It is impossible to talk about foreign players on the V-League stage. They play a big role enough to influence the team’s year-round farming. Not only the powerful attack power that comes from the difference in physique, but also contributes to serving and blocking. The fate of the coach and the team virtually depends on the role of these foreign players. Among them, there are special foreign players who have made a strong impression on Korean volleyball fans by playing their best in the V-League. In the men’s division, KB Insurance’s Keita Noumori and OK Financial Group’s Simone, and in the women’s division, Valentina Diouf, who was active at KGC Ginseng Corporation, IBK Industrial Bank Anna Lazareva and Madison Richell. Using the V-League as a stepping stone, we looked at the current status of those who have advanced to world-class club teams and the reasons why they were able to advance to the world stage.
The share of foreign players in the team’s power is enormous, mainly playing the role of the main gun in the team. Depending on which foreign players are selected, the team’s performance will change. That’s why each team is looking for a savior who will save the team with prudence. It is important to know who is a good fit for our team, what skills he possesses, and to what extent he can demonstrate these skills in Korea. Integrity is also indispensable. If you don’t get along well with your co-workers, the team will break up no matter how well you do. Based on long experience, the V-League prefers young players with big height and powerful offense.
As the dependence on foreign players is high, they raise their skills to the fullest in various ways. Thanks to the experience accumulated by participating in a lot of attacks, there are many players who returned with significantly improved skills compared to when they first debuted in the V-League. Even though it’s hard, there were foreign national team coaches who encouraged me to go to the V-League and learn. Among the many foreign players who appeared in the men’s division from the 2005-2006 season and the women’s division from the 2006-2007 season, there are many who left a deep impression on volleyball fans. Among them, there are several players who have advanced to world-class club teams in Italy and Turkiye League, which come to mind when thinking of volleyball. How are those who have advanced to the world stage using the V-League as a stepping stone?
Keita Noumori Keita
Noumori, who was called the ‘Mali Express’. Not only did he leave a strong impression on many fans with his explosive attack power and witty ceremony, but he remains the best foreign player ever for KB Insurance. During the two seasons 2020-2021-2021-2022, he played an active role in KB Insurance as an apogee. His first season at KB Insurance was as far as the semi-playoffs, but in his second season, he took the team to the championship match for the first time in team history. Unfortunately, he couldn’t taste the sweetness of winning and shed hot tears.
The reason why he shed tears is enough just looking at the record. In the 2021-2022 season, Keita participated in all 36 regular league games and scored 1,285 points. This record includes 109 serve aces and 42 blocks. Keita broke the record for the most points scored in a single season with 1,282 points set by Leonardo Leiva Martinez (registered name Leo) and Gavin Schmidt while working at Samsung Fire Insurance. He won the regular league MVP as well as the 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 6th round MVPs. It is a new record for the first time in men’s and women’s divisions to win MVP in round 4 in one season.
Like this, Keita showed off her overwhelming skills after stepping on the Korean stage at the young age of 20. After that, he said goodbye to KB Insurance, with whom he had been close for two years, and moved to Verona, Italy’s first division men’s volleyball team. Keita’s performance continued in the new team. Verona, which was restructuring the team around promising players, strengthened its power by recruiting Keita.
He is active as an outside heater in Verona. Last season Verona was 8th in the league, but this season is 5th in the Italian regular league. The relationship between Keita and Verona will last until 2024. During the remaining period, will Keita be able to achieve her dream of winning in Verona, which she could not achieve in Korea?
OK Financial Group
Robert Randy Simon
Robert Randy Simon, a member of the Cuban national team who played for OK Financial Group (then OK Savings Bank) from 2014 to 2016, is 208 cm tall and has strong serve and offensive power. Already famous as a top middle blocker on the international stage, he led the team to the top for two consecutive years while playing as an apogee and middle blocker at OK Financial Group for two seasons. He appeared in a total of 70 games, scoring 1,962 points and an offensive success rate of 55.68%. He achieved a total of 15 triple crowns in two seasons, and won the championship MVP in the 2015-2016 season.
He was born in 1987, which is not a small age. He plays for Italy’s Serie A Piagenza this season. Piazza is familiar to him. This is the team he played for two years until the 2012-2014 season. At that time, he won the CEV Cup and the league title. The veteran Simon gifted Piazenza with an Italian Cup win this season as well. He still gets on the national team too. Cuba participated in the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) Volleyball Challenger Cup held in Jamsil in August 2022, lifted the championship cup, and won a ticket to participate in the 2023 Volleyball Nations (VNL). Attention is focusing on whether Simon can be seen wearing the Cuban national team uniform at the 2023 VNL.
KGC Ginseng Corporation
The Italian national Valentina Diouf, who was active at KGC Ginseng Corporation for two seasons, boasted a height of 202 cm and terrifying attack power. Although the team failed to advance to the playoffs in both seasons, he played for KGC Ginseng Corporation for two years from the 2019 to 2021 season, playing in a total of 56 games and scoring 1,795 points. On February 26, 2021, he scored 54 points, his most points in a single game. This is the joint 5th record for the most points scored in a single game in the V-League women’s division. Her offensive share at the time was a whopping 61.27%. She overcame more than half of the team’s attacks.
In the 2019-2020 season, Diouf was named the 5th round MVP as well as the best 7 apogees. Even in the 2020-2021 season, she was voted the 3rd round MVP and the best 7 apogee.
Diouf, who was ‘over four walls’ for her native players, left the V-League and she wore the Bartozzini Fortin Fisci Perugia (Italy) uniform for the 2021-2022 season. For the 2022-2023 season, she moved her team to Lodz, Poland. Łódź is a team that has won medals five times in a row at the Polish Championships. She won a silver medal in the 2017-2018 season, a gold medal in the 2018-2019 season, and a bronze medal for three consecutive years from the 2019-2020 season to the 2021-2022 season.
Recently, Uchi participated in the 2023 European Volleyball Federation (CEV) Champions League and tried to advance to the quarterfinals, but was eliminated after losing to the last opponent, Vakifbank (Turkiye). At the time, Diouf was the top scorer for both teams with 23 points, but was beaten by her opponent’s offense.
IBK Industrial Bank
In the 2020-2021 season foreign player draft, Anna Lazareva, who was responsible for the apogee while wearing the uniform of IBK Industrial Bank as the 1st place in the first round. Even before she was named in the Russian national team, she was coveted by many teams and showed her skills right after her debut in the V-League. She took her team to the playoffs with a hard carry for IBK Industrial Bank. But she was just there. It was her volleyball that she could not win no matter how good she was alone. She lost the third round of the playoffs and failed to qualify for the championship match.
He made a big success by scoring 47 points in the KGC Ginseng Corporation game on November 13, 2020. During the season, she also struggled with back pain, but she was named MVP in the sixth round. She was also crowned the Triple Crown twice. She is and she has helped the team in many ways.
Lazareva, who was a member of the Russian national team, has been playing in the Turkiye League since the 2021-2022 season. Currently, she is with Fenerbahce and she is playing the 2023 CEV Champions League. She has been the team’s main apogee all along, but since the 2022-2023 season, she has been pushed out of competition with Cuban Melissa Vargas, who has just joined the team. The relationship between Lazareva and Fenerbahce is the last this season. At one point, she was rumored to be returning to the V-League, leaving many teams wondering where his new destination might be. Nothing concrete has been revealed about her renewal yet.
IBK Industrial Bank
Outside heater Madison Richell played an active role at IBK Industrial Bank in the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 seasons. He is a 187 cm striker and he is not noticeably taller. Because of this, he came to the V-League in the last 6 places in the list of foreign players, but his skills were not related to the place in the list. At the time, IBK Industrial Bank of Korea director Lee Jeong-cheol, who believed in his strength and chose him, was a treasure. He is the main player who gave IBK Industrial Bank the gift of winning the 2016-2017 season championship match and runner-up in the 2017-2018 season championship match. In a match against Hyundai E&C on December 5, 2017, Medi scored 57 points, including 4 blocks and 1 serve. This is the all-time V-League women’s division record for the most points scored in one game. (2013-2014 season Heungkuk Life Vasileva 57 points) 먹튀검증
He was selected as the 2016-2017 championship MVP and best 7 outside hitter, and was selected as the 4th round MVP and best 7 outside hitter in the 2017-2018 season.
Beijing BAIC Motor, which recognized Medi’s tremendous firepower, successfully recruited him ahead of the 2018-2019 season. After one season in China, Mehdi moved to Turkiye for the 2019-2020 season. Since then, he has been active with Turkiye Air. He also has a special affinity. The time when I was active on the stage of Turkey with Kim Yeon-kyung overlapped and faced with a coat. At the time, the coach of Turkiye Air was the current head coach of Heungkuk Life Insurance, Marcello Abondanza.
Recently, Turkish Airlines reached the semi-finals of the 2023 CEV Cup. The first leg of the semifinals was held on March 14, and the opponent was Sabino del Bene Scandic (Italy). Unfortunately they lost 0-3, but Medi scored the most in the team with 12 points. The second leg of the semi-final will be held in Istanbul on March 22.