Volleyball has gotten so big in the Philippines that one of the best players in the history just had to come see what all the fuss was about.
The only player to have won an Olympic gold medal in both indoor and beach volleyball, and the current head coach of the USA Women’s National Team, Karch Kiraly will be conducting a coaching clinic with PSL coaches today at the Kerry Sport’s Center at the Shangri-La.
Kiraly, who won a bronze medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics with his women’s squad, held a press conference before the camp where he gushed about the Philippines’ passion for volleyball.
“This sport (volleyball) was invented in our country, but it’s evolved so much since the sport started growing around the world,” Kiraly said, “Here, there’s such a great passion for it that they held the World Club Championships here last year. I know that team was not just made up of Filipinos, but there were a couple of Americans and other players from different parts of the world.
“I have no doubt in my mind that quality, world class players can come from anywhere. Regardless of height, players just need the passion for the sport to excel.”
Kiraly then emphasized his favorite part about coaching – building connections. Having ended his playing career fairly recently in 2007 and jumped straight into coaching, Kiraly relishes — more than teaching other coaches — the lessons he learns from the people he interacts with in his camps.
“I know that I’m still fairly new at coaching, especially to the world-class coaches who have been at this for decades. I’m incredibly amazed at the things I learn and the people I meet in my travels for volleyball,” Kiraly said.
With the Philippines, he’s most curious about how the PSL has been able to thrive. In the USA, there are no pro leagues for players to compete in after college, so players have to find opportunities elsewhere.
Some Americans find their way in the Philippines. Currently, there are a handful of Americam imports in the on-going Chooks-to-Go PSL Grand Prix.
“It’s great that there are leagues like this where players can continue playing. Hopefully, we develop something like the PSL in the States. For such a young league to be able to already make an imprint is remarkable.”
Kiraly will be the guest of honor in tomorrow’s official opening ceremonies for the PSL Grand Prix at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
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