Ahead of his second season in the V-League, Matej wishes his foreign teammates…”a healthy and injury-free season”

Matej Kok (Slovenia) is making his second V-League appearance. This time, he will be playing for Samsung Fire instead of Woori Card.

Matej participated in the 2024 Korea Volleyball Federation Men’s Foreign Player Tryout in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, this year and was selected by Samsung Fire with the sixth overall pick. He wore a blue jersey handed to him by head coach Kim Sang-woo at the draft.

Born in 1996, the 199-centimeter Matei can play both outside hitter and outside hitter. He made his V-League debut with Woori Card in the 2023-24 season. As an outside hitter, Matej scored 669 points in 101 sets in 26 regular-season games, with an attack percentage and efficiency of 51.17% and 33.71%, respectively. He was forced to leave the team after suffering an ankle injury in the fifth round, but he still ranked sixth in scoring, sixth in attack, third in serving, and third in open attacks, and made a revolutionary contribution to WooriCard’s 스포츠토토사이트 fight for the regular season title.

Matejda was the only “new face” last season. At last year’s draft, he shed tears of emotion after being selected sixth overall by Woori Card. “At first, I didn’t expect to sign with a team like Samsung Fire, so I was confused when the re-signing teams were announced on the second day of the tryout, but I expected to have a chance,” said Matei, who was drafted by Samsung Fire a year later. “It’s great to be selected again. It’s great to be able to play in a well-established league again. It’s good to play for Samsung Fire again, which has a tradition,” he said.

“Last year, I was very nervous because it was my first time participating in the draft. This time, I was also very nervous, and I didn’t know which players would be selected until the end, but I think I was more nervous last year.”

Earlier, Samsung Fire selected 205-centimeter Apojit Ali Fazli (Iran) with the fourth pick in the Asian Quarter. Matej will likely be used as an outside hitter. Coach Kim Sang-woo said, “I am satisfied with the reinforcement on the right side. Matej can play both left and right. He also played on the left side in Slovenia. If he can play a role in the defense, I think we can work well together,” he said.

However, in February of this year, Matej was diagnosed with a left ankle sprain and underwent treatment for cartilage in his left knee. “I’m still working on my rehabilitation. It’s a situation that requires time. I’m doing muscle strengthening exercises around the injury, and I’m recovering well according to plan.”

“I went out last season with an injury, but I have enough time to recover, and the team has the facilities to recover,” Kim said of the knee cartilage, “If it was a big problem, I would have considered it, but it’s not, so I think it’s fine.”

This year’s men’s field features only three new faces, with Yosvani Hernandez (Cuba/Italy) at No. 1, Leonardo Leyva Martinez (Cuba) at No. 2, and Andres Villena (Spain) and Mattei at No. 3. It’s a very different atmosphere from last year.

Luis Elian Estrada (Cuba), who was drafted fourth overall by KEPCO, Michael Ahi (Netherlands), who was drafted fifth overall by Woori Card, and Manuel Luconi (Italy), who was drafted seventh overall by OK Financial Group, are all newcomers to the V-League.

“As Yosubani and other V-League veterans have told me before, you have to take care of your body as much as possible. My advice is to rest well, recover well, and play smart so that I can have a healthy season without injuries.”

Finally, for the Woori Card players, who will be his opponents in the V-League, he said, “I have a strong relationship with the Woori Card players. We have a great relationship with them, and as we always say, the better team will win,” he concluded, promising an exciting matchup in the 2024-25 season.