John Garcia will be covering all sides of the volleyball net at London 2012. Playing the beach variety for GB on Horse Guards Parade, he will also be keeping an eye on the 6 indoor GB players, who play for him at CV Tenerife Sur.
At the Pabellon Jesus Dominguez Grillo, tucked between the swimming pool and school on the main Las Americas road into Los Cristianos , the squad took a break from one of two 4-hour daily training sessions, to clue me in.
Here Come the Brits
It was quite a coup for CV Tenerife Sur when they snapped up 6 GB internationals for the new season in Spain’s professional Superliga Mascalina. National captain Ben Pipes, from Hull, is used to honing his skills abroad “Two seasons ago we put a GB team in the Dutch league, and last year I played in Belgium and Spain to push my game at a semi pro level. In Tenerife we have accommodation provided near the sports hall and our expenses and living needs are covered, thanks to Arona council and sponsors.”
Coach John Garcia is the key link in this deal, a mother from Nottingham and father from Mallorca meant he had plenty of options. “In 1998 I came to Arona with Spain’s junior beach team, all their teams train in Tenerife, later after a 2 year break I was allowed to switch to GB. Last season I was player and assistant coach here at Tenerife Sur and watching GB in the World Championships at Sheffield I spotted the 6 new players and arranged with the British federation to sign them on.”
Today Tenerife, Tomorrow Serbia
Andrew Benson, Nathan French, Paul Glissov, David Hamilton and Joel Miller join Ben to sharpen up, not only against the best in Spain, but also the cream of Europe in the knock out cup, they join the competition in December with home and away clashes against Ribnica Kralievo of Serbia. The Brits and Canarians will be joined by a Bulgarian and a Paraguayan as they aim to rise above last seasons joint 5th finish.
Coach John is ready to squeeze more sweat out of his squad before the serious action starts. “We are quite a young squad and need to gell as we work on our fitness and tactical play. The Spanish league is one of the top 4 in Europe and we always want to keep improving.”
For the GB players, being in Tenerife is an ideal step on the road to the Olympics as Ben explains. “It’s tough back home getting the training time and the leagues are not very strong, some of the guys are still at college so trying to keep everything together is a struggle. We get top coaching here with John, and Jaime Fernandez Barros, our technical director, has worked with the Spain squad.”
Tenerife Sur attract around 200 fans to the sports hall but John Garcia wants British sports fans to come and add their support and has offered FREE entry for the first 3 home league games, 6pm on Saturdays is the usual start time.
- October 10 CV Tenerife Sur v Vecindario
- October 24 CV Tenerife Sur v Barcelona
- October 31 CV Tenerife v Murcia