Tunis, Tunisia, August 25, 2019 – Born on June 28, 2004, Tomas Gonzalez Diaz is the youngest participant in the 2019 FIVB Boys’ U19 Volleyball World Championship in Tunis. The 15-year-old Colombian setter fell in love with volleyball when he was 11. Four years later he is playing at his first world championship and is confident this love will last forever.
“It’s incredible! It’s amazing! It is an honour to be here!” Gonzalez shared his excitement with fivb.com. “I have worked hard for this and it makes me very happy. This is a new experience, a new country, a new culture, very different from ours... Excellent! Excellent! I would like to say ‘thank you’ to the organizers of this World Championship. The organization has been really good; the transportation, the police have been amazing. These competition halls are very, very big. In Colombia we don’t see coliseums like this...”
The U19 World Championship youngest player, Tomas Gonzalez Diaz, is not a starter on the Colombian team, but he is excited to be at his first international tournament
For 186-cm-tall Tomas this is not only the first world championship, but also the first international tournament of any kind.
“Neither of my parents do anything related to sports, but both of them have always loved volleyball,” he started his story, but then explained that it was a different member of the family that showed him the way to the favourite sport. “Actually my younger sister started first and from there I started loving volleyball and I think this love will be forever. I was 11 years old when I got into it at school. Because of my age and my height I was able to start playing in the league immediately and soon the results started coming. Since then I’ve been playing in my league in Bogota for U21, U19 and U15. But this world championship is my first international tournament.”
The talented playmaker finds similarities between himself and some of the great setters of our time he sees as his role models.
“One of my idols is Simone Giannelli from Italy, because he is so good and he is also very young for being that kind of a player. We have a similar style of setting the ball and that’s why I look up to him,” revealed Tomas. “I also like Bruno Rezende from Brazil, because he is not so tall, but also passes very well.”
Tomas still remembers the words of his first volleyball coach Manuel Gonzalez. “He told me I was going to be the best setter in Colombia and I am confident that I am on my way to that. He told me that I have to always work and never stop. I am good at this, so I am going to make progress.”
He may have taken his coach’s advice a bit too literally, because he has left himself no free time for hobbies or girlfriends.
“From 4 AM to 6 AM I go to the gym. Then I go to school till 4 PM. After that I have training until 7 or 8 PM, after which I go home, I have dinner, study and do homework before I go to bed at 11 PM,” explained the young Colombian. “What motivates me is the constant strive for improvement. I always want to be a better me. If today I touch five balls and defend one, tomorrow I will defend two, the next day three...”
Tomas takes school work seriously, because he wants to excel both on and off the volleyball court.
“At this point, I have not set any clear long-term goals in volleyball, because life is always changing. I could say that I want to be the best setter in the world, but I am not yet sure that I can achieve that. But I will continue to work hard and achieve the best results that I can in life,” he pointed out. “I am a ninth-grader in high school. Next year I will go to the United States as an exchange student, but I dream of going to university in America, maybe in California. I want to study law, because it’s my passion to debate and defend my own opinion.”