COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Oct. 26, 2016) – When we last saw Reid Priddy playing indoor volleyball, he was leading the U.S. Men’s National Team’s comeback from an 0-2 deficit against Russia in the bronze medal match of the 2016 Olympic Games.
The four-time Olympian and 2008 gold medalist no longer plays indoor volleyball, but he also hasn’t retired. Instead, he is on the beach hoping to make it to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. He played on the AVP Tour over the summer and is currently in Brazil playing on its domestic beach tour with Olympian Ricardo Santos.
We talked to Priddy about retirement and his next step:
1. Why did you retire from indoor volleyball?
RP: I retired because it became clear that it was the right time for my family, as a whole. The life of a professional indoor player and National Team member is very demanding, and not just on the athlete but also on the family as well. The schedule is year-round and very inflexible. We did it for 16 years. My final season abroad was in Civitanova, Italy playing for the club Lube. The infrastructure was really good; great facility, great supporting staff, doc, trainer, fan base, etc. I remember thinking, 'I could play here another four years.’ But meanwhile, my wife was there in a small town in Italy with no help and two very young kids and didn't speak the language. It was time to shift our lifestyle and give my family a more consistent life where it could be more focused on them and their needs and dreams not just mine.
2. What appeals to you about beach volleyball?
RP: I was first exposed to indoor volleyball when I was 15; but right away, we played just as much beach as we did indoor. In fact, beach was on TV every week. At that time, there were more than 20 tournaments a year and I would always tune in on Sunday afternoons and watch the AVP. The indoor National Team wasn't even on my radar because I had no exposure to it early on. So returning to the beach has always been on my mind.
3. What is your favorite memory with U.S. Men's Team?
RP: I have so many great memories!
Two come to mind:
a. The night after winning the semifinal in 2008 against Russia at the Olympic Games in Beijing. I was walking into the village with my longtime National Team road trip roommate Ryan Millar, and we were so excited just knowing we were going to have a shot at the gold medal! That realization was almost more exciting than the moment we actually won it (although that was AMAZING ALSO).
b. Another moment that stands out was the moment Matt Anderson put the ball away for match point in Rio last year. When that ball went down and it sealed our bronze-medal victory, I locked eyes with Micah Christenson and we hugged. Then we were surrounded by all the guys in a giant team hug. There was so much emotion at that moment and we were in it together and it accentuated the point that life is about relationships and shared experiences, not accomplishments. I was much older than the majority of those guys and it was a struggle to learn how to adapt to their culture. But in the end, we became great friends and are still connected today. The relationships and camaraderie is what I miss most today!
4. What was your greatest challenge
RP: My greatest challenge was clearly coming back from double knee surgery at 36-years-old in a gym that was loaded with young talent. That was an uphill climb and I went through a lot of hard work and humbling moments. But it was that struggle that enabled me to come back stronger and appreciate the journey at the end even more!
I played on the National Team for four quads. Most athletes identify with their alma maters. For me, that was my life for so long, a piece of me will always be with that team and rooting them on from wherever I am in the world!
You can keep up with Reid’s new ventures, The Beach Hack: Road to Tokyo on his Facebook page and on the web site maxpotential.zone.
Outside hitter Aaron Russell, setter James Shaw and Sir Safety Conad Perugia have yet to lose a set in Italy’s Serie A league. On Oct. 22, Perugia beat Calzedonia Verona and U.S. outside hitter Thomas Jaeschke, 25-16, 25-21, 25-19.
Russell scored 10 points on eight kills and two aces. Shaw played as a substitute and scored three points on two kills and one block. Jaeschke totaled six points on five kills and one block.
On Oct. 25, Perugia beat Wixo LPR Piacenza, 25-22, 25-24, 25-22. Russell was named match MVP after scoring 11 points on 10 kills and one ace. He was also credited with 11 receptions, 55 percent positive. Shaw played as a substitute.
Middle blocker Max Holt and Azimut Modena swept both their matches last week. On Oct. 22, Modena beat Biosi Indexa Sora, including Americans Kupono Fey and Mitch Penning, 25-22, 25-23, 25-22. Holt scored seven points on four kills and three blocks. American Jennings Franciskovic is on Modena’s roster but did not play. Penning and Fey each played as substitutes and started the third set.
Modena defeated setter Kawika Shoji, outside hitter Jake Langlois and Gi Group Monza on Oct. 25, 25-22, 25-14, 25-19. Holt was named match MVP, scoring eight points on six kills and two blocks. Shoji scored two points on two kills and set his team to a .375 hitting efficiency. Shoji scored two points on two kills while Langlois started the third set and scored eight points on eight kills.
Monza also fell to middle blocker Taylor Averill and Revivre Milano on Oct. 22, 25-20, 25-23, 20-25, 25-21. Averill scored eight points on five kills and a match-high three blocks. Shoji scored two points and set Monza to a .349 hitting efficiency.
Libero Erik Shoji and Taiwan Excellence Latina got their first victory on Oct. 25, beating Sora, 25-15, 25-13, 19-25, 23-25, 15-9. Shoji was credited with 19 receptions, 74 percent positive. For Sora, Fey started the final four sets and scored seven points on seven kills. Penning played as a substitute.
Opposite Ben Patch and Tonno Callipo Calabria Vibo Valentia have lost two straight matches. On Oct. 22, Vibo Valentia fell to Piacenza, 23-25, 25-20, 25-23, 24-26, 15-10. Patch scored 13 points on 12 kills and one block. On Oct. 22, Valentia lost to Kione Padova, 25-23, 25-13, 25-20.
Outside hitter Matt Anderson scored four points on four kills as Zenit Kazan beat Kuzbass Kemerovo, 25-22, 28-26, 25-21 on Oct. 22.
Middle blocker David Smith and Aluron Virtu Warta Zawier got their first win of the season over Indykpol AZS Olsztyn, 21-25, 23-25, 25-18, 26-24, 16-14 on Oct. 21. Smith scored nine points on eight kills and one block.
Middle blocker Dan McDonnell and Trefl Gdansk beat setter Jonah Seif and MKS Bedzin, 25-23, 25-18, 25-21 on Oct. 23. McDonnell started the third set and scored two points on two blocks.
Middle blocker Mitch Stahl and Paris beat setter Michael Saeta and Chaumont, 25-20, 25-23, 14-25, 25-27, 15-13 on Oct. 22. Stahl scored five points on three kills, one block and one ace. Saeta played as a substitute.
Outside hitter Greg Petty, who was playing for Rennes 35 Volley, suffered a knee injury during his team’s match against Paris on Oct. 15 and said in an Instagram post that he is done for the season.