US coach Karch Kiraly believes Filipino players can emulate Japan, Thailand success
US women’s volleyball coach Karch Kiraly is in the Philippines to grace the PSL games and conduct a one-day clinic for league coaches. 

US women’s volleyball coach Karch Kiraly believes Filipino players can make it to the international arena, thanks to their great fighting spirit and passion for the sport.

The three-time Olympic gold medalist, who will grace the opening ceremony of the Philippine Super Liga Grand Prix on Saturday at The Arena in San Juan, stressed that Filipinos need not be as tall or as athletic as the other players in the world to be among the best.

“I don’t think you have to be the tallest, the highest jumpers, the most powerful to be a great volleyball team,” said Kiraly on Friday before his one-day clinic for PSL coaches.

The US national coach cited Asian powerhouse teams Japan and Thailand as examples to prove his point.

Japan won back-to-back titles in the AVC Asian Women’s Club Championship in 2015 and 2016, ruled the AVC Asian Senior Women’s Championship in 2017 and won a bronze medal in the 2012 London Olympics, while Thailand is the perennial Southeast Asian Games gold medalist.  

“Japan has been a great model for that,” he said. “They continue to contend very fiercely and it’s because of the heart that they play with and I admire that fighting spirit and I love to watch that team with that kind of fighting spirit.”

“Thailand team plays with great heart, the Japanese team plays with great heart. Those teams don’t have particularly tall players but they have this great fighting spirit,” he added. 

“(They have) good floor skills and the ability to put the ball where they exactly need it to go and so that can overcome a lot. You don’t need to have the world’s tallest players to have the best volleyball team,” he continued.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @meilinspin