It’s been a good year for Chris Voth. The former Canadian national volleyball team player coached his club in Switzerland to a championship, and then came out of retirement and won as a player.
Oh, and he also got engaged and completed his master’s degree. Talk about thriving on and off the court.
Voth suddenly moved to Switzerland in August 2021 for an opportunity to serve as an assistant coach for one of the country’s top volleyball teams. It’s safe to say his decision has worked out.
“I was a little nervous, because on the east side where I am, I heard it was a little more conservative,” Voth told Outsports. “But everyone has been incredibly friendly. We actually have an openly gay player on the team as well, which is great.”
Voth’s club, Lindaren Volley Amriswil, won the Swiss Cup Championship last season and already won this year’s SuperCup.
Voth was part of the latter victory. With the team’s head coach from last season on sabbatical, one of Voth’s former assistants from Canada, Vincent Pichette, took over, and recruited Voth to put his uniform back on.
With a grueling schedule of 11 games in 29 days, Pichette knew there would be injuries, and players would be fatigued.
When the right moment came, he summoned Voth from the bench. Voth was back in action for the first time since 2018, and there was no grace period.
His first action back was a Champions League match. The Champions League is the highest-rated pro volleyball league in the world.
Voth will be a player-coach for the remainder of the season.
“It was strange to be back on the court again, and have that first-person perspective of the match,” said Voth. “But I had done it a bunch before. I prepared for that.”
Voth’s engagement was more serendipitous. He met his partner, Angel, for the first time in February.
They got engaged in early September, right in front of the Eiffel Tower.
As Voth told me: When you know, you know.
“It was a little cliche, but it was his dream to go there, and I had never been to Paris, either,” said Voth. “It’s just been so great being with him. I’m really looking forward to our lifetime together.”
Voth knows from experience that life can be unpredictable. He publicly came out as gay as a member of Canada’s national team, but three years later, says his sexuality cost him a spot on a European pro team.
Voth received his career-changing coaching offer shortly after he was sent home from his previous team, due to work permit issues.
But going forward, Angel will be his constant. Voth is ecstatic.
“It’s difficult for me to express in words how perfect everything is with him,” he said.