Girls' U19 World Championship 2023 - News.

Maria-Gabriela Milecevic

If your mother is one of the greatest players of Bulgaria’s women’s national team from the near past, and your grandmother is a coach in the club, thas has become a synonym of quality volleyball, and on the top of dad, your father is a former Serbian basketball player, then it is almost written in the stars, that professional sport will keep run in your blood.. 

The tournament is streamed live on the Volleyball World YouTube channel.

This is the case of Bulgaria’s Maria-Gabriela Milicevic who is competing with the Girls U19 team at the FIVB Girls’ U19 World Championship that is taking place in Croatia & Hungary.

Daughter of former volleyball player Radosveta Teneva (who was part of the women’s national team in major events such as World Championships and EuroVolleys, contributing to Bulgaria’s good performances in the period) and Mirko Milicevic - a basketball name very well knownin the sports world, Maria-Gabriela has grown up in the volleyball hall, among some of the best Bulgarian female volleyball players. Her grandmother Tsetsa Taneva is coach in the volleyball school of Maritza Plovdiv (Bulgaria’s champion in the past eight years), and has been an inspiration for many young girls to take up on the sport.

Maria-Gabriela Milecevic during warm up

Maria-Gabriela Milecevic during warm up

The 17-year-old outside hitter is continuing the family legacy, following in her mother’s steps. 

Besides playing in the same role as her, Maria-Gabriela is a chip off the old block, ready to respond to the challenges always in a positive manner. 

“From my mother, I have learned something very important - to always look at the bright side of things. Since I was a little girl, she has always been telling me that I can find something positive in each situation, and to learn from it. To focus on the good, not on the bad,” the best outside hitter at the 2022 Balkan Championship U17W says. 

“Coming from a sports family has been helpful for me and for my development as an athlete. I have learned a lot about being disciplined, hard-working and dedicatio from my parents. They are the living proof for me that you should never give up and you should follow your goals,” Maria-Gabriela, bronze medallists at 2021 EuroVolleyU16W adds. 

Although liking both volleyball and basketball, the 188cm tall Milicevic has never had a doubt if she would choose volleyball. 

“I like both the volleyball and the basketball, but in my heart, I have always known that I will be playing volleyball.

Her father is, however, the person whom the young Maria-Gabriela is thankful to for her fighting spirit. 

“My father has always taught me to have a fighting spirit and to stay confident. Whatever you are passing through outside the court, once you step on there, you should have only one thought in your head: winning!” 

Being part of the Girls’ U19 national team of Bulgaria is something Milecivic takes pride in. She is enjoying the experience to the fullest, since it’s her first time at such a big event.

“We are all excited in the team, and are looking forward to our next matches. We all want to deliver the best performance that we can, and to see that the hard work we put in during the preparation, is paying off.”

Under the guidance of head coach Borislav Krachanov, the young Bulgarian Lionesses have secured a place in the next phase of the Championship. As many as seven players in the national team come from the Maritza Plovdiv club, which, according to the outside hitter, helps a lot for the teamspirit.

Bulgaria celebrating the 3-1 win over Brazil

Bulgaria celebrating the 3-1 win over Brazil

“It surely does help that we are seven players from Maritza Plovdiv here in the team. We are training together the whole year, so we know each other and reflects on our game when it comes to the cooperation between the different players and their roles. We also trust each other a lot!” 

Milicevic has been part of the women’s team of Maritza in the past season, also having the chance to experience the atmosphere of CEV Volleyball Champions League first hand. And she keeps on aiming high.

“My dream is to play volleyball at the highest level possible, next to the best players out there. To win world championships, but what I hope for the most, is to never lose the passion that I have for the volleyball.” 

Quick links:
FIVB Volleyball Girls' U19 World Championship
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