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20/07/2018 19:31
Monica Cresta - from ‘la mamma’ to ‘macho’
2018 CEV U20 Volleyball European Championship - Men

The Hague, Netherlands, July 20, 2018. Monica Cresta is the head coach of the Italian national team playing at the finals of the 2018 CEV U20 Volleyball European Championship - Men and she is a female, maybe the first ever to train an Italian men’s Volleyball national team.

While it may still sound almost shocking to some, this is now more part of a recent trend at these youth competitions, rather than a unique case. At the 2013 Youth European Championship - Men, the Austrian boys were coached by Nina Sawatzki. Mieke Moyaert recently led the young Belgian squads at the 2017 U19 European Championship - Men and the 2018 U18 European Championship - Men. These are two examples. And if you need three to start a trend, there she is, Monica Cresta.

But we still live in a men’s world and keep asking that shabby question – how is it possible for a woman to coach a men’s team? Monica Cresta was nice enough to satisfy the curiosity.

How did you become the coach of a boys’ team?

I played Volleyball myself, but really on a basic level. Serie C in Italy was the maximum. But I was always interested in the way you can play Volleyball. I learned hard and I worked hard, always with boys’ teams. I became the coach of the promising youth team Club Italia, playing in the Italian professional league. Nine of the twelve players of the Italian team here at this European Championship were players of my team Club Italia. That was also the reason why I became coach of the national team. I worked with them the whole season.

Is it not a problem for a woman to coach a men’s team?

Not a problem at all. On the technical and tactical part of the job, we do the same things, boys and girls. The only difference is that I cannot enter the dressing room. Actually, I’d rather coach boys. Girls in a team are perhaps not always honest and are whispering with each other when the coach can’t hear them (laughs). Boys are better listeners and I think I am very well accepted by them. I don’t think they have a problem with me. It even happens they come with their personal problems to me. I am somewhat of ‘la mamma’ for them, and if necessary, I can be “macho” too. But work is work. That’s why they are on our team! They have to listen and mostly they do. I think there is no difference between men and women in that matter.

You are not afraid to put your best players on the bench sometimes?

Why should I be? Who is my best player? When it is necessary to win, I will change any player. And they know they can sit on the bench for a while, thinking how they can play better.

Is Monica Cresta also an ambitious woman?

To be the coach of this national team is a dream come true. How it works further on, we will see. I’m happy at this moment and it is nice to work with these guys. We will see what happens in the future.

Engage with the U20 European Championship on social media by using the competition’s official hashtag #EuroVolleyU20M.

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