Jersey Story: Charo Soriano wears No. 8 in honor of longtime idol Leila Barros
Charo Soriano admits she was inspired to play volleyball because of former Brazil national player Leila Barros. Jerome Ascano/Inset photo from

REMEMBER Leila Barros?

Who doesn't, more so for older volleyball fans who became mesmerized by the Brazilian spiker during the many memorable appearances of world-class players in the country as part of the FIVB World Grand Prix tour in the last decade.

The charming Barros definitely had a profound impact on Charo Soriano, who took to wearing the jersey number of the former star of the Brazilian national team.

“I was number eight because of Leila Barros,” Soriano bared.

Soriano admitted she was inspired to play volleyball because of Barros, determined to be just like the Brazilian star. Her effort paid off as she rose to become one of the most successful players under the Ateneo volleyball program, winning Rookie of the Year, Best Scorer, and Best Receiver awards during her UAAP career.

Apparently, she is just one of several Barros diehards in the country, as she soon learned during her tour of different parts of the archilepago under the Beach Volleyball Republic, of which she is one of the organizers.

“I can’t imagine how the other kids out there can still remember Leila Barros. Even the parents of the kids, when you go to the provinces, when you ask them who is their favorite player, it’s really Leila Barros,” said Soriano.

As organizer of the BVR, Soriano said she hopes to inspire more Filipinos to play the sport by bringing in foreign volleyball players just like what happened in the late 1990s.

“If we can invite players, it will be very, very inspiring. If we can have influential volleyball players here again, that would be great,” said Soriano.

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