Lausanne, Switzerland, May 16, 2018 - Introducing the top three teams in the current world ranking, the fifth installment of this series takes a look at the team ranked number 2 in the world - Rio 2016 Olympic Games bronze medallists USA.
2018 could be a big year for the United States men’s volleyball team. As Matt Anderson said on Instagram: “Full attention on USA Volleyball and our quest for Nations League and World Champs titles. We attack 2018 with our hearts full and our minds sharpened.”
USA are eyeing a return to the top of the international volleyball world. And this year’s inaugural FIVB Volleyball Nations League is at the heart of their efforts.Quick links: FIVB Volleyball Nations League
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“The new tournament format will be a big test for our team before the 2018 World Championships,” said US Head Coach John Speraw. He is looking forward to the spectacular new format, which brings together the top 16 teams in the world. The men’s final round is scheduled for July 4 to 8. And Speraw is focusing on the USA’s home tournament from June 15 to 17. “We will play in Hoffman Estates after three weekends in other countries, so it will feel good to be back in the United States.”
The US men will have a challenging weekend in Hoffman Estates, where they will face the teams ranked No. 3 in the world, Poland, No. 8, Iran, and No. 11, Serbia. Each team will play each other once over the course of the weekend. US players to look out for include 2016 Olympic medallists Matt Anderson, Micah Christenson, Max Holt, Thomas Jaeschke, Aaron Russell, Taylor Sander, David Smith, and Erik and Kawika Shoji.
The bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio was the team's last big success on the international scene. Prior to that, they had finished on the top step of the podium in the 2015 FIVB Volleyball World Cup.
The USA were also the dominant force in the 2014 FIVB Volleyball World League. In contrast, the team that has become so accustomed to success missed out on the medal positions in both the World League and the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Champions Cup in 2017, finishing fourth on both competitions. The USA are hungry for success as they prepare to begin their FIVB Volleyball Nations League campaign. “We will work hard and know how tough it will be against such strong opposition as Brazil and France,” said Speraw. However, the goals for the US team cannot never be too high. At stake in 2018: possible victories in the inaugural FIVB Volleyball Nations League and at the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship.
The United States men's team play their first match in the Volleyball Nations League on May 25 against Argentina in Ningbo, China.