By Paul D. Bowker | May 25, 2018, 12:01 a.m. (ET)
Thomas Jaeschke spikes the ball during the men's bronze-medal match at the Olympic Games Rio 2016 on Aug. 21, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.

 

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The U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team, which is ranked second in the world, has a long road trip to begin play in the inaugural season of the FIVB Volleyball Nations League.

The U.S. faces Argentina on Friday (4 a.m. ET) in the opener in Ningbo, China. The opening weekend also includes matches against Bulgaria on Saturday and China on Sunday.

League play consists of five weekends, three matches each week, including June 15-17 when the U.S. hosts Serbia, Poland and Iran in the Chicago suburb of Hoffman Estates, Illinois.

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The opening roster includes six 2016 Olympians: Taylor Sander, Thomas Jaeschke, Kawika Shoji, Erik Shoji, Max Holt and David Smith. Two-time Olympian Matt Anderson, and 2016 Olympic teammates Aaron Russell and Micah Christenson will join the team later; they finished up with their international clubs two weeks ago.

“We’re committed to making everybody better in the gym,” said head coach John Speraw. “We know if we make everybody better, we will be better in the end. This is a good opportunity to work with young guys and check on development.”

Paul D. Bowker is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.