Hamburg, Germany, August 16, 2018 – Competing in the most important beach volleyball tournaments around the planet is nothing new to Brazilian star Jose Loiola, but the former player is now enjoying the sport from a different standpoint as he’s been traveling the world as the head coach of American team Summer Ross/Sara Hughes.
This week, however, the legendary Loiola, who has 66 international tournaments on his resume, is coaching the Americans in the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Finals presented by Vodafone, in Hamburg, a new tournament for him.
“It’s always great to be part of the sport,” the Brazilian said. “I feel as involved as I was during my playing time because I know how every game and every point is important and how much hard work is behind that, so I get as angry and as happy as they are in the court.”
Loiola ended his playing career in 2009, after winning 20 World Tour gold medals, and a few years later took over as the head coach of the American Junior and Youth teams. Over the last seasons, he coached the teams of Nick Lucena/Theo Brunner and Jennifer Kessy/Emily Day.
He started working with Sara and her former partner Kelly Claes in 2016 and remained with her when she teamed up with Summer.
“The truth is that I never planned on becoming a coach,” he said. “I actually tried to engage in different situations outside beach volleyball after I retired but for a number of reasons new opportunities just kept coming. I guess it was my destiny to be back here.”
His work is highly praised by his players, who he helped to win their first gold medal in the World Tour last week, in the four-star event in Moscow.
“He is definitely a game-changer,” Sarah commented. “He is not only an amazing coach, he brings experience from his playing days so he knows what it’s like, he knows how tough it can be at times so it’s really great having that from him.”
The team is progressing in plain sight and it will be involved in the Olympic qualification process when it starts, next month. If they make it to Tokyo 2020, it would be Loiola’s return to the Games after he represented Brazil in Sydney 2000 with Emanuel Rego and finished ninth.
“That’s the ultimate goal for sure,” the 48-year-old coach confessed. “I’ve been there once and then I got injured and didn’t get another shot so it would be very special to return as a coach. I feel like the team still has to get more mature but they are in a position where they can beat any team in the world and that’s exciting.”