Colorado Springs, USA, June 21, 2016 – Four Olympic veterans, including two gold medallists, join eight newcomers on the USA Olympic men’s volleyball team that will compete at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
It will be the second trip to the Olympic Games for opposite Matthew Anderson, the MVP of the 2015 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Cup, and middle blocker David Smith. First-time Olympic team members are setters Micah Christenson, Kawika Shoji, libero Erik Shoji, outside spikers Thomas Jaeschke, Aaron Russell and Taylor Sander, middle blocker Max Holt and opposite Murphy Troy.
USA coach John Speraw went through a four-year process, before he could assemble the team.
“I felt the team dynamic we’ve had the entire quadrennial has been great,” Speraw said. “This is a tight-knit group. They are empathetic to the situation of team-mates who don’t get to go to the Games. But now we have an opportunity to focus on the task at hand.”
The average age of the team is 27.8 and there are nine players younger than 30 on the roster. Speraw knows the lack of experience will be one of the team’s greatest challenges.
“The goal is to make sure we are the best team we can be in Rio,” Speraw said. “In order for us to achieve our goal, we are going to need one of the greatest collective efforts in USA Volleyball history. We don’t have the experience that past teams have had. For us to go through this is going to require all of us to be at our very best.”
At 38, Priddy will be the senior member of the team and only the second USA men’s volleyball player to play in four Olympic Games after setter Lloy Ball. Priddy’s hopes for a fourth Olympics were almost derailed in 2014 when he tore his ACL. But after double knee surgery, he has worked hard to return to the court in top form.
Speraw brings his own Olympic experience to the table, having served as an assistant coach at the Games in Beijing 2008 and London 2012. Erik Sullivan will serve as team leader.
“Erik Sullivan is one of my best friends who also is a great volleyball mind,” Speraw said. “He brings a perspective and thought process that is respected by me and everyone on staff.”
Speraw has built a dedicated staff over the past three years, including assistant coaches Matt Fuerbringer and Mike Wall, technical coordinator Nate Ngo, sports psychologist Andrea Becker and athletic trainer Aaron Brock.