By Dario Rangel Condor
Yasso Amin plays volleyball with a furious passion. While she’s all smiles off the court, she’s a different person in-between the lines. She plays with a chip on her shoulder and has a strong determination to win, which is why Coach Thais Baziquetto-Allen went out of her way to recruit her.
“Yasso is a smart player, she’s strong and has a good swing. She has a lot of passion and plays with her heart. She brings tons of international experience and is exactly what we need since we have such a young team,” said Thais Baziquetto-Allen, coach of the FSW volleyball team.
Yasso was born in Cairo, Egypt where she started playing volleyball at age 4 and debuted for the Egyptian national team. Since then, she played for the Egypt U18 national volleyball team.
Coach Baziquetto recruited Amin thanks to relationships forged with the Egyptian national team.
“My coach from Egypt, he told about the (FSW) coach that wanted a player and when I talk to the coach, she was really determined that I come here,” said Amin, middle hitter for FSW Volleyball Team. “She was really determined and has really high goals and that’s the kind of person I want to train with.”
Amin received offers from other schools after her initial meeting with Coach Baziquetto-Allen. But Amin was convinced. FSW was the only place she could see herself playing.
“After I [met] with coach, I had offers to other schools but, I didn’t care. I was going for the Bucs; like I don’t care what the other places offer me, I’m going there.”
Her international experience playing volleyball with the Egyptian National Team prepared her for traveling outside of Egypt. This is a new experience for Amin though.
She is spending the most time she ever has away from home, all while dealing with the stress of being a full-time student and collegiate athlete.
“I do feel home sick and I miss my friends and family but it’s getting better,” said Amin. “When I first came here, I really thought people here were going to be not friendly and really professional all the time but everyone here is really nice. I’m becoming really good friends with my teammates and my coach is really nice. The students, the teachers, everyone really is super friendly.”
With 11 international players from six different countries, many players must transition from international play to collegiate play.
“In Brazil, Egypt, Germany, and Paris it’s a lot different from collegiate play, here in America they do weird things like have the libra serve, if the ball touches the roof or side it doesn’t count for you or for them, and you can change players a lot. It not that we don’t understand each other it’s that we don’t understand the American rules,” said Amin.
On top of learning new rules, the volleyball team is learning to communicate. Many of the players have different first languages and are multi-lingual; Amin speaks five languages. Coach Baziquetto prefers the team communicate in English on the court.
“The problem is really when you say something in English and you think it means something but my teammate expect something else,” said Amin. “Sometimes they say something and I understand it my way and sometimes I say something and they understand it their way but with time we start to understand how we think.”
The FSW Bucs currently have a 9-6 record. Most of their loses were against ranked opponents.
This may be the volleyball program’s 1st year but they’re going serve for serve against any opponent they face. Neither the program or Amin are planning on slowing down.
“Right now I think I’m at my 30%, I have gotten used to the playing style they want me to play here in America and having to study for classes doesn’t help but, I want to become the best player here and the world. I want to go to the Olympics and win the gold medal. That is my main goal and I’m the type of person that once I make I goal I can’t stop till I finish it.”