The Philippines is actually no alien to Jorge Souza de Brito — who was assigned by the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) to help work on the national women’s team program of the country.
He learned about the country from, who else, Leila Barros, the charming former Brazilian star who became a darling to Filipino fans when she played for the Brazilian national team in the FIVB Women’s World Volleyball Grand Prix in Manila in 1999 and 2000.
“Leila once told me that if ever it struck my mind to move elsewhere, I should be moving to the Philippines,” Souza de Brito said.
Barros is now a senator in Brazil.
Souza de Brito should be a no-nonsense tactician when he brings his volleyball smarts to Philippine soil—he describes his coaching style as between “a father and a monster.”
“I could be the fatherly-type, but I want to push myself and the team, work hard to achieve goals,” said the 54-year-old Souza de Brito.
Like any other professional coach—and an FIVB-appointee for that matter—Souza de Brito has already done his homework. He has watched videos on the Philippine campaign in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games and just recently, on the national team tryouts in Subic that were uploaded to social media last week.
“I’m very happy to have this chance to come to the Philippines, it’s an honor,” he said. “I love volleyball and I love the passion Filipinos have for volleyball. They love the sport so much—and there are a lot of fans.”