Setter Trinidad spearheading Spanish volleyball's push to the future
The 21-year-old setter is seen as Spanish volleyball’s crown jewel after leading the country to its first silver medal in the FIVB Youth World Championship in 2011 and a year later to its second silver in the CEV Junior European Championship.
“It is always nice to recall those wonderful days,” Trinidad says. “We sometimes think about what it would be like to repeat those successes at the highest level but we have to be realistic, as the leap from the junior category to the main competitions is just too big. But who knows? If we keep working hard in our clubs, making our way into the national team and qualifying for the big tournaments, God willing we’ll be able to succeed again!”
The 191cm player, who is noted for his swift moves and precise setting, started playing volleyball when he was 13 years old after trying his luck at basketball and even being accepted in the grassroots program of first division team Unicaja Málaga.
In his small home town of San Pedro de Alcantara, near Malaga, Trinidad took his first steps in volleyball before making the transition to the Spanish Volleyball Federation’s development project known as “Concentración Permanente.”
After his outstanding performances in the FIVB Youth World Championship in 2011 and the CEV Junior European Championship in 2012, as well as a trophy-packed career in the Spanish second division (Superliga 2), Trinidad made the biggest jump any athlete in this sport can accomplish as he signed for Italian side Vibo Valentia Tonno Callipo to play in Serie A.
“To be honest, I haven’t done much actual playing this year,” Trinidad jokes. “Every time I went on to the court from the bench, I tried to give my best and I have loved the experience. Playing in Italy opens your eyes so much! I feel blessed for having the opportunity to live this adventure.”
Part of that adventure has been playing alongside some of his heroes.
“It happened many times over this year, like the first time we played against Copra Elior Piacenza and (Luciano) De Cecco was on the other side of the net,” he recalls. “During the warm-up, I spent more time looking at him than doing what I had to do! Or arriving at the gym and seeing players like Alessandro Fei walking in with his backpack. It was amazing that we were watching them on videos not long ago and now we were meeting them in person.”
After making his debut with the national team in the 2013 edition of the CEV European League last year, Trinidad is now experiencing Spain’s return to the FIVB Volleyball World League.
“It is important to learn from every team,” he emphasizes. “This is why we are very grateful to play in the World League against these teams that play such a different volleyball to what we are used to in Europe.”
Whatever the result, Ángel Trinidad gives Spanish hopes new life and confirms that the future of the sport in Spain is in good hands.