Maria Bertelli appointed England Women's Head Coach
18th January 2019
Olympian and former England international Maria Bertelli has been appointed as the new head coach of the England women’s volleyball team.
“I am excited, really excited,” said Maria, in an exclusive video interview. “I’ve been involved with the junior and cadets and am keen to re-establish pride in playing for the senior women’s international team. I want people to really want to play for England and get great experiences doing so.”
That pride is something Maria knows all about having pulled on the England jersey herself. She brings a wealth of playing experience to the role having also played professionally in Europe and for Team GB at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Maria was the libero for Team GB who secured a historic first ever victory for a Great Britain volleyball team at an Olympics.
Volleyball England was impressed with her outlook on helping tackle the challenges the programme currently faces.
“Maria understands that the national talent programme has limited resources,” says Gillian Harrison, who oversees the talent programme as Volleyball England’s Technical and Talent Coordinator. “She wants to focus on individual player development and engaging committed athletes, as well as scoping competitive opportunities that are right for Team England. This resonated with Volleyball England’s aspirations for what can be achieved.
“She also has a huge passion for women’s volleyball and England volleyball, which is really important as everyone works together to build the programme.”
Part of the volleyball community
As an early priority, Maria will be contacting players who are in the current squad and is looking at the best way to bring new players into the set-up. In her video interview, she gave a message about the type of players she wants to work with. As well as working hard, she is keen to have a lot of fun and help individuals achieve their own volleyball aspirations, whether that is playing professionally or studying alongside competing.
“I want to give players the chance to be the best they can be,” said Maria. “The challenge is going to be how do we set up an environment with the restrictions that allows them to do that – but we’re up for the challenge.
The new head coach is also firm in her belief that the England women’s team can play a bigger role in the volleyball community. She has spoken of her desire to see the England women’s team inspire the younger generations about what it is possible for them to achieve and for England international volleyball to gain a bigger profile which could help grow the sport.
“We want to reconnect with the volleyball community and are hoping they’ll get on board and support us in any way they can,” said Maria.