U.S. Men Sending Veteran Group to Worlds


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado, September 7, 2018 – The U.S. Men’s National Team will send eight Olympic medalists and six other players with significant international experience to compete at the 2018 FIVB World Championships in Italy and Bulgaria.


The U.S. Men will begin World Championship pool play on Sept. 12 against Serbia in Bari, Italy.


The eight 2016 Olympic bronze medalists on the roster opposite/outside hitter Matt Anderson, outside hitters Aaron Russell and Taylor Sander, middle blockers David Smith and Max Holt, setters Micah Christenson and Kawika Shojiand libero Erik Shoji.


Anderson and Smith are both two-time Olympians. Sander will serve as team captain.


Other veteran players on the roster are outside hitter Jake Langlois, middle blockers Jeff JendrykDan McDonnell and Taylor Averill, opposite Ben Patch and libero Dustin Watten. All except Jendryk have played at least one professional season overseas.


“We are very excited by the roster we are sending to the World Championships,” U.S. Head Coach John Speraw said. “We believe that, considering all factors, this team will provide us the best opportunity to bring home the gold.”


The team left Anaheim, Calif., on Monday (Sept. 3) for a pre-Worlds warmup tournament on Sept. 6-8 in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Canada, Iran and Slovenia will also compete.


Speraw said the team has had a strong monthlong training block at the American Sports Centers to lead into the tournament.


“We’re in a position where we have some players who have played together for quite some time,” Speraw said. “We are strong from a leadership and team-dynamic perspective. We just need to go out and execute.”


The U.S. Men will go into the World Championship with a 13-6 record this season after they finished third in the FIVB Volleyball Nations League earlier this year.


The U.S. Men won the World Championship in 1986 and finished third in 1994. In 2014 they finished tied for seventh.