Puerto Rico's Hector 'Picky' Soto Honored with Inaugural IVHF Mayoral Award of Excellence
Hector ‘Picky’ Soto, a prominent Puerto Rican volleyball player and a 2019 inductee to the Puerto Rican Sports Hall of Fame, received the inaugural IVHF Mayoral Award of Excellence on Wednesday, February 15, 2023 at the Teatro Renacimiento in Arroyo, Puerto Rico by Joshua Garcia - Mayor of the City of Holyoke and IVHF Board Member.
Joining Mayor Garcia at the special presentation was Arroyo Mayor Mr. Eric Roman, Noel Marrero & Jesus Prieto of the Puerto Rican Volleyball Federation, Puerto Rican Senate Member Gretchen Hau, and members of the Massachusetts House of Representatives Carlos Gonzalez and Pat Duffy (through her aide Juan Anderson-Burgos).
“Picky Soto, the Pride of Puerto Rico, is a volleyball superstar,” Mayor Joshua Garcia said. “He has been a high scorer and a Most Valuable Player from his college days in Indiana to his professional career that brought him from Puerto Rico to Italy, Russia, Japan, Korea, Belgium, Turkey, and Tunisia. As Mayor of the City of Holyoke, the Birthplace of Volleyball, it was my honor and privilege to recognize Arroyo native Picky Soto with the inaugural Mayoral Award of Excellence.”
“I'm grateful,” Soto said. “Coming out of a small place (Arroyo) compared to the world, it is difficult to process this recognition. It's a lot to process to have the International Hall of Fame recognize my career. I have the opportunity to receive this award, but many more citizens deserve it."
Soto thanked his parents, María and Héctor, for being responsible for taking him around Puerto Rico to play since he was a child, his family of four, with his wife Amnerys, who accompanied him around the world when he played. And he thanked his teammates on the National Team, like the present Enrique Escalante, who helped him shine on the court, and his teachers in volleyball, like the present Frankie Santana and César Díaz, in addition to the late Carlos Arroyo.
“Thank you for getting me out of basketball. I thank you, said the 6'7 tall player with a great leap to his teachers”, said Soto.
“On behalf of the IVHF Board of Directors, we welcome Mr. Hector ‘Picky’ Soto as the inaugural recipient of the newly established Mayoral Award of Excellence,” commented IVHF President Steve Bishop. “Mr. Soto’s contributions to volleyball and the Federation of Puerto Rico are numerous. He has a storied career that merits recognition and this award will record his name in history alongside some of the sport’s greatest athletes, coaches, officials and leaders from around the world. We celebrate Mr. Soto and welcome him to the IVHF family.”
Picky captured 3 Central America & Caribbean Games gold medals with the Puerto Rican Men’s National Team and was named Top Scorer of the 2006 FIVB World Championship (271 points) and 2007 FIVB World Cup. Picky’s 271 points still stand as the record for most points in an FIVB World Championship.
The International Volleyball Hall of Fame Mayoral Award of Excellence was created in 2023 as an opportunity to recognize a person, group or organization that has directly contributed to the sport of volleyball or the International Volleyball Hall of Fame and represents the ideals and spirit of the City of Holyoke, Massachusetts – the birthplace of volleyball. The award will be given at the discretion of the sitting Mayor of Holyoke supported by the IVHF Board of Directors.
About the IVHF
Located in Holyoke, Massachusetts - the birthplace of volleyball - the International Volleyball Hall of Fame is an independent non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to honoring the legends, recognizing the greats, and preserving the history of volleyball worldwide. The Hall of Fame museum is home to more than 160 inductees from 25 countries and over 5,000 square feet of volleyball history. Thousands of people visit the Hall of Fame museum each year to learn about the game and experience the exhibits. Best known for its annual Induction Celebration honoring the game’s elite, the IVHF also operates over a dozen youth, high school, and collegiate competitions and programs annually. You can be a part of honoring and preserving the history of volleyball by joining the IVHF Membership Program. To learn more, visit https://www.volleyhall.org/membership.html.
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The IVHF exists to preserve the history of volleyball in its birthplace of Holyoke, Massachusetts USA by honoring, promoting and sharing its story with the world.