IRIS Tolenada, the veteran setter who played in Philippine club leagues since 2015, is looking forward for her new role as Fil-Am Nation Select’s national director of volleyball in the United States.
Tolenada will take care of facilitating and creating the schedule of the showcases and creating an environment where the Filipino athletes across America can showcase their talent and educate about opportunities not only in the United States but in the Philippines.
“The main mission is that – to get talented Fil-Ams to be able to take their career farther than high school, hopefully reaching an international level someday,” said Tolenada.
Formally appointed by Fil-Am Nation Select to handle the program yesterday, Tolenada is ready to work in her new job as she accepted this great opportunity to grow the game for the Fil-Am players.
“You can look forward to the Fil-Am volleyball players getting more exposure not only across the nation, but hopefully across the world. I accepted this opportunity because this is an amazing chance for me to connect more with the Fil-Am community, and it’s also a way for me to get back into coaching in a different way. I’m really excited to help grow the game for Fil-Am volleyball because I know there are so many talented kids out there,” said Tolenada.
The 5-foot-8 playmaker had the experience of playing at high level high school volleyball program and clubs. A product of San Francisco State, Tolenada has been playing in the Philippines since 2015 and even represented the country in the AVC Asian Seniors Women’s Volleyball Championship in Tianjin, China on the same year.
Tolenada’s job was some way of giving back to the sport that she loved by providing a platform for exposure and education.
“Absolutely! I’ve been a coach for many years now at both high school and university levels, and my passion to coach is fueled by giving back and sharing my knowledge and experiences with athletes who want to get better,” said Tolenada.
Aside from her new job, Tolenada is working out to remain in shape while in San Francisco. Her last club stint was with PVL team Motolite in 2019.
“I’m actually kind of all over the place, floating around wherever life takes me,” said Tolenada with a smile. “I’m continuing to do what I need to do in order to keep my body strong – weightlifting, cardio, playing volleyball when it’s available, and fueling my body with the food it needs in order to perform well.”
Tolenada promises to return to the Philippines soon as she begins her new journey to discover Fil-Am talents.
“I want to thank every volleyball fan, but especially everyone who’s supported me & my career! I miss all of the amazing support in the Philippines and I’m sending all my love to everyone. I’ll be back at some point,” said Tolenada.
“Let’s continue to support each other in the volleyball community, be kind, and always be grateful. Maraming salamat po!,” she added.