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Brie O’Reilly: “We are in a really special moment with the number of world-class players we have”

VW: This was your second season in Brazil, living and playing in Rio de Janeiro. How is this experience turning out for you? Do you feel like you have connected with the country and the city on and off the court? Did you learn Portuguese at all?

O’Reilly: I have fallen in love with Brazil and specifically Rio. It’s no secret that I love the city and culture here, but the people have really made a difference. Everyone is so warm and genuinely grateful for life. I’ve found a lot of connection with my church here too and that’s made Rio really feel like home. I have been learning Portuguese, yes, and hoping to keep improving more and more.

VW: When you signed with SESC Flamengo, you mentioned that the possibility of working with coach Bernardinho was one of the reasons that took you there. How has this experience been reflected in our game and in which ways would you say it has developed in these two seasons? What are some of the things about Bernardinho that you just realized now, working with him?

O’Reilly: Working with Bernardo and his staff has been better than I could’ve imagined. His work ethic, humility and knowledge of the game have inspired me to be my best every day. Bernardo and I are really different, but I truly feel like he’s brought out the best in me. I think my game management, leadership and mentality have made the biggest improvement. And of course, my on-court skills are being refined daily because Bernardo LOVES to practice. It’s impossible not to get better in this gym. I am eternally grateful for getting to work with such a quality coach and human, and I’m certain it has made me better in every way.

VW: The 2024 season will be a big one for the Canadian national team. How important is it for you, personally, to get to the international season coming from such as strong club season, especially with the first matches of the VNL being held in Rio, where you live?

O’Reilly: This will definitely be the most important tournament of my career as we compete in VNL to fight for Olympic qualification. I’m really lucky to be starting that out in a city and gym that I feel at home in and supported in. I’m counting on Flamengo fans to be there to help us fight for every game.

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