Lausanne, Switzerland, June 23, 2020 – Every young volleyball player in Mexico has a role model in Samantha Bricio. The most successful player in the country, the 25-year-old outside hitter also hopes to be the driving force as her country chases positive results in the future.
The youngest player to ever wear the Mexican national team uniform, Bricio, who first joined the team when she was 13, has spent the first four years of her professional career playing in some of the best leagues in Europe.
She has won medals in three consecutive editions of the European Champions League and was part of an extremely successful Imoco Volley Conegliano team that won the Italian League, the Italian Cup and the Supercopa in a two-year span.
She also played for Turkey’s Fenerbahce, where she took silver in the Turkish Cup, before returning to Italy last season to join Savino Del Bene Scandicci. And Bricio is now set to join another giant on the continent, Russia’s Dinamo Kazan, in the upcoming season.
“To be honest, the thought of being considered a veteran in the national team at the age of 25 sometimes scares me, but I’m for sure a senior in our team,” Bricio reflected in an interview with the European Volleyball Federation Youtube channel. “All the other girls on the team are pretty young, they’re all 17 or 18 years old, so I’ve accepted that I’m a senior at this point.”
The Mexicans have appeared in four of the last five editions of the FIVB Volleyball World Championships and competed in four consecutive FIVB World Grand Prix tournaments between 2014 and 2017. Returning to the Olympics for the first time since 1968 when Mexico City hosted the event, however, is still only a dream.
Located in a region with a tradition of volleyball, where it has to battle some of the sport’s strongest national teams in the United States, the Dominican Republic, Canada, Puerto Rico and Cuba for Olympic berths, the Mexicans showed signs of improvement during January’s NORCECA Olympic Qualifier in Santo Domingo, taking the hosts to five sets and stealing a set from Canada.
“The Olympics are the ultimate goal for any team and it’s the same for us,” the outside hitter added. “Our last tournament as a team was the last opportunity we had to go to the Tokyo Olympics and it was a good one. We almost beat the Dominican Republic, we took them to five sets, which was pretty good for us.”
The star outside hitter, considered the Most Valuable Player of the 2016-2017 Italian Cup and the best server of the 2018-2019 European Champions League, spent four years refining her game while studying at the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles, USA, before moving to Europe.
The Mexican, who became a standout for the programme and was recognised as the best collegiate player in the country in 2016, will now see several of her fellow national team players take the same route and join American universities this year.
“Several of the younger players in our team will go to the United States for college now and I’m confident they will benefit a lot from all the training and opportunities they will have there,” Bricio commented. “It will have a massive impact in their development and it will make us stronger as a team, so I’m very confident and excited to see what they can do.”