Please introduce yourself.
My name is Matei Potočki, I'm 19 years old and I am from Zagreb, Croatia. Currently I’m playing for a club called Medvednica, our club name represents the name of the mountain under which our town lies. I got an invitation to the national team for the first time when I was 15. Although my first love was baseball, a club where I practiced was a baseball- and softball club. So eventually I also got my hands on a softball ball. My positions are catcher, short stop and out field.

What made you want to play softball?
My first interaction with baseball and softball was when I was nine. A friend of mine called me for one of the baseball practices. Since my first practice I've been in love with the sport.

Can you tell me something about softball in your country?
The desire for playing here is enormous. There are only a four clubs in Croatia, this means we have to travel all over the country to play. Since there are just four clubs, we also only have one league to play in. Fortunately for us, the people who have the opportunity to play for the national team, we have a chance to play on a higher level. This is also an opportunity for self improvement through the practice and professionalism that is provided to us in the national team.

How often do you practice with the national team and what do they look like?
Over the years the practices became better, longer and the orginazation was higher. We have trainers for various segments of the practice. We start to practice around three or four weeks before a championship. In those few weeks we train several times a day and have matches almost everyday. In that time nothing is in the way between my desire for softball and me. We don't really focus on a specific thing, we just strive to be the best.

What's your best experience so far with the national team?
In general playing for the national team brought me to the point where I got the opportunity to travel a lot, but also to develop myself as an athlete. I think when we achieved the third place at the European Championship in Most, the Czech Republic was one of my best experiences. Also when I won the price for best hitter at the European Championship in Prague was a great achievement.

Is it hard for your national team to participate in European tournaments?
Yes I think it's not that easy. Our biggest problem is the money. We don't have money for both girls and boys. This means that one year the women are going to tournaments and the other year the men are going to the tournaments. It's a very difficult job for our organizers. We are really grateful to them. Especially to our coaches who have been with us since the very beginning of softball in Croatia.

Who's your role model and why?
My biggest role models are my coaches and the people who work with us and who spend their time to help us become the best in the sport we really love.

Where do you hope to see yourself in five years?
I hope I will lead such a life that I will be able to make a living with the sport. I also really hope to sign a professional contract in 2018.

What is the best advice someone ever gave you?
Always give 100% and always try to be the best on the field, no matter what the score on the board is looking like.

What do you think is the key to a succesful team?
I think the key is that there needs to be a good atmosphere in the team and that you need to do lots of team building. Besides that I think you need co-operation inside and outside the field and a good motivation from all the team mates.

- Romy Marinus -