28. 03. 2019

EXCLUSIVE FOR WoV: Igor Omrčen - "V-League made a serious progress; I wish I could've achieved better results with Croatia"

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Igor Omrcen, the Croatian international, has officially ended his professional career.


He is well known for playing in Italy for 12 years and playing in Japan for 7 years, winning some important games and trophies. 

The 38-year old player played his last game in the Japanese team Gosei Trefuerza. After the last whistle of the referee, the teammates and coaches lifted him up toward the sky. The Legend lives, definitely.

Igor Omrcen is probably the best Croatian players ever. In an exclusive interview with WorldofVolley, he has talked about many topics and if you like the interview you can freely share it with your friends.

Why did you decide to end career at this point?

My idea was to end the professional career in the last season. However, I picked up an injury and missed the last game. Since I didn’t want to see myself retiring because of injury, I decided to play for one more year. Simply, I want to decide when to stop playing volleyball, not some injury. That’s why I played in this season,” explains Igor Omrcen at the beginning of the interview with WorldofVolley.

You spent 7 seasons in Japan. Is there any specific reason for staying there, since you could pick and play in any league in the world?

I spent seven years in Japan and all I can say that I came here at the right point of my career. After playing a lot of big games in Europe I went to Japan and settled well there. I was not a guy who wanted to come here and to complete the job quickly. We have friends there, my daughter has her friends, me and my wife and we simply like the life in Japan.”

How does it look like to live in Japan?

I needed time, in the beginning, to settle down. I had some minor injuries as well. However, as time was passing by, we met a lovely life in Japan. Japanese volleyball is very competitive. They have a huge desire for the victory and that’s something that attracted me. When I came here to Toyoda Gosei I liked the project and that’s why I stayed there for five years. I had everything in Japan, from every aspect of life a career.”


Considering that you spent there seven years, can you describe the progress of the Japanese League?

They have reached serious progress. They have an amazing organization. Now, you have some cases that the young Japanese players are going in Europe to continue a career. Of course, we must give a credit to the foreign coaches, who brought the experience there.”

What would happen if the Japanese League allow one more foreign player per team?

Well, I doubt it. I mean, the quality of the league would be even much better but they will ruin the progress of the Japanese players. There is a rule that you can hire one more foreign player, but only from the Asian countries. A team that acquires a quality player from Asia and one foreigner from the rest of the world, combined with the home players, that team has a chance to win some trophy.”

What is the best moment in your career and is there any moment that you would like to forget?

These 12 years in Italy, playing for Cuneo and Lube, winning the title in 2012 as a captain of the team – those are the moments I can’t forget. In JT Thunders we made some big things and later with Toyoda Gosei along with Anders Kristiansson we also moved the team to another level. I can’t say that I had some bad moments in a career. Also, fortunately, I didn’t have any difficult injuries or surgeries, which is very rare in a professional sport.”

Can you compare life in Italy and Japan?

Well, there is a huge difference between these two countries. Social life is not at the level compared to Italy. There are advantages in each country and I enjoyed life in Italy and Japan. Each person sees it in a different way. It’s important to find a balance.”

Do you regret for not achieving better results with the Croatian national team?

That thing will be persecuting me for the entire life. I had a great career at the club level, playing in the best teams in Europe, battling the biggest volleyball stars each weekend. When you lack the results at the international level, that’s bothering you. Well, there are many reasons for not having a good international career and it’s a complicated and wide topic. I am sorry really, I lack that success, but that’s just the way it.”

Can you single out the names of some players you liked to play against?

Over the past 7 years in Japan, there have been many volleyball stars. Each weekend, I was meeting some world star. For example, Matey Kaziyski is a player I liked to play against. He is a great guy and player.”

What are the plans for the future, are you staying in volleyball?

I would like to stay in volleyball, for sure. This is my desire since I’ve been involved in the sport for more than 20 years. It’s a natural way.”

Where are you going to live?

I will be living in Split, Croatia. I’ve been out of Croatia for 19 years. It’s time to rest a little bit…” ends Omrcen the interview for WorldofVolley. 

Check out more interviews.


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