Skip to main content

The Fucka family’s experience in the U.S. doubles. After the departure in the summer of 2020 of Tatijana, student-athlete at UAB – The University of Alabama at Birmingham, Rebeka, twin sister, has also recently embarked on this important experience between volleyball and study at Coastal Carolina University.

We could say “good blood doesn’t lie” since the girls are the daughters of Gregor Fucka, currently an established basketball coach and former star of the Italian national team with which he collected 162 appearances from 1991 to 2002, winning a silver medal at the 1997 European Championship in Spain and gold in the edition held in France in 1999 as well as countless cups and club championships in Italy and Spain.

Although they choose another discipline, it is clear that sport is a family affair having both played at excellent levels in Italy and today landed in the States to gain an important experience both on a volleyball and personal level. To tell their story and their feelings, we decided to carry out a double interview: enjoy the reading!


A – How and when did the idea and awareness of leaving for the United States as a student-athlete come about? The coach in Coastal Carolina had been in touch with me for a while, but I never had the courage to go. I’m honest, my sister’s departure made me think a lot and from the way she told me about it it was an unmissable experience, so not even a year later I decided to embark on this adventure.

T – On the other hand, we want to take stock of your experience so far in the United States. If you could go back, would you make this choice again? I would make this choice a million times, I really recommend it to everyone! At the beginning it was difficult to adapt to a new culture, but later when you settle in everything is easier. In addition, it is very stimulating to be here, because they enhance, enhance and “reward” the fact of being a student-athlete. It’s not as complicated as in Italy. In the States, being an athlete within the academic path is an extra distinctive value.


A – The first impact. How did you feel when you arrived here? What impressed you the most? A place, a structure, a habit of Americans. Everything is different here: the habits, the cities, the university, the gyms. There is nothing that can even remotely resemble Italy! At first glance I felt a bit lost, but after a short time I settled in and now everything is much easier! The thing that impressed me the most is the university campus: it’s very big, clean and with beautiful facilities!

T – Let’s take a step back with you, to last summer. Do you remember your early days in the United States? I remember very well when I arrived, everything was so different! The thing that impressed me the most is the relationship that Americans have with food: people here don’t have a lunch or dinner time, they eat when they feel like it, and many times in a hurry and on their feet. Let’s say that for them food is not a culture, while for us Italians it is.


A – You are lucky to have your twin sister who has taken this path before you. What did you recommend? My sister was like a guide for me. He helped me with everything from the beginning, even before I left. He explained to me how university works, the rhythms of training and some habits of Americans, and I must say that his advice was very useful.

T – Did you give any advice or suggestions to Rebeka before she decided to fly overseas? I told her that she shouldn’t be scared at the beginning because it’s hard to join a new team where you already know everyone, that you have to be patient with the language and that with the passage of time everything will be much easier!


A – What do you expect from this experience? I expect so many things: to graduate, to learn English, to make new friends and to win with my team! Right now I can’t play because 4 months ago I ruptured my cruciate, so I’m doing a lot of rehabilitation to get back on the court stronger than before! Being present at every training session and having already attended the first games, I have to say that our team level is very high, so I have high expectations. Girls always have a great desire to work and win, and that’s the only way you can achieve great goals. I’m so grateful to be on this team!

T – You faced a very particular and different first season in the USA (as unfortunately everywhere due to the pandemic), for this next championship just around the corner what goals do you have with the team and what do you expect? Our goal is to go to the Conference Tournament and try to get to the finals, and why not go to the NCAA Tournament. Last year, even though it was the year of Covid, the goals were always the same, we managed to go to the Conference Tour and it was a great success, because this team had not participated in this tournament for 12 years.

Let’s close with a question for Tatijana:

How has this path affected you? How much has it changed you as a person? It made me appreciate the little things more, when I maybe go home to my family I take advantage of every moment to be with the people I love because then I know that I will be away from them for many months. I consider myself very matured because here you have to make decisions, you have to do ”all the things when you grow up” and try to fend for yourself.