The USA men are starting a new quad with tons of new faces just recently out of college. On this transition year after the London Olympics, some of the stars that have become fixtures in the starting line up take a break and give the young players a chance to gain experience as the team builds toward 2016. Here are the stories and competitions from the 2013 USA men's volleyball season.
Long-time beach volleyball star and former Stanford athlete Matt Fuerbringer was named this week as one of the assistant coaches for the USA men's team. Fuerbringer has been working with USA head coach John Speraw as a volunteer assistant at UCLA and has coached club volleyball for several years. Though he does not have a ton of coaching experience at the elite level, Speraw credits his knowledge, communication skills and presence as the key reasons he was chosen.
The USA men lost both matches against Poland last week and fell to fourth place in World League's Pool A. That makes the odds of making the final round almost zero. This week they play No. 1 Brazil, the team that currently sits at the top of Pool A with a 7-1 record. Beating Brazil once, let alone twice is unlikely, so this is probably the end of the line for the Americans.
New USA men's team head coach John Speraw released the preliminary roster for this summer's World League competition. Much was made of the aging roster that competed in the 2012 Olympics and we expected a great deal of turnover for the 2016 campaign. It looks like it's time to see what the new blood can do. This may not be the roster of a team that wins World League. But if you like checking out new talent, this is the roster for you.
The youthful but talented U.S. men's squad earned two more wins last week for a 3-1 record in World League competition. The Americans beat France in two matches in Tulsa, winning in three sets on night one but needing five sets to put them away on night two. The Americans currently sit in second place in Pool A behind the current leader, World No. 1 Brazil.
The first weekend of World League action begins this Friday for a young U.S. team looking to gain some real international experience. Head Coach John Speraw says he is looking to evaluate new talent and is less concerned about results at this early stage in the quad. The 12-man roster includes a bunch of recent college grads that you should recognize from the last few national championship runs.
Volleyball is a great sport. Fun. Exciting. Fast. But if there's ever a year that fans could be forgiven for taking a break from watching our national teams compete, it is the year after the Olympics. Usually after the closing ceremonies, our top tier players either retire or head overseas. The men's and women's national teams become a training ground for young, untested, inexperienced players who muddle through tournaments like World League and Grand Prix like the novices that they are. It's mostly not worth watching or paying attention to. This year has been different.