Tehran, Iran, February 10, 2014 - Julio Velasco will step down as coach of the Iran national volleyball team to lead the men’s team in his home country Argentina, as announced by the Iranian Volleyball Federation.
Velasco, who was appointed head coach of the Iran
men's national team in 2011, will take up the top job in Argentina following a
request from the country’s President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.
“Velasco has improved Iranian volleyball over the past few years. We agreed with his request to keep our relationship good,” said the President of the Iran Volleyball Federation, Mohammad-Reza Davarzani. “He will continue his cooperation with us as our consultant and advisor.”
Under Velasco’s leadership the Iran team impressed in their World League debut last year. “We have shown we belong among the world’s best,” said Velasco referring to his team’s impressive record of five wins from 10 matches. Iran was one of the surprise packages of the 2013 World League defeating giants Italy, Cuba, Serbia, and Germany in the tournament and are currently No. 12 in the FIVB World Ranking.
The Argentine also took the Iran team to victory in 2011 when they won the Asian Volleyball Championship title on home soil and helped them secured World Championship qualification. Iran won Pool B of the Asian Men’s Final Qualification Tournament in September last year for their ticket to the FIVB Men's World Championship Poland 2014.
Velasco, whose coaching career spans more three decades, has also coached Italy’s men’s and women’s national volleyball teams as well as the men’s national teams of Spain and the Czech Republic.
Under his leadership, Italy’s men’s national team won the FIVB World Championship (1990,1994), FIVB World League (1990-1992, 1994, 1995), World Cup (1995), European Championship (1989, 1993, 1995), FIVB World Grand Champions Cup (1993) and a silver medal at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
The Iran Volleyball Federation confirmed that Lorenzo Bernardi, who has trained with Velasco, is one of the candidates to take over as coach of the Iran national team till the end of the current Olympic cycle in 2016.