VNVB’s Portuguese coach, Andre Sa, arrived in Lorraine a year and a half ago. Before that, he had spent some time in Europe with his wife and children. He, the son of Esmoriz, never thought he would reach this point in his life, and yet, he still had dreams in his head.
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Andre Saa is not the type to hide his feelings and has no problem talking about his story. Born on July 8 in Ovar Hospital, near Esmoriz, in northern Portugal, he was educated by his mother, and had no real father by his side. However, today he is the right man for the job.
Although he did not grow up in a privileged environment, Andre Sa always wanted to protect himself and never backed down from the opportunities he was given. At Esmouriz, one of the most famous clubs in the country, the Lusitanian first grew up as a player. “As soon as I left school, I went to the gym,” he smiles.
So much so that he was quickly called up to the junior national team. “After that I studied economics at the same time and then I went to the University of Porto to become a sports teacher,” he explains. I coached youth classes at Esmouriz in my spare time and loved it immediately. »
He later trained the club’s professional team. That’s when his career took another dimension.
Norway is the starting point
But Andre was not the coach we know today. He was always keen on giving his best to the point of forgetting himself. “I always wanted to prove to people that their choice was the right one,” he says with a smile. I was very busy with work, a bit arrogant and much less emotional. »
But when he meets his wife in Madeira, his life takes on another meaning. “It was fun,” he explains. Then I was called up to the Portuguese national team to be an assistant. There was a very heavy workload. But Amanda was pregnant. I couldn’t leave her alone and it was difficult for the group to understand my choice…and they never contacted me. »
But Andre recovered very quickly in Norway, at Studd. “It was the financial crisis in Portugal, and I was asked to coach a women’s team for the first time,” the Portuguese recalls. Amanda played there in 2009, and she told me to go for it. »
Here he left alone in 2012, without the Internet, and without contact with his family in Portugal. “I rented a car to go to the club,” he laughs. “I got lost and on the way I met the mother of one of my future players.” The adventure begins this way, like a Netflix series, but I wasn’t calm. »
Her son Renato was born in Norway and the family stayed there from 2012 to 2015. “There was already a project to develop women’s sports in Norway through this club. We played the European Cup semi-finals and this experience brought me a lot. I even bought a house in Norway, but the club Collapsed. »
Here he was back in suitcases with his wife, and a German bid for Munster fell through. He stayed there for a season before going to Easter, an important step in his career.
“When I am called, I am set a specific goal: to speak French during the appeal,” he smiles. “I’m going to language school to be ready for the big day.”
He spent six years in the Southeast. His second son, Thiago, arrives in 2019 and Andre faces his first raise. “One evening I come home and tell my wife it’s over,” he sighs. I couldn’t do it anymore. But people in the club break down when I tell them, I see people crying… In the evening, my wife was packing her things and I told her, “Stop everything, we will stay.” »
Andre Sa is that too. Heart on your sleeve, people above all else. At VNVB, he continues to prove it every day. “I know my arrival was not viewed positively at first, but I made sure everyone felt comfortable,” he admits. Especially the volunteers I spend time with at the end of matches. »
All these experiences made him grow. He added: “Today, I have become a more understanding coach, and I no longer want to be affected by the results. The important thing is the mental state of my players.”
A state of mind that drives him to want to present conferences on mental health in sports. Talk to entrepreneurs and help them manage them. But Andrei wasn’t done with volleyball either. “I still have a lot to accomplish,” he smiles. He won’t say more. But we will understand that we are not ready to stop hearing about it. He has proven that his passion is capable of crossing many boundaries.