A few days after the United States women’s national team released their roster for the Tokyo Olympics, the men did the same. Coach John Speraw announced the 12 players that will represent the country in Japan this summer.
USA roster selected for Tokyo Olympics
The Americans have eight bronze medallists from the Rio Games on their squad
Published 03:10, 15 Jun 2021
Speraw will have a fairly experienced roster to work with during the Games as he named eight returning players from the squad that won bronze at the Rio 2016 Olympics, most notably opposite Matt Anderson, setter Micah Christenson and outside hitter Taylor Sander.
Sander, who was named team captain by Speraw, has been battling injuries over the last few years as he recently had to deal with shoulder and ankle issues. He’s currently part of the American roster atthe 2021 FIVB Volleyball Nations League, but is yet to appear in a match in the tournament.
Some of the most noticeable omissions in Speraw’s final list are outside Aaron Russell, who’s recovering from back surgery, opposite Ben Patch and middle blocker Jeff Jendryk.
“We had some really difficult decisions to make,” Speraw said about the selection. “Team USA over the last four or five years has become deeper. The discussions about whom to take on this team involved the performances during VNL as well as what these players bring as teammates and competitors.”
Russell, Patch and Jendryk were all named as alternates by Speraw and can potentially replace an injured teammate before the start of the Games. Other alternates are setter Josh Tuaniga, opposite Kyle Russell, outside hitters Brenden Sander, middle blocker Taylor Averill and libero Dustin Watten.
The Americans will briefly return to their training facility in Anaheim, California, at the end of the VNL for the final stages of their Olympic preparations. The team are also set to spend some time in the Japanese city of Mishima, where they will train and play a pair of friendly matches against Japan ahead of the start of the Games.
Ranked third in the FIVB world ranking, the United States are part of pool B in the Olympics and will play Argentina, Brazil, France, Russia and Tunisia in the opening stage of the tournament.
USA’s Olympic Roster
· Setters – Micah Christenson, Kawika Shoji
· Opposites – Matt Anderson, Kyle Ensing
· Outside Hitters – Taylor Sander, Thomas Jaeschke, TJ Defalco, Garrett Muagututia
· Middle Blockers – Max Holt, David Smith, Mitch Stahl
· Libero – Erik Shoji