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Tillie enjoys life at Arkas Spor

Kevin Tillie focuses on a Brazilian serve during the FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship Poland 2014
Izmir, Turkey, February 19, 2015 - France wing spiker Kevin Tillie was a key player and third best scorer for his country during the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship Poland 2014, claiming 116 points. He spoke to the French Volleyball Federation (FFVB) about playing for the national team and for Arkas Spor Izmir, who are currently second in Turkey's top domestic league.

FFVB: After playing in France, you moved to North America. What are your memories of the time you spent in Canada and the United States?

Tillie: Canada was the beginning of my experience as a college player. It was great to be able to combine my playing career with my studies. I also played with UC Irvine in sourthern Los Angeles, winning the league twice. It was a fantastic opportunity and I learnt a lot from current USA coach John Speraw [who guided the Anteaters to three national titles in six years.]

FFVB: After the United States, you joined Ravenna in Italy and then Arkas Spor Izmir in Turkey last summer. Why?

Tillie: After four years abroad, I did not want to play in France. I wanted to continue discovering new countries. Ravenna had a young team and were ambitious. They were the ideal club for my first year as a professional player. The team was successful and qualified for the [CEV] Challenge Cup, but there were financial difficulties and I moved to Izmir. Glenn Hoag is one of the world’s best coaches and the Turkish League also features an impressive line-up of players.

FFVB: France teammates Antonin Rouzier and Samuele Tuia also play in Turkey.
Tillie: Yes, we were all in Ankara at the same time last week. Antonin (Ziraat Bankasi) and Samuele (Galatasaray) were playing against each other. Izmir were playing against Halkbank. Unfortunately, I was unable to play due to a knee injury, but I feel better now.

Laurent Tillie

FFVB: Your father Laurent [Tillie] coaches France. What is playing under his orders like?
Tillie: You get used to it. It’s a little difficult sometimes, but it also has its advantages. It’s easier to communicate with him. But it’s also difficult because he does not want to treat me differently. The other players are used to the situation, however. It really isn’t a problem.

FFVB: Which players are you closest to in the France team?
Tillie: Benjamin Toniutti, because we played together in Ravenna. I have known him for a long time. I also played with Jenia Grebennikov as a youth player. But we are all friends. I have known many of the players for a long time, including Earvin Ngapeth, Nicolas Rossard and Nicolas Le Goff. We are all good friends and that is what helps to create a great atmosphere in the team.

Kevin Tillie

FFVB: What is life like in Turkey, outside of volleyball?
Izmir is quite a modern city. I have several Canadian friends in the team and we often get together. Life in cities like Istanbul, Izmir or Ankara can be very pleasant.

FFVB: What do you do in your spare time?
Tillie: Actually, we are quite busy and do not have much spare time. In the mornings, we do weight training. I then go home to rest for a few hours before the afternoon training session which begins at four. In the evenings, we often go out as a group, however, either to a restaurant or to a cinema. We also spend a lot of time at Gavin Schmitt’s apartment at weekends.

Kevin’s father Laurent Tillie is the current coach of the France team and as a player captained his country in 406 international matches. Kevin's younger brother Kilian plays basketball and won the MVP award at the U16 European Championships last summer. Read more of the interview with Kevin Tillie on the
French Volleyball Federation website.


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