Canadian super sub Olivier Faucher helps club to Portugal Cup

Photo: Olivier Faucher (middle) celebrates Portugal Cup victory (photo: Pascal Clément)

– Canadian national team volleyball player Olivier Faucher of Plessisville, Que., has been capitalizing on his opportunities this winter to build his international career.

On December 26, Faucher was offered a contract by the Benfica squad of the Portugal pro league as an emergency replacement for another Canadian Dustin Schneider. 

It was Faucher’s first international contract but the 26–year-old setter, who starred with Université Laval from 2005 to 2009, quickly built his way into the starting line-up with the powerful squad and helped them to the Portugal Cup club championship this past weekend.

The Portugal Cup is a season-long club tournament that runs parallel to the regular Portuguese A League season.

‘’It was a wonderful experience to win the Portugal Cup,’’ said Faucher, a four-time All Canadian. ‘’We hadn’t won it in four years, so it was a pretty intense event. The guys were really proud of the victory.’’

This is not an easy line-up to crack. Benfica sports a 29-3 record this season overall and five Brazilians are on the squad. But again, Faucher pounced on a golden opportunity to play full time in the playoffs when the regular setter was injured. Faucher had only played two complete matches in the regular season. 

‘’My teammates really helped me,’’ he said. ‘’By the second playoff match I felt their confidence and we were able to win despite injuries to three starters.’’

While there have been challenges such as language and being away from home for such along period of time, Faucher is confident, the experience overseas this winter will help him with the Canadian national team this summer.

‘’I just love it here,’’ he said. ‘’There is great support for the players and the facilities are top notch. It’s a very high quality of play and there is a great atmosphere at the matches.’’

Faucher is now focusing on helping Benfica win the A League title beginning next week before heading back to Canada to May to join the national team at its training base in Gatineau, Que.