Lee Da-Young talks about signing for the French Ligue Boléro and what life has been like since returning home
Lee Da-young has a new team for her third year in Europe.
It’s Bolero Le Caneda of the French women’s first division (Ligue A). At the end of May, Lee signed a contract to join the team in South Korea. The club officially announced the signing on June 10.
After returning home on April 20 from her season with Lapid Bucharest in the Romanian league due to a back injury, Lee declined Lapid’s request to re-sign her and has been looking for a new team. In the meantime, she received a good offer from a prestigious team in the Polish league and held negotiations, but the final signing was not made. In the meantime, a lower-ranked team in the Turkkiye League also made an offer, and PAOK, the Greek league where Lee had played two years earlier, also made a good offer. After considering the options, Lee chose the challenge of playing in a new league and qualifying for the Champions League.먹튀검증
“The re-signing was later than I thought. Last year, I ended my contract too early and missed out on better offers from teams in Italy and the Turkkiye League. This time, I waited so that I wouldn’t have such regrets, and eventually a good opportunity came my way. I think I was patient enough to wait,” he said, adding that he was happy to sign with Bolero.
“I was on the verge of signing a two-year contract at Chemic Polis in the Polish League, but the coach who wanted me was suddenly replaced. The new coach is Marco Penolio, who took over mid-season at PAOK. He wanted to use three foreign attackers instead of a foreign setter, so I didn’t get the chance to go to Poland, but I got another chance. Thanks to the hard work of my agent, my dream of playing in the Champions League has become a reality,” he said, detailing the process of signing Bolero.
Bolero is based in Le Cannet, in the Provence region of southern France. It’s close to Cannes, where the famous film festival is held, and Nice, a vacation destination. The team has only been in the French league since 2018, but has won 13 league titles in the Swiss league under the Bolero name. The prestigious Swiss team moved to France in 2018 when they merged with Le Cannet in the French League. The move was rewarded with their first French Ligue A title in the 2021-2022 season. Bolero also won the title in 2022-2023 after reaching the playoffs with a record of 16 wins, 10 losses, 49 points, and sixth place. They defeated Nantes 2-1 in the quarterfinals and Brunel 2-1 in the semifinals to reach the final. In the championship match, they defeated regular season leader Mulhouse in two straight games to win the title for the second year in a row.
Bolero also qualified for the 2022-2023 European Champions League thanks to their 2021-2022 title.
After finishing second in Group B, they faced Rzeszów of the Polish League in the round of 16. After taking the match 1-1, Bolero lost 13-15 in the golden set to fall short in the quarterfinals. It was Lee’s third year in the European league, and he was able to fulfill his dream of reaching the Champions League knockout stage with Bolero.
“I often watched Champions League videos because fans sent me links on their phones and I didn’t know about it in my first season in Greece, but when I played in the Romanian league, I realized what the Champions League was like and I dreamed of playing there. After three seasons, my dream has come true, but I’m not there yet. It’s just the beginning. Now that I’ve reached the European stage, I want to play for a long time and make a lot of records.”
“In my first year with Greece, I didn’t have any thoughts. I was just grateful to be able to play volleyball, and I just wanted to do my best so I wouldn’t miss the opportunity. This year, after playing in the Romanian league, I wanted to play on a bigger stage. The Champions League is not for everyone. I’ve always dreamed of playing there one day as a starting setter for a qualifying team. It’s not important to just dream about it, you have to make it a reality,” she said, reinforcing her determination.
Since entering the European League, Lee has been progressing to higher and higher leagues. The French league is ranked fifth in the European league rankings after Italy Turkiye Russia and Poland. It has two of the 18 Champions League spots. The club’s president and general manager were keen to sign Lee, as they wanted a setter who could utilize the skills of the team’s star player, Victoria Rusu (Russia), whose quick back passes will be a big help. The head coach is Danilo Pejovic (Serbia), who has been in charge since last season.
“I still don’t know why Bolero wanted me, I just think they chose me because they needed me. First of all, now that I’m part of the team, I want to be the player they need when it matters. I want to hear ‘Lee Da-young saved our team’ when the team is in crisis. In Romania, I heard a lot of ‘Lida (Lee’s Romanian player registration name),’ and that’s why I heard that Rafido wanted to re-sign.”
Bolero is a prestigious team in a different league than the one she played in before. Helen Russo, a familiar face to V-League fans, played for Bolero Zurich in the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 seasons. Anna Lazavera also played for Bolero Le Canet in 2019-2020, the season before she joined IBK. Other notable V-League players include Sheridan Atkinson (2021-2022 season) and Nia Reid (2020-2021 season). Melissa Vargas, who recently joined the Turkiye national team, also played for Zurich in the 2017-2018 season.
Bolero has already signed four Russian players, as well as players from Lithuania and Bulgaria. There is also Serbian international Apojit Vanya Savic, who was highly sought after by V-League teams. Savic was unable to attend the tryouts due to his participation in the French League Championship. Setter Viktorilia Kovza is a Russian prospect who won the best setter award at the 2018 U-18 World Championship. She was born in 2004 and stands at 6-foot-2. Lee will have to compete for the starting job.
The club offers her an apartment with a view of the beach, a car, and more. Stadium facilities and players