The United States’ fifth match in the 2021 FIVB Volleyball Nations League marked the first appearance of star veteran Matt Anderson in the tournament, adding yet another option to head coach John Speraw's list of possibilities with the team's roster.

A Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallist and a 2015 FIVB Volleyball World Cup champion, Anderson entered the second week of the tournament in Rimini, Italy, as one of just five players in the American roster who were yet to see the court. The last time Anderson had played in a match was back in 2020, in the Italian League.

VNL Men’s Highlights - Poland vs. USA

Used by Speraw as an outside hitter, the 34-year-old veteran helped to alleviate the absences of Taylor Sander and Aaron Russel in the position. He delivered nine points, the highest mark among the Americans, despite playing in only two sets, but was unable to avoid the team’s loss to reigning world champions Poland.

“I really didn’t know what to expect as it was my first time playing a match since the Italian League stopped in the spring of 2020,” he said after the match. “It’s been 15 months since I last was on the court and I tried not to be too critical of myself. I was just trying to find my rhythm out there and I felt like I settled down near the end. But there’s obviously still a lot of work to do.”

Anderson is happy to be back with his American teammates

Anderson is happy to be back with his American teammates

Anderson sat out of the last club season but will be back in Italy after the Tokyo Olympics after recently signing with Perugia. During the last year, he got to spend more time with his family and son, Michael James, who was born in January 2020.

Anderson enjoyed the time with his family but is pleased to the back with his American teammates for the VNL and the Olympics.

“I love playing volleyball and playing for the USA is a huge honour for me,” he explained. “It’s a huge accomplishment for my career to have played for the national team for the last 14 seasons and there’s always going to be energy from me to play and be out there with my teammates, that’s something that makes me really proud.”