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Lega Article HOLT

For 20 months, it looked like the Tokyo Olympics, held in 2021, would be Max Holt’s swan song with the American national team.

An integral member of the squad for more than a decade since his debut in 2010, the veteran middle blocker decided to step away after the team’s disappointing tenth-place finish in the Japanese capital.

Holt continued to play at a high level for his club teams and, after some calls from assistant coach Matt Fuerbringer, he decided to wear the national team jersey again in the 2023 season.

“Having not performed how we wanted in Tokyo, the possibility of returning was definitely in the back of my mind,” he said in an exclusive VBTV interview. “After the break, I had been in talks with a few of the guys on the team and Furbs (Fuerbringer) had reached out a few times and my response was that I needed to take some time to figure some things out. Their understanding of that and my understanding that there was the potential for a comeback were the best things for me. The closer it got to the summer, the more motivated I was and then I realized that it was something that I felt like I could do and that I wanted to do. I want to go out with a bang.”

  • Watch Max Holt’s full interview for free on VBTV.

The 36-year-old Holt saw the court in ten of the 15 matches of the American campaign that had the team finish second in the Volleyball Nations League 2023 and later in the year also helped the squad book its ticket to Paris at the Volleyball Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

Despite his long trajectory with his country’s national team, he feels like he returned to the squad a different player than he left.

“As a volleyball player, I think I’ve evolved into the role of being one of the old guys now,” he reflected. “I don’t think I can give you physically what I used to and my game has evolved in a way which I understand myself and what I can bring to the table. Me, as a person, I like to think that I’m a silly boy who likes to work hard, but who also finds time for laughs in between.”

In his return, Holt found a very similar squad to the one he had left almost two years earlier and the high level of his teammates was one of the factors that motivated him to return.

A Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medalist, he’s determined to add another medal to his collection later this year in Paris.

“I think that what makes us good as a team is this very good mix of old and young,” the middle blocker added. “The experience factor is very important when you’re coming down to crucial games, so having experienced guys there to understand it and having good overall team chemistry are going to be the most important things. We have a lot of guys who have played together for a long time, but we also have some very important younger guys now that will benefit best from that team dynamic, which at the end of the day is what every team strives for.”