Rosamaria is one of just three Tokyo Olympians called up by Ze Roberto for the 2022 season so far

Brazil will likely present a handful of new faces to the world during the 2022 Volleyball Nations League as the Tokyo Olympic silver medallists are set to start a rebuilding process after some successful years with the same core.

Head coach Jose ‘Ze Roberto’ Guimaraes is already working with a group of players at the Brazilian Federation’s Training Center in Saquarema and most of them are new faces to international volleyball, such as outside hitter Julia Bergmann, middle blockers Diana Alecrim and Lorena Viezel and libero Natalia ‘Natinha’ Araujo.

The moves were needed after some players stepped away from the national team following last year’s Tokyo Games. Outside hitters Fernanda Garay and Natalia Pereira and libero Camila Brait were the first to announce their international retirements, but some other players have not confirmed yet if they will continue with the national team in 2022.

“It will be a very important year for us,” opposite Rosamaria Montibeller said in an interview for Brazilian website Globo Esporte. “It’s the year after the Olympics, but there’s the World Championship already, so we’ll start renovating our team with a big challenge ahead of us. I think it will be important for Brazil to give our younger players some opportunity to play and experience, so this will be a year for us to rebuild our team and develop new athletes. There will be a lot of changes and it’s not going to be easy, but we’ll be ready for it and determined to do better.”

Brazil is coming off a prolific 2021 season, in which they won silver at both the Tokyo Games and the VNL and claimed their 22nd South American title. With several new faces joining the team, some ups and downs could be expected for them in the 2022 season, which officially starts on May 31, when the South Americans face Germany in their VNL debut.

In that scenario, the role of the most experienced players in the roster becomes even more important and, at the age of 28, Rosamaria is ready to step up to the challenge. One of just three experienced players to have already been called up (the others are setter Roberta Ratzke and outside hitter Ana Cristina Souza), she’s looking forward to helping the younger players settle in the team.

“We knew this moment would come sooner or later, it’s part of the sport,” Rosamaria, who will join the team’s training camp on May 9, said. “I’ve been fortunate to be on the national team with some of the players who helped Brazil be where it is now and I’ll try to share what I’ve learned with them and through my career with the younger players. I was in their place in the past and am looking forward to fulfilling my role and helping them as they start their international careers.”

Besides stepping up to more of a leadership role, Rosamaria might also switch positions. After years of playing primarily as an opposite, she could be used by Ze Roberto as an outside hitter following the departures of Natalia and Garay.

“I just want to be on the team,” she said about the possibility of switching positions. “Right now, I see myself more as an opposite and Ze knows that. But he’s a great professional, a coach who pays attention to every detail. And if he believes I can help the team as an outside hitter, I’ll be open to that. I’ve played there in the past, I know I still have what it takes and will do anything to be on the team.”

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