Born: March 10, 1970 in São Paulo, Brazil
Category: Female Indoor Player
Hélia Souza Pinto, universally known as ‘Fofão’, is one of the most recognizable players in the sport of volleyball in Brazilian history. To say that her three decade long volleyball career has been impressive would be an understatement as she may be one of the most decorated inductees ever.
Fofão, one of the best playmakers in the world at her setter position, became the first volleyball player to play in five Olympic Games that spanned the years from 1992 to 2008. As its setter, she led Brazil to its first-ever Olympic Games women’s volleyball gold medal in 2008 and was selected as the Best Setter of the Games. The Olympic Games victory was Brazil’s first-ever triple crown title after several near misses, including bronze medals at the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games.
Fofão also collected silver medals at the FIVB World Championships in 1994, 2006 and 2010. She earned silver medals at both the 2003 and 2007 FIVB World Cups, which included being honored as Best Setter at the 2007 event.
In other major, non-triple crown events, Fofão reached the FIVB World Grand Prix medal podium five times with four gold medals (2004, 2005, 2006, 2008) and one silver medal (1999).
Although she retired from national team competition at the conclusion of the 2008 season, Fofão continued her equally successful club career in the Brazilian Super League. In 2015, she led Rexona-Ades to a third consecutive Brazilian title and record 10th overall championship, capping her final season of club competition by being named the league’s most valuable player.
Fofão also made a name for herself playing for clubs in Europe. After leaving the Brazilian Super League in 2004, she helped lead Italy’s Sirio Perugia to gold medals in the European Championships League and twice in the European Challenge Cup. She would later lend her talents to Spain’s Murcia and Turkey’s Fenerbahce Istanbul, where she led the club to a CEV Champions League bronze. Fofão aided Fenerbahce to win the 2010 FIVB Club World Championship gold medal and three years later assisted Rexona in winning silver at the 2013 FIVB Club World Championship. Her final tournament came at the 2015 FIVB Club World Championship where the team finished fourth.
Her dominating playing prowess and plethora of awards and titles make Fofão more than qualified to be a part of the Class of 2015 Inductees into the International Volleyball Hall of Fame.