Mahsa Saberi: Living and breathing volleyball
Iranian volleyball player Mahsa Saberi expressed her commitment to success with a quote posted on Instagram: “Your team becomes your family, the ball becomes your best friend, the court becomes your home, and the game becomes your life.”
“My life was bound up in volleyball,” explained Saberi on the quote. “I have lived and spent most of my time playing volleyball. Most of the time we are in national training camps rather than being with our families. Volleyball is part of my family and the volleyball court is my home.”
Saberi is one of Iran’s key players that helped become one of the up-and-coming teams in the Asian region.
“I was part of the group that helped the Iranian women’s team tier up to play on a higher level at Asian tournaments for the first time in its history. Twelve years have gone by and I have witnessed the process and all the improvements made by the Iranian women. I am honored and proud to be a witness on how all our efforts progressed through the years.”
Her proudest memory was at the Asian Cup in 2016, when Iran gained its best finish in an AVC event.
“My most memorable match was at the Asian Cup in 2016, under the tutelage of coach Majda Cicic. We had a good relationship with our coach and all my best friends were there with me in the team. We finished sixth in Vietnam – our best record in an AVC event.”
After all these achievements, she remains driven and passionate to taste success.
“I really hope we could climb up the podium of an Asian event someday. I wish to stay healthy and fit for a long time. I would also like to be a good and useful person to my family and the society.”
Mahsa enriched her volleyball experience when she played overseas in a Turkish club.
“I gained a lot of experience from playing overseas and it improved many aspects of my game. I got better at digging and now I could perform much better in matches with the national team.”
The 27-year-old got into the sport with her sister and her mother as her role models. In spite of her busy schedule in volleyball, she was able to balance her time between playing and earning a degree in chemical engineering.
“My older sister enrolled to a summer sports club near our home and she took me with her there, so I registered for volleyball classes. That was when I got into volleyball. My biggest influence is my mother who was so kind to allow me to pursue playing the sport.“It was a tough job to study and play at the same time, but one could possibly do it if you plan for it and you stick to your plan with strong desire. It was a fulfilling experience. I kept telling myself ‘Try Mahsa and you will have a better life.’. It was tough for me to get my university degree, but when I finally got it, I was proud with all my efforts.Apart from her mother and sister, Saberi looks up to her compatriot Saeid Marouf and Korean superstar Kim Yeon-Koung.
“Iran men’s national team captain Saeid Marouf is a very good leader inside the court. He is very effective, and he has good influence on his teammates in terms of technique. I am trying my best to learn from him.
“In the women’s side, Kim is someone I look up to in international volleyball.”