American Star Russell strengthens Piacenza
LAUSANNE, Switzerland, June 19, 2020 – Star outside hitter Aaron
Russell is set to play for a third Italian team after signing
with Gas Sales Piacenza for the 2020-2021 club season.
The 2.05m-tall Russell enjoyed great success in the country with
Sir Safety Conad Perugia, the club he played for between 2015
and 2018, and helped to victory in the Italian League, the Super
Cup, and the Italian Cup in the 2017-2018 season.
He spent the next two seasons with Itac Trentino and was a key
part in the team’s triumphs in the 2018-2019 CEV Cup and the
2018 FIVB Volleyball Men’s Club World Championship, where he was
selected as the Most Valuable Player of the tournament.
Russell has also had a prolific career with the United States
men’s national team, which he joined in 2015, the same year the
team took gold at the FIVB Volleyball Men's World Cup. The
outside hitter was also with the squad during their bronze medal
campaigns at the Rio 2016 Olympics, the 2018 FIVB Volleyball
Men's World Championship and the 2019 World Cup. In the last
couple of seasons, he helped the Americans secure bronze and
silver medals from the FIVB Volleyball Nations League.
Two other members of the roster that secured bronze for the
Americans four years ago in Rio also moved clubs in the last few
days. Veteran middle blocker Max Holt will now play for Vero
Volley Monza after spending the last four seasons with Leo Shoes
Modena. The 32-year-old player, who was the best middle blocker
of last year’s World Cup, has also played for Calzedonia Verona
and Volley Piacenza in Italy, besides defending Russia’s Dynamo
Moscow between 2013 and 2016.
“Monza was an easy choice for me,” Holt said about the move. “I
wanted to stay in Italy and I’ve heard only great things about
We’ll be a team that will fight for each point, from the
beginning to the end of every match.”
Kawika Shoji will also feature in the Italian League next season
as he agreed on a contract with Pallavollo Padova for 2020-2021.
The 32-year-old setter will return to the country for the first
time since 2017-2018, when he left Monza to play for Poland’s
Asseco Resowia, his most recent club. The Hawaiian has also
played in Russia, Turkey, Germany and Finland.
“I am very happy to return to Italy,” Shoji commented. “I know
it’s a very strong league and I really enjoyed my time with
Monza and the Italian culture. It will be a season with a lot of
challenges but I think the motivation of having a new roster
will push us forward as we want to play the best volleyball we