The sky’s the limit for Skylar Fields

In her first season with USC, Skylar Fields has become an offensive weapon and team leader for the Trojans.

Graduate student outside hitter Skylar Fields rises up to serve.

Ever since she made the decision to move out west, Skylar Fields has been living up to her namesake: she’s flying nonstop. But it’s not just airplane trips — when she rises up above the net at Galen Center to get to the ball, she’s flying.

“Skylar is a national team type of player in terms of athletic ability,” USC head coach Brad Keller said. “She’s jumping up around 11 feet, she’s got a really good arm, she’s been one of the top athletes at every stage of her life. She’s a difference maker.”

Fields’ first season in Cardinal and Gold was nothing short of impressive. The graduate transfer outside hitter picked up right where she left off at Texas by improving and expanding on all aspects of her game to take it to another level. Fields quickly became the go-to option for the Trojans’ offense and is a consistent threat at the net. Most importantly, she serves as a crucial team leader in Keller’s quest to take USC all the way to a national championship.

As the middle child of three siblings, Fields grew up in a very athletic family in Missouri City, Texas. Her younger brother, Jackson, just finished up his freshman season on the men’s basketball team at Troy, while her older sister, Sydnye, played volleyball at North Carolina from 2015 to 2017 before finishing her collegiate career at Texas A&M in 2018. Her family’s athletic ambition gave Fields a natural competitiveness, a drive to improve that she brings to the court. Despite the distance, Skylar is still incredibly close to her entire family.

“We’re really close. I love that, cause I know that it’s not the case for everybody, so I really take advantage of everything that my family does,” she said. “We’ve been close. I can’t remember a time I wasn’t close with my family.”

As a kid, Fields tried playing a variety of different sports before settling on volleyball at age 13 after watching her older sister play. She credits her 13′s coach Lauren Rhodes as being a major influence on her. Rhodes told Fields that she could be really good if she took the sport seriously throughout middle and high school. The work paid off, as Fields committed to and joined the women’s volleyball team at the University of Texas.

Fields enjoyed every moment at Texas and was named the Big XII Freshman of the Year in 2019 and as well as a three-time AVCA All-Southwest Region selection and a three-time Big XII All-Conference first-team choice. Despite those accolades, she made the difficult decision to enter the transfer portal after three years with the Longhorns. Due to her aspirations to play for the Senior U.S. Women’s National Team, Fields wanted to improve her back row game as an outside hitter. Her coaches at Texas routinely substituted her out of the match when she rotated to the back row, so she decided that it was time to find a new home.

“I need someone who wants to help me take it to the next level without me having to ask every single day, like, ‘Hey, you said we were going to do this? We haven’t done it yet,’” Fields said. “I gotta put myself first, I can’t keep letting people lie to my face. I wanna get better.”

After consulting with USC junior setter and future roommate Mia Tuaniga, whom she had played with on the U21 U.S. National Team, and head coach Brad Keller, Fields was sold on becoming a Trojan. Tuaniga told her about how much she loved the coaching staff and her experience with USC. In addition, Keller was willing to take a chance on allowing her to play back row.

Keller was a college coach in men’s volleyball for over 10 years, where teams only have six substitutions per set compared to 15 on the women’s side. He is much more accustomed to developing players that he sees as difference makers to play all six rotations.

“It was the best decision I could have made,” Fields said. “Not only because I’ve been able to grow and expand my game, but also because I really found who I was.”

The move paid off, as Fields led the Pac-12 in total kills, kills per set and points per set while ranking in the top five nationally in all three of those categories in 2022. She was named to both the 2022 AVCA All-America First Team and the 2022 Pac-12 All Conference Team. In addition to becoming a major contributor for the Trojans, Fields has also become a team leader.

Fields shows her vertical while spiking the ball during a game against Cal November 12, 2022.

Both Keller and Tuaniga attested that she holds everyone, including herself, accountable, but in a way that is positive and brings people up, not pushes them down.

“She’s always gonna tell you how it is,” Tuaniga said. “You always know what you’re gonna get when you go talk to Skylar.”

Fields’ favorite moments last season were the Trojans’ two victories over crosstown rival UCLA, first in Westwood before beating the Bruins again on senior night at the Galen Center. Fields said those matches were special not just because of the heated rivalry the two schools have, but also because of the personal ties between the two teams. Graduate libero Kelli Berry transferred in from UCLA for her final season of eligibility, while Keller worked at UCLA for seven years and served as the associate head coach for the Bruins for one year prior to being hired as USC’s head coach in 2020.

Going into the offseason, Keller said that Fields needs to improve her blocking, passing and landing on two feet after taking a swing at the net. The latter is what he said has led to ankle injuries throughout her career. As she works her way back to 100% on the sidelines, she is still being a leader in every way possible.

“Everyone’s goal is to win a national championship. But I think one of our main goals is to push our limits and see how far we can really go,” Fields said. “We have potential, we can win the Pac-12, we can make a deep run in the tournament, upset some teams and win a national championship.”

Outside of volleyball, Fields enjoys reading, listening to music and going to the beach with her teammates after practice. Another interesting passion Fields has is that she likes to make music. While more of a hobby for her, it speaks to who she is creatively and how there are endless dimensions to her.

“I’ve been in the studio a couple times and just played around,” Skylar said. “I can see how artists want to be artists and get to make music, it’s really fun in the studio. It’s dope.”

Tuaniga mentioned that Skylar is always up to find something to do with her teammates, whether it be finding new restaurants in LA or doing something fun like watching the Los Angeles Rams’ 2022 Super Bowl Parade. Skylar also misses going home on weekends, something that she did frequently while at Texas to get to see her parents.

“Being away from home has been different,” Fields said. “During the season I was really distracted, not really thinking about being away from home, but this spring I’ve had a couple moments where I was like ‘Dang, I wish I could go home for the weekend.’ I miss being around my family.”

Upon graduating in December 2023 with a degree in Communications, Fields hopes to play for the Senior U.S. National Team with a goal of competing in the 2028 Olympics. But that’s not all — she hopes to be a celebrity stylist too. She has other career goals as well.

“I kind of want to work in the operations of a professional sports team, so whether it’s being a director of opps or behind the scenes,” Fields said. “Also, I would like to do social media for a professional sports team.”

Both Keller and Tuaniga see endless potential in Fields.

“I’m so excited to see what she does and where she goes. Not even the sky’s the limit. There’s no limit for her,” Tuaniga said. “Anything she puts her mind to, she’s gonna go out there, conquer it, and say ‘What’s next?’ I’m just super excited to just be her setter.”

Fields is preparing for her final season with the Trojans next fall, when they begin their 2023 campaign. Keller knows the end of her time at USC will be just the beginning for her.

“I still think today that one day that she is going to be a CEO of a company or she is gonna be the president of the United States,” Keller said. “There’s a lot of things about Skylar that are fantastic. And I don’t say special often, I do think that she’s a special individual. Charisma is a word you could use, but magnetic is the term I would use. She draws a lot of people towards her and makes a lot of people feel better. Not a lot of people have that ability.”