By DJ Sixsmith

(CBS Local Sports)– Volleyball has taken Cassidy Lichtman all over the world and for the first time in her career, she has the opportunity to play professional volleyball at home in the United States.

The Stanford alum and former Team USA player is one of the 44 women who are playing in the brand new Athletes Unlimited Volleyball league in Dallas, Texas on CBS Sports Network. After a successful run with Athletes Unlimited Softball in the summer of 2020, the same concepts of players picking up individual points, switching teams each week and coaching themselves has been applied to indoor volleyball. The scoring system allows players to earn and lose points individually based on how they do and how their teams perform. The top four point leaders each week will be captains and select their teammates.

CBS Local Sports caught up with Lichtman to discuss this new league, playing on national TV and the great work she is doing away from the court with her non-profit.

“The number one thing is just getting to play professional volleyball in the US,” said Lichtman, in an interview with CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “This hasn’t been an opportunity for us in my lifetime. We always have to go play on pro teams overseas. Being here and being able to talk to my teammates, they speak the same language as me, all of that is just exciting. The fact that we’ve been able to bring such high-level and experienced players to start in this very first season has made it just really, really cool.”

During her time at Stanford, Lichtman was a two-time All-American and and won four Pac-10 championships. She’s just really happy to be playing volleyball again after everything that has gone down with COVID-19 the last year.

“Coming into Dallas, being around other humans, getting to be on national TV, all of that is really exciting,” said Lichtman. “As athletes, we love to compete. We haven’t had the opportunity to do that for the most part for the last year. To get out and do what we love is really exciting for us. The interesting thing about our league is we redraft teams every week, which keeps it fresh and exciting. Seeing how people strategize differently about who is going to be the first pick this week and who will pick who in the first couple of rounds, it’s really exciting to see how different people think about it.”

Away from the court, Lichtman recently started a non-profit called Path Sports that looks to empower young athletes.

“We have moms here, entrepreneurs here and I run my own non-profit,” said Lichtman, “All of those things that Athletes Unlimited is helping us amplify is our bonus to also playing some really great volleyball. I launched Path a year ago and we are looking to help develop some better skills around equity, empathy and empowerment in the next generation. We are using the vehicle of sports to do that. We want to break down those skills and think about they apply to kids in their lives and get those reps just like hitting a ball.”

Watch Athletes Unlimited Volleyball on CBS Sports Network.