Youth movement highlights U.S. roster for 2016 Olympics

It will be a first-time experience for the majority of the U.S. Men’s National Team at the upcoming Olympics.

USA Volleyball announced Tuesday its 12-player roster for the international tournament this summer that includes eight players making their first Olympic appearances.


“The goal is to make sure we are the best team we can be in Rio,” coach John Speraw said in a statement. “In order for us to achieve our goal, we are going to need one of the greatest collective efforts in USAV history. We don’t have the experience that past teams have had. For us to go through this is going to require all of us to be at our very best.”

Nine players on the U.S. roster are less than 30 years old, including three players who played college volleyball within the last two years.

The United States under new head coach John Speraw won the 2015 FIVB World Cup to become the first team to qualify for the Olympics. It also won the 2014 FIVB World League championships and finished in third place at World League last year.

Penn State leads all schools with three former players making the U.S. roster. Among the former Nittany Lions includes opposite Matt Anderson who was named the most valuable player at the 2015 World Cup.

Both USC and Stanford had two former players earn roster spots. In addition, BYU, Long Beach State, Loyola, UC Irvine and the disbanded Loyola Marymount program each are represented on the U.S. team.

The United States is attempting to win its fourth gold medal since men’s volleyball became an Olympic sport in 1964. The team entered the 2012 Olympics as the defending-gold medalists were eliminated in the quarterfinals.

U.S. Men’s National Team Olympic roster
Setter: Micah Christenson, USC
Setter: Kawika Shoji, Stanford
Opposite: Matt Anderson, Penn State
Opposite: Murphy Troy, USC
Outside attacker: Thomas Jaeschke, Loyola
Outside attacker: Reid Priddy, Loyola Marymount
Outside attacker: Aaron Russell, Penn State
Outside attacker: Taylor Sander, BYU
Middle attacker: Max Holt, Penn State
Middle attacker: David Lee, Long Beach State
Middle attacker: David Smith, UC Irvine
Libero: Erik Shoji, Stanford

Staff
Head coach: John Speraw, UCLA
Assistant coach: Matt Fuerbringer
Assistant coach: Mike Wall
Team leader: Erik Sullivan, Texas
Sports psychologist: Andrea Becker
Technical coordinator: Nate Ngo
Athletic trainer: Aaron Brock
Scout coach: Anton Brams
Scout coach: Charlie Sullivan, Springfield
Technical support: David Dantes