Bulgaria’s national men’s team has always flirted with greatness. In the past, it has reached a silver medal finish at the Olympic Games (1980) and World Championship (1970), and recently, it has given the world players like Tsvetan Sokolov and Matey Kaziyski. As is the case for most European countries which don’t have a strong domestic league, most of Bulgaria’s national team players have to go abroad to develop their careers. Galin Gospodinov, president of Dobrudja 07, one of Bulgaria’s prominent volleyball clubs, is fairly aware of his team’s job when it comes to this (Sportal.bg):
“In recent years in Dobrudja we have been following the policy of giving a chance to talented Bulgarian volleyball players. We will continue to do so next season. The club will try to keep its best volleyball players, and to those who have good deals from good foreign clubs, we will give them a chance to grow up there. For years, Dobrudzha has formed good athletes who went went this route, such Velizar Chernokozhev (Halbank), Martin Atanasov (Friedrichshafen), Alex Grozdanov (Verona), Trifon Lapkov (Groningen), and Dobromir Dimitrov (Zalu). This only shows that Dobrudja is working well and is giving a chance for our good athletes, after reaching a high level in Bulgaria, to be seen in strong European clubs.
Of course we will continue to bet on Dobrujda’s youngsters. Due to many injuries to our squad, recently our 15-year-old Theodor Yordanov had to play in a game and he did more than successfully (Note: Theodor broke the Bulgarian record for the youngest player to ever play in a professional match). Another teenager, Peter Hristoskov, played for the first time as well and did a good job. Next season, we will rely on them and our other young athletes to be put on the men’s team.”
Will the hosting of the 2018 FIVB Men’s WCH be able to spark motivation within Bulgarian business people to strengthen the country’s league? That may be just what Bulgarian volleyball needs to finally emerge as a volleyball powerhouse.