Manager, Media Relations and Publications
ANAHEIM, Calif. (April 9, 2009) – USA Volleyball has announced the 22-person preliminary roster that it has submitted for the 2009 FIVB World League men’s tournament.
The roster will be cut to 19 players by April 30. New U.S. Men’s Head Coach Alan Knipe (Huntington Beach, Calif.) and his staff will pick 12 players from that group of 19 to play each weekend in World League.
Knipe, who is currently the head coach for Long Beach State’s men’s volleyball program, will not officially join the U.S. Men’s Team until the end of the 2008-09 collegiate season. However he was involved with the roster decisions along with former U.S. Men’s Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon, Assistant Coach Ron Larsen and Marv Dunphy, a former national team head coach and current men’s coach at Pepperdine who served as a consultant coach for the 2008 U.S. Men’s Olympic Volleyball Team.
“It was an interesting process considering I haven’t had the opportunity to be in a training environment with some of these guys,” Knipe said. “But I am familiar with all of them and I had a lot of quality input from some coaches that have had the opportunity to spend some extended time with the team. I like the group that we have selected.”
The roster is highlighted by eight returning players from the 2008 U.S. Men’s National Team that won World League and the Olympic gold medal.
Those returning players are setter Kevin Hansen (Newport Beach, Calif.), middle blocker and team captain Tom Hoff (Park Ridge, Ill.), libero Rich Lambourne (Tustin, Calif.), middle blocker David Lee (Alpine, Calif.), outside hitter Sean Rooney (Wheaton, Ill.) outside hitter Riley Salmon (League City, Texas), opposite Clay Stanley (Honolulu, Hawai’i) and outside hitter Scott Touzinsky (St. Louis, Mo.).
Hoff has played in the last three Olympics. Salmon and Stanley have played in the last two.
Setter Lloy Ball (Fort Wayne, Ind.) and opposite Gabe Gardner (San Clemente, Calif.) have retired from the U.S. Men’s Team. Middle blocker Ryan Millar (Palmdale, Calif.) and outside hitter Reid Priddy (Richmond, Va.) are taking the summer off from indoor volleyball competition.
Among other returning players, opposite Brook Billings (Santa Barbara, Calif.) played in the 2004 Olympic Games, where the U.S. Men placed fourth, and played pool play matches for the United States in the 2006-08 World Leagues.
Setter Donald Suxho (Korce, Albania) played in the 2004 Olympic Games and in the 2006 World League. But he has missed the last two seasons after injuring his Achilles tendon early in 2007.
Middle blocker Delano Thomas (Sacramento, Calif.) also played in 2008 World League pool play matches for the United States.
The other 11 players on the preliminary roster are recent college standouts who have seen international competition within the U.S. national program and/or while playing in international leagues.
“As we’re entering Year 1 of the quad (Olympic quadrennial), the natural progression is the reverse funnel effect,” Knipe said. “We’re bringing in a lot of guys at the beginning to see how they do at a higher level of international competition. We’re going to see how we can add to our core group.”
The FIVB World League is an exciting elite men’s volleyball competition in which the world’s best teams are divided into four pools and play for six straight weekends from June 12 to July 18. Winners from each pool will qualify for the final round on July 22-26 in Belgrade, Serbia, along with the host country and a pick from among the second-place teams in pool play.
The total World League prize purse is more than $20 million, with the winning team collecting a prize of more than $1 million.
U.S. fans can watch Team USA play live in World League matches in San Jose, Calif. (June 26-27 versus China), Hoffman Estates, Ill. (July 10-11 versus Italy) and Wichita, Kan. (July 17-18 versus Netherlands).
For more information on World League, please visit USA Volleyball’s World League web site at http://volleyball.teamusa.org/event/event/573.
2009 Preliminary U.S. World League Roster
1 Matt Anderson (OH, 6-10, West Seneca, N.Y., Penn State)
2 Sean Rooney (OH, 6-9, Wheaton, Ill., Pepperdine)
3 Evan Patak (Opp, 6-8, Pleasanton, Calif., UC Santa Barbara)
4 David Lee (MB, 6-8, Alpine, Calif., Long Beach State)
5 Rich Lambourne (L, 6-3, Tustin, Calif., BYU)
6 Tyler Hildebrand (S, 6-5, Mesa, Ariz., Long Beach State)
7 Donald Suxho (S, 6-5, Korce, Albania, USC)
8 Andrew Hein (MB, 611, Carol Stream, Ill., Pepperdine)
9 Jonathan Winder (S, 6-8, Irvine, Calif., Pepperdine)
10 Riley Salmon (OH, 6-6, League City, Texas, Pierce College)
11 Brook Billings (Opp, 6-5, Santa Barbara, Calif., USC)
12 C Tom Hoff (MB, 6-8, Park Ridge, Ill., Long Beach State)
13 Clay Stanley (OPP, 6-9, Honolulu, Hawai'i, Hawai'i)
14 Kevin Hansen (S, 6-5, Newport Beach, Calif., Stanford)
15 Russell Holmes (MB, 6-8, Fountain Valley, Calif., BYU)
16 Jayson Jablonsky (OH, 6-5, Yorba Linda, Calif., UC Irvine)
17 Delano Thomas (MB, 6-7, Sacramento, Calif., Hawai'i)
18 Scott Touzinsky (OH, 6-6, St. Louis, Mo., Long Beach State)
19 Alfee Reft (L, 5-10, Oxnard, Calif., Hawai'i)
Paul Lotman (OH, 6-7, Lakewood, Calif., Long Beach State)
David Smith (MB, 6-7, Saugus, Calif., UC Irvine)
Robert Tarr (OH, 6-6, Cape Canaveral, Fla., Long Beach State)