TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – Former Florida State indoor and sand volleyball standout Fatma Yildirim has been invited to train with the Turkish National Team as she competes for a final spot on the team that will play at the inaugural FIVB Women’s U23 World Championship Oct. 5-12 in Tijuana, Mexico.
Yildirim recently competed her final season of eligibility at Florida State in the 2012-13 academic year, but was scheduled to enroll in one more semester and graduate in December 2013. With the opportunity to represent her country, Yildirim will return to Tallahassee for the spring 2014 semester and complete her Bachelor’s Degree in dietetics then.
“We are so proud of Fatma having this opportunity again to train with the Turkish National Team,” head coach Chris Poole said. “Fatma was in the national team pipeline when she left to attend Florida State in 2009. She had a great career and was part of four straight NCAA Tournaments, including an NCAA Regional Final, an NCAA National Semifinal and three of the last four seasons winning the ACC. That experience she gained at FSU has continued to advance her volleyball level.”
The Istanbul, Turkey native has been known as a model student-athlete in her four seasons representing the Garnet and Gold. Her final season as an indoor volleyball student-athlete was her best yet, culminating with American Volleyball Coaches Association All-America honors, AVCA All-East Region honors and a selection to the All-ACC Team for the first time in her career.
Last year, Yildirim received the team’s Most Influential Player award and was named a co-captain alongside libero Katie Mosher. She also joined fellow senior Marija Milosavljevic in winning the team’s Seminole Warrior award. Yildirim led Florida State with 324 kills and 2.89 kills per set, and totaled 308 digs and 2.75 digs per set.
Yildirim became the fifth Seminole in school history to earn All-ACC Freshman Team honors and All-ACC honors in her career. As a freshman in 2009, Yildirim was a vital part of the first team in program history to reach the NCAA Regional Finals as she finished the year with 232 kills and 344 digs.
“The Turkish National team program is one of the best in the world,” Poole added. “Their players are among the best trained in the world and we know that Fatma will work hard to try and make that final roster for their U23 team.”
To help prepare her for the elite competition at the U23 World Championship, Yildirim is playing in the European League with the Turkish National Training Team until Oct. 1 when the final roster is selected.
Yildirim has experience in international competition with the Turkish National Team program. She played with the Turkish Junior National Team for four years prior to her arrival at Florida State. In her time there, she helped the squad to first-place at the 2006 Balkan Championship and a runner-up finish at the 2007 FIVB Girls’ U18 World Championship in Baja, Mexico.
Yildirim has been a part of the Turkey youth volleyball circuit that is among the best in the world, as shown by the country’s first-place finish in the 2011 FIVB Girls’ U18 World Championship.
Yildirim’s two years of playing sand volleyball since the sport began at Florida State in 2012 was also very successful. In 2013, she went 10-3 in tournaments and finished 13-6 in dual matches for an overall record of 23-9. In her junior season with the sand volleyball team, she went 11-3 overall.