"This award as MVP motivates me for new challenges"

Paula Arcos, at 20 years old, is already an established player. At an age when most of them are still being formed, the Alicante native is already one of the best players in Spanish handball. She thus credits her designation as MVP of the Iberdrola Handball League, the highest category. A recognition that rewards her great performance in the 2021-2022 League and that enhances the track record of a player who seems to have no limits. What does it mean for you to have been chosen as the ‘most valuable player in the League’? It is also the second year that she has achieved important recognition since in 2021 she won the Vicent Muñoz Trophy for the Best Player in the League, awarded by the coaches by vote. Yes, it is the second year that I have received an award of this type and it is something that makes me very happy and gives me a lot of confidence to face new challenges, to continue improving. It is the award for work and I am very grateful that they have chosen me. I’m happy with how the season finale went. Winning such an important award being so young, only 20 years old, is something that is not within the reach of most. Does it have added value? The truth is that I don’t know if I’m the youngest to have won it, but the truth is that since I entered the League at a very young age, I already have experience. All those years that I was in the youth category has made me improve and mature. I have lived experiences since I was very young and all of that has made me advance faster. Because, although he is very young, he has already spent 5 seasons in the highest category of Spanish handball. She has practically matured as a person and a player at the same time. Do you notice that evolution, how is it reflected on the pitch? That’s how it is. It’s been five years now, time passes quickly and I already have a good baggage. When you start you look at your references, at the veterans. You try to take advantage of every minute. Playing 10 minutes in a game was already a prize. Now, logically the objectives change, you demand more of yourself. You try to improve yourself every day, to improve. If you play 60 minutes, you try to make as few mistakes as possible. When you advance sportingly, the goals also advance and change. What have been the keys for you to have been chosen as MVP? I think the key is in daily work, being very consistent and never throwing in the towel. The individual award has more merit since it has not been an easy season for Mecalia Atlético Guardés, in which she has played so far. That’s right, at the team level it has been a very complicated season, we have had to overcome many obstacles, many injuries that have forced us to play with a very short squad, with hardly any rest. It’s a shame because we could have done better in the league. The only good thing about all this is that it has brought us closer together as a team. We have had to work harder to overcome all these adversities. Undoubtedly the best thing has been that we managed to reach the final of the Copa de la Reina when nobody, not even almost us, was betting on it. I am very proud of the collective work we have done. Now a new stage begins in one of the most powerful clubs in Spanish handball, Bera Bera with which it was presented last Wednesday. How do you face this new stage? I face it with a little fear, changes always impose. It is a new city, a new group of companions. I have to adapt to new game systems. But it is also something that motivates and excites me. You have to be brave, I think it’s a well-made decision. I’m going to a very professional club, where I think I can continue to grow as a player and gain good personal experience and hopefully we can fight for titles. Guardés’ farewell was very emotional, applauded by his teammates, his fans, they gave him a bouquet of flowers in the shell… what was that moment like? It was very emotional. The truth is that I am more hurt than they are, but I think the whole town, the whole club, my teammates and friends, have understood my decision. It’s costing me a lot but the life of the athlete is like that. I will miss you all but I am also excited to start a new stage. Paula Arcos, at her farewell from At. Guardés SD And you haven’t considered trying your luck outside of Spain? Have you had offers? The truth is that I do plan to leave in the future but I think it’s still early, at least I want to be in Spain for another year. I don’t know if I will have the opportunity to go abroad in the short or long term, time will tell but it is something that is in my plans, of course. You leave the Guardés and also his coach, José Ignacio Prades, who until now combined the position with that of coach. Do you hope to meet him again soon in the national team? Yes, of course, I have to continue working day by day and hopefully I can continue to be part of the team and call me again. At twenty years old, having already participated in the Olympic Games and the World Cup, it is an enviable record. Would you have signed it when he started in the League? And so much! I have had the opportunity to experience great things with the national team. Now we have the European Championship in November and hopefully we can fight for the top places. I’m sure the team will show their faces. How do you see the level of the Spanish League? Do you think it has improved in recent years? It is becoming more and more professional but there is still a long way to go. Iberdrola is betting a lot on us, we have very good Spanish players playing abroad, some of them will return this year and I think that will contribute to raising the level. Economically in Spain we are still far from other countries. Many players are paid very little and so it is difficult to be professionals. In any case, I am optimistic and I think we are making progress. In Spain we have very good players, as has been shown with the results of the national team and I think the Liga Guerreras is going to get better. How is summer planned? I want to rest and disconnect a bit from handball. I’ll keep going to the gym so I don’t lose my shape and go on a little getaway. I will join the Bera Bera on July 27 to start the preseason. What do you think he can improve? Many things. I think I still have to take a leap physically. I also have a lot to improve tactically, keep improving both in defense and attack.

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