Maicon França, 17, from Rio de Janeiro, tried to become a football player and dreamed of becoming a center forward. However, he soon saw that he was also able to excel in volleyball, a modality presented to him by his brother, Lincon, who had stints in youth categories.
Almost a decade after the first steps on the court, the pointer, formed at Fluminense, is now at Sada Cruzeiro and is pointed out as a great promise of national volleyball. In addition to the talent, it also draws attention for its height of 2.17 meters.
Looking for renewal in the team after running out of medal at the Tokyo Olympics, Renan Dal Zotto, coach of the Brazilian team, has been watching Maicon closely in the current cycle. The coach summoned the boy to join the under-23 team in the fight for the title of the Junior Pan American Games, in Cali, Colombia.
Renan had previously invited Maicon to train with the national team in Saquarema, at the CBV (Confederação Brasileira de Volleybol) development center.
“Maicon has extraordinary potential and a privileged physical condition. He has been working hard on a daily basis and I really appreciate his dedication to training”, says Renan to sheet. “He has all the qualities to become a top player.”
Brazil debuts at Pan Júnior this Friday (26), at 2 pm (GMT), against the Dominican Republic.
“I was in the under-19 team in 2019 [com o técnico Fabiano Ribeiro], and I’ll have my first opportunity with Renan,” says Maicon. “I was already very happy to train with the national team, it was a short period. Now, I have the responsibility to compete for Brazil.”
When Maicon arrived at the Cruzeiro base, in December 2020, he was 16 years old and measured 2.15 meters. The club from Minas held a photo session to compare the teenager’s physical size with two other athletes from the professional squad, central Isac (2.08 m) and Cledenilson (2.10 m).
“The height helps a lot, but it also gets in the way at times, such as on public transport. And I’ve been training with a focus on improving my mobility on the court”, says the pointer.
Born in April 2004, the year in which the national team won the gold medal at the Athens Games, Maicon is still a little shy and tries not to be carried away by praise. Among his main qualities on court, good motor coordination and evolution in fundamentals such as reception stand out.
“I think I need to improve a lot, I have a lot to learn and it’s been good for me this season at Cruzeiro, and now in the national team”, says the pointer.
In the next edition of the Games, which will be played in July and August 2024, Maicon will be 20 years old. Going to Paris has already become a goal.
“It’s a dream to go [às Olimpíadas]. I’m believing, running behind, with the best expectations”, says the athlete, who has as an example the on-court posture of Cuban-born Brazilian Leal.
Since the frustrating campaign in Tokyo, in which Brazil became a candidate to fight for the gold and lost to Russia in the semifinals and to Argentina in the dispute for the bronze medal, Renan has been trying to renew the team. Some athletes, like the opposite Wallace and the central Maurício Souza, announced their retirement from the selection.
In July 2024, hands Leal, Maurício Borges, Lucarelli and Douglas will be, respectively, 35, 35, 33 and 28 years old.
In Cali, after the debut against the Dominican Republic, Brazil will play against Chile, on Saturday (27), at 2 pm, and against Mexico, on Sunday (28), at 4:30 pm.
Maicon will have competition from another big bet in the selection, pointer Adriano, 19, elected the best in the position in the 2020/21 Superliga and South American champion with Brazil, in September this year.
“We are experiencing a renewal and it is time to open space for young talents, who will wear the Brazilian shirt in a competition with great visibility”, says Renan.
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