Play with your heart. Play, no matter what. Perhaps that is not an easy thing to say when volleyball is more than your biggest passion – it is your job. Can you give everything on the court when your club is in financial difficulties? FIVB Hero Margareta Kozuch proves that you can!
The star of Germany’s national team may still be young, but she has already played in some of Europe’s strongest leagues. After two years in Italy and one in Russia Margareta decided to take her strengths to another league that is closer to home: Poland. Margareta was born and grew up in Germany, but her father, Miroslav Kozuch, was born in Poland and played for the Polish national team. Margareta speaks Polish and had no problems settling in at her new team, Atom Trefl Sopot. It may be a young club, but stunned its rivals last season by winning the silver medal of the Polish league. With a strong team, a chance to play in the Champions League and a new life in a familiar country, all the factors were in place for another good season. Unfortunately, some unexpected problems appeared.
Rumours about financial problems of the club started making the rounds in late 2011 when Neriman Ozsoy and Amaranta Fernandez left the team. Margareta decided to stay, but the club does not deny that players have hardly been paid since the beginning of the season.
Despite these problems and the smaller squad, the team were still playing and winning in the Polish league. But our German FIVB Hero had her dramatic moment when she decided not to play anymore in order to raise the awareness of the club about the players’ difficult situation. Still, she did not want to leave Sopot – and Margareta came back on court in the most important phase of the season: the play-offs. She put all her heart and skill into her game, even when the coach asked her to play as left-side hitter. But Kozuch, affectionately called the “glue of the team” by her fans, led her team in a desperate chase for the score, and when Sopot where falling behind in the tie-break with 2:8 or 10:13, she won the matches at the net! Her sheer willpower and determination took the team all the way to its first-ever championship title! Sopot showed the world that they are more than just a group of good players, but a real team that sticks together in good and bad moments. At every point of her career, our FIVB Hero Margareta Kozuch has proved that she’s got what it takes. Ultimately, what counts is to win – and Margareta knows exactly how to do that, no matter what.