The year 2008 marks the 87th year since Volleyball first arrived in Bulgaria. It all began in 1922 when, for a short time, Volleyball was hugely popular and became one of most practiced sports in Bulgaria.
The first national Volleyball championship was organised in 1942. Now, Bulgaria has more than 111 registered Volleyball clubs and over 5,500 Volleyball players from all age groups.
The Bulgarian Men's team has been participating successfully in World and European Championships, Olympic Games and other international tournaments for almost for 50 years.
Bulgaria finished third in their first appearance in the FIVB World Championship in Prague in 1949. The team also won the bronze medal in the World Championship in Moscow in 1952 and in Paris in 1986. They went one better in Sofia in 1970, claiming the silver medal, and they claimed another bronze medal in the tournament in Japan in 2006.
In the European Championship, Bulgaria landed second place in 1951 in Paris and claimed bronze medals in 1955 in Bucharest, 1981 in Varna, Bulgaria, and 1983 in Berlin.
The Bulgarian Volleyball players were participants in the first Olympic tournament in Tokyo in 1964, where they finished fifth, in Mexico 1968, when they claimed sixth, Munich 1972, taking fourth place, Moscow 1980, when they won the silver medal, Seoul 1988, finishing sixth, and Atlanta 1996, when they settled for seventh position.
Bulgaria's participation in the FIVB World League began in 1994, when they finished in fourth place. In Poland in 2007 they finished fifth.
Meanwhile, in the most recent FIVB World Cup in 2007, the Bulgarians finished in third place, qualifying them for the Beijing Olympics.
There are currently some excellent Volleyball players in the Bulgarian national team with the ones to watch including Plamen Konstantinov, Evgeni Ivanov, Hristo Tsvetanov, alongside good young players such as Matey Kaziyski, Danail Milushev, Andrey Zhekov and Boyan Yordanov.
Martin Stoev has been head coach of the Bulgaria Men's national team since 2005. That year, he led the team through qualifying for the 2006 World Championship and to fifth place in the World League.
In 2006, the Bulgarians qualified for the European Championship, finished fourth in the World League and took the Bronze Medal at the World Championship in Japan.
Stoev led the Bulgarians to an eighth-place finished at the European Championship in 2007 and fifth place in the World League before guiding them to the Bronze Medal at the World Cup in Japan, thus securing a place at the Beijing Olympics.
Stoev, born October 3, 1971, played Volleyball from 1984 until he turned coach and represented Bulgaria from 1991 to 1999, playing over 200 matches for the national team.
He is a three-time national champion of Bulgaria (twice with Levski Siconco, once with Minior Buhovo) and World Junior Champion (Cairo 1981), when he was nominated as Tournament MVP.