By: Leighton Levy - Sportsmax (Photo Credit: @GBurkeImages)

In a groundbreaking move for Jamaican volleyball, Aiko Jones has signed a professional contract with the Atlanta Vibe, becoming the first Jamaican-born player to join the Volleyball Pro League in the United States. Jones, a 6-foot-2 opposite hitter, has had an outstanding collegiate career at the University of Louisville in Kentucky and is set to make her mark in the professional arena.

The Atlanta Vibe, a professional indoor volleyball team based in Atlanta, Georgia, competes in the Pro Volleyball Federation. They began their journey in the league's inaugural 2024 season and play their home games at Gas South Arena in nearby Duluth. Jones’ addition to the team is expected to bolster their roster, bringing her extensive experience and dynamic playing style to the professional level.

12684897256?profile=RESIZE_400xJones, born on August 12, 1999, in Kingston, Jamaica, attended Wolmers Girls' School where she excelled not only in volleyball but also in athletics, particularly in field events. Her volleyball journey is a continuation of a family legacy, as her parents, broadcaster Paula-Anne Porter-Jones and Dr Thaon Jon Jones, also excelled in the sport.

"Playing professional volleyball had been a goal of mine since I stepped foot on that court at Marescaux Road. Signing this contract is just another step towards that goal. The work continues and I am ready to continue to give my all," she told Sportsmax.TV.12684890667?profile=RESIZE_710x

She first hinted at the development on social media.

“What are the odds I signed my first professional contract in the same stadium I stood in front of #CardNation for the first time?” Jones posted on X on Sunday.

During her tenure with the Louisville Cardinals, Jones developed into a formidable force on the court. In 2023, she earned AVCA All-East Region honors and was named to the All-ACC Second Team. Playing in 112 sets, she recorded 249 kills with a hitting percentage of .260, along with 15 assists, 27 aces, 147 digs, and 86 blocks. Her season-high performance included 13 kills against Florida State.

The previous year, Jones was a key player for the Cardinals, being named to the Final Four All-Tournament team, the All-Louisville Regional team, the AVCA First-Team All-East Region team, and the All-ACC First Team. She played in all 119 sets, amassing 300 kills with a .268 hitting percentage. She led the team with 44 aces and contributed significantly on defense with 108 total blocks, scoring a total of 401 points for the season.

Jones is currently pursuing her master's degree in communications, continuing to balance her academic pursuits with her athletic career. Her signing with the Atlanta Vibe marks a significant milestone for Jamaican athletes, opening doors for future talents from the island to explore opportunities in professional volleyball.

As Aiko Jones embarks on this new chapter with the Atlanta Vibe, the volleyball community in Jamaica and her supporters worldwide will be eagerly watching her progress, cheering for her continued success in the sport.