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José Jardim, a promising player on and off the sand

Portugal's prodigy José Jardim
Porto, Portugal, July 31, 2014 - The number 2 jersey on the Portuguese team Francisco-Jardim is not only one of Portugal’s best beach volleyball players, he is also a rising star in the Portuguese volleyball scene. But how could it be different, because José Jardim is the youngest son (18) of one of the most important coaches in Portugal.

José Jardim senior (52) is head coach of Benfica, the current champions of the Portuguese Volleyball League A1. Last year José Jardim junior was one of the bench players for the Benfica team that won the national volleyball championship, but he was also crowned national champion on the beach in the 2012/2013 season.

This week José Jardim junior is competing at the FIVB Beach Volleyball U19 World Championship in Porto with Francisco Pombeiro.

Q: Talk to us about your journey in volleyball.
At what age did you start playing? “I started to play when I was in seventh grade. Indoor volleyball was about 5 years ago and beach volleyball was only 3 years ago and since then it has been only upwards.”

Q: Did you do all of your schooling years in Benfica?
“Yes, always, always.”

Q: But wouldn’t you have liked to join another club throughout that phase?

Maybe a northern club where the competition level is higher and because they have different dynamics? “No, because here in Portugal Benfica is one of the teams with the best conditions at all levels and that’s always nice because they offer us enough structures to enjoy this sport the best we can. Regarding the dynamics of the sport in the north there’s no doubt about it, but still Benfica offers structures and conditions unlike any other.”

Q: Did your father being a coach have anything to do with your wishes of pursuing volleyball?
“Since I was a little boy, volleyball has always been a part of me and my life, I was always surrounded by it. I started playing high-level competition tennis but I’ve always known and I’ve always had that feeling that I had to try this sport in one way or the other and that I was going to end up playing volleyball. But my father was never forcing me to play, and he never suggested that sport to me. He always let me make my own choices and I did whatever I wanted.”

Q: Why the interest in beach volleyball?

“Because I’ve seen beach volleyball on television and I’ve always had friends that played. So I really wanted to try this. My current partner Francisco asked me to play with him and at first we started to play only for fun, but then it went very well.”

Q: We know that you are an excellent player in both, but which one attract you the most?

“Let’s see, for more emotional and serious competitions indoor volleyball is always better, but the spirit lives in the beach competition. The holiday and summer feeling is definitely different and very good. In fact, I don’t have a preference, it just depends on the part of the year.”

Q: How does it feel to be part of one of the main Portuguese teams?
“It is really good, I’m always surrounded by great and amazing players and I’m constantly learning.”

Q: And how about your age, don’t you feel a lot of pressure to deliver and perform well in front of the more experienced players?
“Sometimes yes of course, but due to the fact that my colleagues are constantly helping me, giving me tips and teaching me, they don’t pressure me to grow and learn really fast, they let me grow at my own pace. So it is really good.”

Q: What is like to be trained by your own father?
“He is not my direct coach, but sometimes when I go and train with the senior team he gives me some pointers. It is very normal, like I’m a normal player. And also I like that he pushes me more and of course I don’t like to be treated differently from the other players.”

Q: Do you feel some kind of bigger pressure?
“As I’m only a substitute sometimes he is not constantly on top of my case, but when he is indeed training me, of course I feel a great need to perform well.”

Q: Is it your first time representing Portugal in a Beach Volleyball World Championship?
“Yes it is.”

Q: And how has it been so far?

“I am liking it a lot because every day that goes by, I learn even more. There is a great atmosphere here and I couldn’t ask for more. Only for better results, but with some work we will get there.”

Q: What do you expect from this tournament?

“I have high expectations, always aiming to get better, and working towards a victory at the end. We have to give our best and stay strong mentally.”

Q: And volleyball? Is that also something to pursue for many years?

“If I can of course. I want to pursue this sport and I’m going to do everything to be successful."

Q: And what about being a coach like your father?

“Of course I’ve thought about that and that’s something I would like to do, but only when my volleyball career as a player is over. Maybe I will try and teach the little ones to gain experience but I’m going to think about that later on.”

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