Former Long Beach great DeFalco makes U.S. roster for FIVB World Cup

Photo courtesy of the FIVB

Former All-American outside attacker TJ DeFalco is back on the U.S. active roster.

DeFalco after being sidelined for the last two major international tournaments was named to the 16-player roster for the FIVB World Cup that the USA Volleyball announced on Friday.

The two-time National Player of the Year at Long Beach State played for the United States in the FIVB Volleyball Nations League this summer but was not a part of the roster for the Finals as the United States won the silver medal. In addition, DeFalco was not on the roster at the FIVB Olympic Qualification Tournament where the United States secured a berth to the 2020 games.

DeFalco while still in college spent the last two years competing with the U.S. Men’s National Team. In his final season at Long Beach State, DeFalco was in the nation’s top 20 with both a 3.52 kills per game average and a .397 attack percentage and helped the Beach win its second consecutive NCAA championship.


The outside attacker is one of three players who made this U.S. roster after concluding their college career earlier this year. His former Long Beach State teammate and All-American setter Josh Tuaniga along with UCLA All-American setter Micah Ma’a both earned roster spots.

Both DeFalco and Ma’a enter the World Cup after leading the United States to a silver medal at the NORCECA Continental Championship in September. In addition, DeFalco won the Best Spiker award at that tournament.

Along with these recent college players, seven players who were a part of the 2016 Olympic bronze-medal winning team will compete for the United States at the World Cup.

The team, though, will be without outside attacker Taylor Sander. The former 2016 Olympian and BYU All-American has been sidelined in recent months because of a shoulder injury.

The United States is attempting to become the third nation to repeat as World Cup champions. The team won the last World Cup in 2015 en route to securing an Olympic berth.

Unlike previous World Cups, this World Cup will not have any implications on the Olympic berths because Japan is the host nation for both tournaments. An Olympic host nation team, which receives an automatic berth, is not allowed to compete in any event with an Olympic berth on the line.

The World Cup is a 12-team event with a round-robin format to decide the winner. The United States will play Italy on Tuesday in its first of 11 World Cup matches.

U.S. roster for FIVB World Cup

Setter: Micah Christenson (USC 2012-15)
Setter: Micah Ma’a (UCLA 2016-19)
Setter: James Shaw (Stanford 2013-16)
Setter: Josh Tuaniga (Long Beach State 2016-19)
Opposite: Matt Anderson (Penn State 2006-08)
Opposite: Ben Patch (BYU 2013, 2016-17)
Outside attacker: TJ DeFalco (Long Beach State 2016-19)
Outside attacker: Thomas Jaeschke (Loyola 2013-15)
Outside attacker: Garrett Muagututia (UCLA 2007-10)
Outside attacker: Aaron Russell (Penn State 2012-15)
Middle attacker: Max Holt (Penn State 2006-09)
Middle attacker: Jeff Jendryk (Loyola 2015-18)
Middle attacker: David Smith (UC Irvine 2004-07)
Middle attacker: Mitch Stahl (UCLA 2014-17)
Libero: Erik Shoji (Stanford 2009-12)
Serving specialist: Michael Saeta (UC Irvine 2013-17)