Bom dia Hiago, thanks for being part of the Be Volleyball Community!
Hope you are healthy and safe! How are you doing at this particular time?
Hello brother, I’m doing well these days. It’s becoming a bit of a mental challenge at this point after practically 2 months at home, however I am very much at home with my family after almost 8 months away from them.
Everyone has a story, how did you start playing volleyball?
I started playing volleyball when I was 10 years old at a club called Minas Tenis Clube, in Belo Horizonte, Brazil! In the beginning, volleyball was just another sport that I was discovering as a kid. After trying swimming, basketball, soccer, judo and tennis, volleyball hit me differently. Since then I never stopped playing and the love for the sport kept growing more and more. I’m 26 years old now, and 16 years later I’m still in love with the game.
You took the decision to leave your home country to study and play in the USA. Could you tell us more about your stay in the Ball University and your overall US experience?
When I was 18 years old I had the opportunity to go to the United States of America to study business and play volleyball for an amazing university. Going to Ball State University was simply the best choice I could have ever made at that time. Fantastic training facilities and a good and competitive league, combined with a high level education was the “perfect combo” I could get at 18 years of age. College was fun, competitive, challenging and shaped me to be where I am today.
How did you take this decision? Would you recommend the way of studying and playing to other young volleyball players?
My parents have always been very supportive about volleyball but also very clear about the importance of studying. They were really excited and supportive about this idea of me going to the US and we went after it. We looked for how we could make it happen, contacted a company that contacted universities in America and organized everything so we would work it out.
I would TOTALLY recommend this experience to any young volleyball player. It is a wonderful experience inside and outside of the court. It’s a great opportunity to network in volleyball and in the business world. I was blessed to go to Ball State University, a NCAA Division 1 University, and I wish I could do it all over again.
Then you crossed the Ocean and came to Europe to play, having played in Finland, Spain and Cyprus last year. Could you tell our Community more about these volleyball countries and your experience there?
After the US I went straight to Finland for my first professional year. It was a big challenge for me at a super cold and different place, but I went for it. Playing professionally was always a dream and playing in Finland made it possible. Finland has a good league but it was a year of lots of learning and adapting.
My second season I came back to Brazil to play in the B League. It was a fantastic experience where I helped the team VOLEI UM ITAPETININGA, in its first year, to rise to the famous Brazilian Superleague.
Third season I went to Spain, another good level league in Europe. Spain was a good experience, amazing country and culture. It was a bit turbulent year in the court with lots of changes in our team but I kept working hard and finished the season in the best way I could. After Spain, I went to Cyprus.
This last season in Cyprus was my best one overall, I believe. It was a very competitive season with the top 6 teams competing point by point all the way to the end. Cyprus is a beautiful Island and people that follow sports are very passionate about it. It was a great experience for me and I really gave my all for our team.
What is the best moment in your career until now?
The best moment of my career was my first game back in Brazil when I came back after 5 year playing abroad. It was the first official game of our team VÔLEI UM ITAPETININGA against SESI. There were like 3.000 people watching the game and my family was there watching me play after 5 years, and I was playing against one of my volleyball idols William Arjona, el Mago.
What skills and attributes does a good setter need to have?
A good setter needs to be a quick thinker to make the right decision at the right time. Needs to be efficient with movement in the court to get to the ball and fast as possible and deliver a good set. I believe the setter should, in most cases, have a leader attitude because every point goes through his hands. And finally have the ability to understand each teammate and know how to maximize their ability to succeed and be efficient in the court!
What plans do you have for next season, you already know where you will be playing?
I’m very happy to announce that I’ll be playing for MONTES CLAROS AMÉRICA VOLEI in the Brazilian Superleague this season 2020/2021! I’m very excited for this new challenge and looking forward to starting soon! My personal goal is to help the team the best way possible and to reach the top 5 in the league this year!
Last but not least, what you would like to achieve in the upcoming years?
I want to get to the high level leagues like Poland, Italy, Turkey and come back to play in the Brazilian Superleague. That’s a dream of mine, and I have been working really hard to make this happen. It’s just a matter of time.