Valentina Carrasco is not your typical Rattler.
A senior business administration student from Lima, Peru, Carrasco is a member of Florida A&M’s volleyball team. She began her volleyball career at the modest age of 8.
Her father, Antonio Carrasco, is a volleyball coach in Lima and has been an active resource and pillar of support throughout her years.
After playing at her father’s club, Carrasco was approached by a representative of the national Peruvian volleyball team and was offered a position on the team.
“My dad was a good teacher, so I think that helped me. The coach of the national team saw me playing and he called me,” said Carrasco.
Carrasco’s opportunity made her the libero for the Peruvian national team. The libero is quite the position in the game; as a defensive position, the libero is often the best player on the team, in regards to keeping a play alive. They not only intercept the opposing team’s shots before they hit the floor but by rule, they are allowed to ignore most of the normal rotation and substitution rules in volleyball.
After playing on the national team for three years, at the age of 16, Carrasco was offered another opportunity to come to FAMU and play volleyball as a Rattler.
“This wasn’t in my plans. I was already applying for schools over there (Peru) because I was playing for the national team I’d got a scholarship for some schools over there. Then I received a message asking me if I wanted a scholarship here, playing for FAMU,” Carrasco said. “I wasn’t expecting it but since the opportunity came to me, I don’t think it would have been smart to waste it.”
Carrasco took the opportunity to attend FAMU and play the sport she loves. While there were many challenges during her first year, Carrasco persevered and is now a senior member on the team and is scheduled to graduate with a degree in business in the summer of 2019.
“I didn’t know anybody. In the beginning, I was really, like, dying to go back. I was so young, I was in a totally different culture and I barely spoke the language. I’m glad because my first semester, there were people who really tried to get to know me and help me,” said Carrasco.
“If I go back home I can play pro, play at my dad’s club, and I can work with my degree. I am not really anxious about what’s in the future. I’m going to let God decide what is going to happen.”
Despite her bumpy start at FAMU, Carrasco didn’t let anything stop her on the court. Students who frequently attend the matches had only positive things to say about Carrasco.
“It wasn’t only the different colored shirt that made her stand out to me. It was the way she played, she was on it,” said Celine Dewdney, a senior psychology student from Winter Haven.
Junior political science student Deysha Henry, who’d considered playing volleyball herself, noticed Carrasco’s talent.
“I played volleyball in high school but with my workload, I chose not to play at the collegiate level. I still love the sport, so I go to some of the games and I’ve seen her play. She’s really good,” said Henry.