Fernanda Garay Rodrigues was born on May 10th 1986, the first of five children, Heleno (1987), Adonis (1989) and Adriano (1989), offspring of Jussara and Luiz Fernando, and Isabella (2005), from her mother's second marriage.
She spent her childhood in Porto Alegre at Jardin Ypu district.
Her parents worked all day and she was responsible for the younger siblings and was the first to be allowed to use the TV remote control.
From an early age she showed signs of being independent and entrepreneurial, producing popsicles and bracelets to sell in the neighborhood.
She comes from a athletic family: her father Luis Fernando was a basketball player at Náutico União Club and was part of the military's basketball team, her mother Jussara played volleyball in her youth and she runs regularly.
Her brothers were also involved in sports. Heleno was a member of the Brazilian triple jump team and the twins Adonis and Adriano joined their state's basketball team and played for other major clubs in Brazil. Young Isabella also has her share in sports, she has just started playing volleyball.
At the insistence of her parents she joined the volleyball academy at SOGIPA in 1997 and the following year she was invited by coach Osmar Pohl to join the club's competition teams.
At the age of 14 she was already 1.81 m tall and, even though she should have played in the children's category, she was the middle-blocker of her state's Youth Team. She won the title of the 1st division of the Brazilian Youth Championship in the state of Pará and in the same year, in the junior category, she was Brazilian champion in the special division in Rio de Janeiro and was called up for the first time to join the Brazilian Junior National Team.
While she was excelling in volleyball, being contacted by teams from São Paulo for a possible hiring, she suffered a major psychological blow during her parents' separation, having to grow up quickly in order to provide emotional support to the family, which led to putting her dream of becoming a professional player on standby.
With the divorce, her family experienced financial difficulties that compromised the purchase of school books, the purchase of sports equipment and trips to the games. It was then that the coach Osmar Pohl, who followed the whole situation closely, offered to help with some school and volleyball expenses, and he was a great friend in this difficult time.
In 2001, the adults national team's coach, Marco Aurélio Motta, who was following the training sessions of the junior team, gave a tip that changed Fernanda's history: he said she was too short for the middle-blocker and advised her to consider a change in strategy for her future career and suggested to start training as an outside spiker.
Just before turning 16, she went to São Paulo and signed for São Caetano/Açúcar União. She had to stay away from her family for the first time and it was a big change in her life, but she knew she needed this change to become a great player and achieve her goals, which were to defend her country in the adult category, fulfill the dream of playing in the Olympic games and mainly to provide a better future for her family.
São Paulo really changed her life, and not only in terms of professional opportunities. It is a multicultural place and very different to the south, where she comes from. There, an Afro-Brazilian teenage girl has to deal with several barriers in relation to standards of beauty. São Paulo made her feel more appreciated, which enhanced her self confidence. The fact that she felt beautiful there made the city feel like home.
During Fernanda’s training sessions with the junior national team in 2002, her coach Marco Aurélio Mota, that was following them, gave her a tip that would change Fernanda’s story in volleyball.
Once she arrived in Sao Caetano, following the advice by Marco Aurélio Motta, she played in the middle-blocker in the junior category and as an outside spiker in the youth category. That same year she won the South American Junior Championship in Barquecimeto, Venezuela, and was voted MVP of the competition as outside spiker. It confirmed she had taken the right decision by opting for the change of position.
In 2004, she signed a contract with Belo Horizonte’s MRV/Minas. At the time, Minas Gerais, was investing in its youth category, thus giving Fernanda the opportunity to play her first Superleague. Unfortunately that year, the youth players from Minas Gerais were left out of the Brazilian National Youth Team due to a misunderstanding between the club and CBV (Brazilian Volleyball Confederation), because they formed the base of the MRV adult team.
2005 was the year she and her teammates won the title of the Youth World Championship in Ankara, Turkey.
The first time she was invited to join the adult national team was in 2006, when she joined the group that won the Pan American Cup in San Juan, Porto Rico.
After four seasons at Minas Tênis Clube, it was time to change. She returned to São Paulo and signed a contract with Pinheiros, where she won the State Volleyball Championship in 2009. That same year, she played for the Brazilian national team that won the Final Four tournament in Lima, Peru.
In 2010, Fe Garay played for the Brazilian Military Team in the World Military Championship in the United States, where her team won. She was voted MVP of that competition as well. In the same year she also had the chance to join the adult team which finished second in Japan's World Cup.
Still in 2010, she had her first experience in a club abroad, when she played for NEC from Kawasaki, in Kanagawa province. The hard time with the language, distance from family members and friends and the lack of international experience made it a very difficult stay. In addition to that, on March 11th 2011, Japan was hit by a tragic 8,9 earthquake on the Richter scale, which caused a tsunami that devastated the country. With the invaluable losses suffered by the Japanese people and the risk of a nuclear accident, the championship was suspended. Not only Fernanda's team qualified for the semifinals, but also they finished the V-League in fourth place and the outside spiker finished as the top scorer of the competition.
During the 2011/2012 season Fernanda reunited with the Brazilian volleyball by joining the "Vôlei Futuro"project, a team created by Araçatuba-SP. The athlete signed for two seasons with the team, but even after winning the São Paulo Championship and getting third place in the Superleague, the Volei Futuro's team was broken up by the end of season.
In 2011, Fernanda won her second world cup with the military team in Rio de Janeiro, and was once again voted MVP of the competition. In the national team, the player was gaining more and more trust from the coaching staff, because she played a decisive part in winning the Guadalajara Pan American and finishing second place in that years' Grand Prix.
2011 and 2012 were very special years, full of great performances. Fernanda was gaining great strength in the Brazilian national team, which resulted in the best news she could get at that time: her name was on the list of athletes, eligible to compete in the Olympic Games. In London, her dream of playing the Olympics came true. She experienced her moment of greatest glory scoring the last point in the final and winning the Olympic Gold medal. Furthermore, the athlete was elected the best passer in the competition.
Her moment of glory did not stop there. In the same season she played for Sollys/Osasco, where she won the state's, South American and World Club championships. She was voted the best spiker in the Superleague, breaking the record of the competition for the highest number of points in one game with 36 points scored.
In 2013 once again playing for the Brazilian national team, she won the Montreux Volley Masters, where she was elected MVP of the competition, the Grand Prix Volleyball FIVB and the Champions League.
After her success in the Olympic Games and the FIVB World Club Championship, Fe Garay sparked the interest of several clubs in European volleyball. So once again, she packed up and traveled to Istanbul to play with the team, Fenerbahce. This time, much more mature than in her season in Japan, she took more advantage of this new international chance. Her experiences were not only inside the court. She decided to have new learning experiences from the cultural and social side of the city.
This season earned her the title of the CEV Cup and the runner-up of the Turkish Cup and the Turkish League, where she ended up suffering a hamstring injury in the calf during the decisive game of the semi-final against Eczacibasi and had to watch the final from the bench .
At the end of the season with Fenerbahçe, she received a proposal from Russian volleyball, decided to accept it and to continue her career at Dinamo Krasnodar. Fe Garay joined the team for the start of the 2014/2015 season after finishing her commitments with the Brazilian national team, where she won the Grand Prix of the FIVB Volleyball and Bronze in the Women's World Championship. Currently the Russian season is still in progress and her spike strength and her precise passes have helped her team win the Russian Cup that Dynamo Krasnodar had not won since 1994 as well as the exclusive title of the CEV Cup, becoming two-time champion of this competition.
Despite the bitter cold weather of Russia, Fe Garay warms the hearts of fans with her exciting performances on the court and the heart of her teammates with her ever-present charisma and joy.
Fe Garay continues making history wherever she goes.