The Puerto Rican was appointed as the new head coach of the Asian national team

Morales coached Puerto Rico at last year’s Olympic Qualifier

After two consecutive frustrating campaigns in the Volleyball Nations League, the Korean women’s national team will try to start turning things around in 2024 and Fernando Morales was the one chosen to lead them in the process, replacing departing Spanish César Hernández González.

The 42-year-old Puerto Rican was appointed as the new head coach of the country’s national team and will manage them for the first time in about two months, when they start their VNL campaign.

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A former Puerto Rican national team setter, Morales coached his country’s women’s national team from 2020 to 2024 and helped the team remain in the top 20 of the FIVB Women’s Volleyball World Rankings – they are currently in 16th place.

During his time ahead of Puerto Rico’s national team, Morales helped them win silver medals at the 2021 NORCECA Championship and last year’s Pan American Cup and bronze at the 2022 FIVB Challenger Cup. With him in charge, the Puerto Ricans also finished 15th in the 2022 FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship, advancing to the second round of the tournament.

“When I received the offer, many things went through my mind, such as leaving the Puerto Rico National Team, where I have been for so long as a player and as a coach,” Morales, who also coaches in the American collegiate system at Evansville University, said. “But it was obviously a great opportunity as a coach, which will open many doors for me in my career. I consulted with people I trust, with former players and with other coaches, and 99 percent told me that it was a great step for my career and that I should do it.”

Morales will face a number of challenges with Korea as the Asians have been in decline since their semifinal appearance at the Tokyo Olympics, in 2021. After that, they won just one match in major international volleyball tournaments, at the 2022 World Championships.

Because of the lack of results, the Koreans have dropped to 40th place in the FIVB World Rankings. Rejuvenating the squad and taking the team up in the rankings will be two of the coach’s priorities.

“Korea hasn’t won matches in the VNL for two years and it was the same at the Olympic Qualifier,” he reflected. “They didn’t qualify for Paris and have dropped a lot in the ranking and that’s why the Federation decided to make a change. We’ll start training on April 15, but I’ll be there earlier to watch some league matches. We only have the VNL to play this season, so we’ll have a training camp after that to continue training the team.”

Korea will be in Rio de Janeiro in the opening week of the VNL, from May 14-19, where they will play China, hosts Brazil, the Dominican Republic and Thailand.

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New coach also for the men

Korea also announced a new coach for their men’s national team. Issanayê Ramires, a 40-year-old Brazilian who was recently working with Pakistan and had led Bahrain before, was chosen to be ahead of the team starting in 2024.


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