Volleyball World - News

Julio Velasco (source: legavolleyfemminile.it)

The Italian volleyball federation (FIPAV) announced Julio Velasco as the new head coach of their women’s national team. He will replace Davide Mazzanti, who had been in charge since 2017 and taken the team to a number of podiums, including the gold medal triumphs at the 2022 Volleyball Nations League and the 2021 CEV European Championship, as well as the FIVB World Championship silver and bronze medals in 2018 and 2022. However, after the team underperformed and did not meet its goals during the 2023 season, the post was vacated.

The legendary Argentinean coach is set to start his new job on January 1, 2024. He will make his first comments on this new coaching assignment at a press conference on November 21.

“We are very happy that Julio has accepted our proposal,” said FIPAV President Giuseppe Manfredi. “We are convinced that entrusting the women's national team to a coach of his calibre is the best choice at this moment. There are all the conditions for this new path to give us satisfaction. It will certainly bring an important contribution, as it has always been, to the Italian cause.”

The 71-year-old Argentinean coach has been closely connected to Italian volleyball since the early years of his career. After successfully coaching at club level in Italy for several seasons in the 1980s, he was appointed head coach of the men’s national team in 1989. Velasco stayed in that job until 1996 and it was during this eight-season period when he earned his iconic status in the volleyball world by winning two World Championship crowns, one FIVB Volleyball World Cup title, one FIVB Volleyball World Grand Champions Cup title, five FIVB Volleyball World League trophies, a Goodwill Games gold and three European Championship titles, in addition to an Atlanta 1996 Olympic silver and a number of other medals from major competitions.

In 1997 and 1998, Velasco spent his first two seasons head coaching the women’s national team of Italy. After a short break from volleyball to test his sports management skills in football, he returned to the favourite sport as the head coach of Czechia’s men’s national team for a couple of seasons, leading them to fourth place at EuroVolley 2001. After a few years of working in Italian club volleyball again, the Argentinean took over the Spanish national team from 2008 till 2010 and then head-coached Iran for three seasons, steering them to their first two AVC Asian Championship titles in history, and his native Argentina for another five seasons, when they won one Pan American Games title, two Pan American Cup trophies and two South American Games gold medals, while reaching a fifth place at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

In men’s club volleyball, Velasco has coached his teams to a number of prestigious podiums, including four national championship titles, three national cup crowns and one national super cup trophy in Italy, as well as the 1986 European Cup Winners’ Cup gold, three European Champions Cup silvers and three South American Club Championship medals. As of the start of this season, he has been at the helm of the Italian women’s team of UYBA Volley Busto Arsizio.

In June 2019, FIPAV offered Velasco the position of Technical Director of the men's youth sector and a period of tremendous success for the Italian age-category national teams followed during which they collected numerous world and continental titles.