Eczacibasi inspire thousands of young girls through ‘Future Spike’ programme

Istanbul, Turkey, November 11, 2019. Back in 2016, Eczacibasi Sports Club launched a new action called “Future Spike” in collaboration with ES Volleyball in order to expand its training programme for young girls. With this project, the Turkish club aims at introducing every year thousands of six to 13-year-old girls to the culture, spirit and discipline of sports and at creating opportunities for the club to discover and nurture future Volleyball stars.

Eczacibasi Sports Club’s first-ever Volleyball school was at the heart of Istanbul, Levent, which was the former training facility of both women and men’s Volleyball teams between 1973 and 2001. Nowadays, the Eczasibasi headquarters building Kanyon stands instead of that historical court, where a great number of Volleyball players trained. In 2001, the club moved to its iconic home court in Ayazaga, where around 200 young girls have been training every year.

In addition to its first sports school campus in Ayazaga, the Future Spike project is an investment in the youth to reach girls and young women through Volleyball schools, whose number should be increasing with each year. The project will help raise young girls to become athletes for the youth and possibly senior teams of Eczacibasi, as well as becoming coaches and executives who will work for Eczacibasi Volleyball schools and teams in the future.

Future Spike currently has 10 campuses around Turkey training up to 3,000 girls annually, and the target is having 30 campuses in 11 cities involving 5,000 girls annually by 2021. According to the club’s plans, 3,000 young girls will join their activities in the 2019-2020 season in eight different cities to provide, with a quality training opportunity available.

Emphasising the importance that they put on this project, Eczacibasi Sports Club President Faruk Eczacibasi says, “Thousands of young girls play Volleyball within the scope of the Future Spike project. Obviously, you cannot expect all of them to become world champions or play Volleyball in the long term but you can expect them to become self-confident individuals and as such, true representatives of Turkish women. As Eczacibasi Sports Club, we do not merely consider sports as competing and winning titles. I believe that the Future Spike programme is a very good combination of this approach of ours.”    

Receiving the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) 2018 Women and Sports Award is a good proof of Eczacibasi’s allocation of all its resources and investments to women’s Volleyball to make sports more accessible to women and increase the participation of women and young girls in Turkish Volleyball.

Having made the raising of young talents its priority and thus become one of the world’s leading clubs in women’s Volleyball, the achievements in under-age competitions held in the 2018-2019 season show how successful the programme has been this far. The crowning of the longstanding efforts of the club with one national championship title in the Under-15 category and two runner-up finishes in the Under-17 and Under-19 divisions is a good justification of the importance the club gives to raise young talents to become top-notch Volleyball players in the future.

As reflected by Ismail Sahin, the Head of Eczacibasi Academy technical staff and Asuman Bas, the Manager of Eczacibasi Academy, on the successful season the young Tigers left behind, “Our primary goal is to raise players for both our senior team and Turkish Volleyball’s future. Each successful result that we get through a right working method can only encourage us to achieve more.”

Renowned for his commitment in bringing out the potential of young players through the Academy programme, Eczacibasi VitrA head coach Marco Aurelio Motta says, “Eczacibasi Sports Club has been investing in women’s Volleyball since 1966. Developing high-level Turkish players is our mission. During those 53 years, the club has formed many players for Turkish Volleyball and during its long history it has helped raise players from young categories to our senior teams too.”

The process of forming volleyball players is composed of two parts: the first part is selecting talented players and after that comes the technical qualification process.

“Selecting talented players is very important. Our staff spend a lot of energy in this process and the Volleyball schools run by Eczacibasi open many doors in this respect. Moreover, through the Future Spike programme we bring Volleyball closer to the young girls of Turkey with the support of the programme’s founder Sırma Üç and her efforts in cooperation with us to expand the pool of young players. The expansion of Future Spike campuses in Turkey gives us the chance to search for young talents in a wider area,” Motta continues.

The second part is the technical qualification process, which lasts for up to six years. For each category (U13, U15 and U17 teams), there are different targets set according to their technical development. By growing young girls into technically high-level players, Eczacibasi also aim at preparing them for international high-level Volleyball. Once they are technically qualified, it is time for them to play at a higher level because after that six-year process, gaining maturity plays a very important role. That is why they go to other clubs to play in the Turkish league system. “Every year we observe those players’ performance during the season. After the end of the season, we invite them to our off-season training programme, check their development and plan the next steps for their future,” Motta concludes.