, thanks to both the frenetic action and the eye-catching aesthetics. But did you ever wonder how much pro beach volleyball players actually make?

Well I did, for some reason, so I looked it up. The results of my research? Well, they’re kind of depressing, actually. The players at the very top of the earnings pyramid have done pretty well for themselves and earned more than enough to live comfortably after they retire. But the rest? They’ll probably have to work at Starbucks when their playing days are over.

Here’s a list of the 15 women at the very top of the individual career earnings list. When you see it, those of you who might be critical of the sport’s skimpy uniforms will probably be a little more sympathetic—these women need all the attention they can get just to make playing worth their while in the long run.

All data courtesy of the Beach Volleyball Database.

15. Jenny Johnson Jordan

15 jenny johnson - top earning women's beach volleyball players all-time

Career Earnings: $849,607

The 40-year-old Jenny Johnson Jordan, a native of Sherman Oaks, California, and an alum of UCLA, is 15th on the all-time earnings list—and she’s “only” earned $850K. Now, obviously, $850K is a lot of money and about, oh, $850K more than I have ever earned playing sports. So good for her. I’m just saying, for all the hard work and dedication she’s put into the AVP  Pro Beach Volleyball Tour over the years, it sure would be nice if she’d earned a little more than that.

 

14. Annett Davis

14 annett david - top earning women's beach volleyball players all-time

Career Earnings: $868,600

Up next on the list is Jenny Johnson Jordan’s partner on the beach, 39-year-old Annett Davis. Obviously, the two California natives haven’t played every singe event together over the years, otherwise they’d have the exact same earnings. But they’ve played well over 100 events as a team, which is a lot.

 

13. Talita Rocha

13 talita rocha - top earning women's beach volleyball players all-time

Career Earnings: $889,350

Talita hasn’t had one primary partner over the years. The 30-year-old Brazilian has split her time pretty much evenly with Renata Ribeiro and Maria Antonelli—both of whom have earned about half of what Talita has for their careers.

 

12. Nicole Branagh

12 nicole branagh - top earning women's beach volleyball players all-time

Career Earnings: $1,021,943

The first member of the millionaires club in women’s pro beach volleyball to make the list is Nicole Branagh. The 34-year-old played a good portion of her career with another woman we’ve yet to see on this list, but has since switched partners a couple of times and now plays with 37-year-old Angie Aikers, who sits way down at #47 in career earnings.

 

11. Barbra Fontana

11 barbra fontana - top earning women's beach volleyball players all-time

Career Earnings: $1,031,455

Barbra Fontana may have earned over a million bucks playing volleyball, but it took her a long time to do it. The 47-year-old started out way back in 1984, first earned money in 1991 ($12,660), and played all the way until 2010. Her best season, financially speaking? That would be 2001, when she made about $125,000.

 

10. April Ross

10 april ross - top earning women's beach volleyball players all-time

Career Earnings: $1,047,950

The achievement April Ross is probably most proud of is winning a silver medal for the United States at the 2012 Summer Olympics. The achievement April Ross’s accountant is probably most proud of is pulling in a cool $272,575 in 2009.

 

9. Adriana Behar

9 adriana behar - top earning women's beach volleyball players all-time

Career Earnings: $1,210,238

Brazil’s Adriana Behar, 44, retired at the end of the 2007 season after a solid 15-year career. Her most lucrative year was 2001, when she raked in $152,500 on the FIVB (international) tour.

 

8. Shelda Bede

8 shelda bede - top earning women's beach volleyball players all-time

Career Earnings: $1,332,708

Shelda Bede and her main partner, Adriana Behar, are the most successful team in the history of the Swatch FIVB Tour. Together they won six season championships and earned $2,231,565. However, two other teams are ahead of them on the overall earnings list.

 

7. Jennifer Kessy

7 jennifer kessy - top earning women's beach volleyball players all-time

Career Earnings: $1,344,022

In the past, Jennifer Kessy has played with Barbra Fontana and another woman we’ll be meeting pretty soon. However, she’s achieved the majority of her success playing with April Ross. And like Ross, her best year ever in terms of earnings was 2009, when she pulled in $280,250 between the AVP and FIVB Tours.

 

6. Juliana Felisberta

6 juliana felisberta - top earning women's beach volleyball players all-time

Career Earnings: $1,345,225

The 30-year-old Juliana Felisberta won bronze at the Olympics last summer, and together with her partner (the next woman on our list) has won a pretty good chunk of change on the FIVB Tour.

 

5. Larissa Franca

5 larissa franca - top earning women's beach volleyball players all-time

Career Earnings: $1,357,235

Larissa, 31, has an Olympic bronze medal with Juliana, plus a 2011 World Championship and four FIVB titles. If she and Juliana keep going strong, they can definitely move on up this list in a few years.

 

4. Holly McPeak

4 holly mcpeak - top earning women's beach volleyball players all-time

Career Earnings: $1,610,786

Ah yes, Holly McPeak—one of the four or so beach volleyball players you’ve heard of. The 44-year-old retired back in 2009, but not before earning a bronze medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics, two AVP Tour championships, and three WPVA championships. Her most lucrative year was easily 1996, when she made $205,625 in the WPBA and FIVB combined.

 

3. Elaine Youngs

3 elaine youngs - top earning women's beach volleyball players all-time

Career Earnings: $1,795,634

Youngs is also 44 and retired. Earlier in her career she and Holly McPeak were a fearsome team, but later on Youngs teamed up with Nicole Branagh and surpassed her former partner in total earnings. Then, in 2009, Youngs became the first female player to surpass $1,000,000 in career domestic earnings, which is hard to do because there’s a lot more money on the table on the FIVB Tour.

 

2. Kerri Walsh Jennings

2 kerri walsh - top earning women's beach volleyball players all-time

Career Earnings: $2,056,635

You had to figure Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor would top the list, right? They’re only the most dominant beach volleyball team of all-time. The only reason Walsh Jennings sits at #2 behind her longtime partner? Maternity leaves. Walsh has three kids with husband Casey Jennings, while May-Treanor has none.

Of course, being five weeks pregnant didn’t keep Walsh Jennings from winning her third consecutive Olympic gold last summer in London.

 

1. Misty May-Treanor

1 misty may treanor - top earning women's beach volleyball players all-time

Career Earnings: $2,132,733

Misty May-Treanor, the other half of the most dominant beach volleyball pair of all-time, has earned about $100K more than Walsh Jennings to take the top spot on this list.

Is that good money? You bet it is. But it’s not all that much when you consider the fact that she’s possibly the best her sport has ever seen. So it’s no wonder she’s retired and is currently working on a masters degree in coaching and athletic administration (which is a real thing). Once she gets that degree, her name will get her a job immediately.

 




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