ANAHEIM, Calif. (May 7, 2018) – The U.S. Men’s National Team has chosen its 26-man preliminary roster for the inaugural 2018 FIVB Volleyball Nations League (VNL).

The roster will be cut to 21 by May 15. Coaches can choose the 14-man travel team each weekend from the pool of 21.

This is the first year of the Volleyball Nations League, which will include 12 core teams and four challenger teams battling for five weekends in a round robin format. The top five teams and the host country of France will compete in the Final Round on July 4-8 in Lille, France.

Nine Olympians return for the 2018 VNL: Opposite Matt Anderson, outside hitters Taylor Sander, Aaron Russell and Thomas Jaeschke, setters Micah Christenson and Kawika Shoji, middle blockers Max Holt and David Smith and libero Erik Shoji.

There are two sets of brothers on the preliminary roster: Olympians Erik and Kawika Shoji and Taylor and Brenden Sander. Taylor Sander is a 2016 Olympian. Brenden Sander recently graduated from BYU.

Three players on the roster have another year of college volleyball to play: T.J. DeFalco, Kyle Ensing and David Wieczorek. DeFalco and Ensing recently won the NCAA Men’s National Championship with Long Beach State. Wieczorek plays for Pepperdine.

The U.S. Men are ranked No. 2 in the world and will host the VNL on June 15-17 at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill. – BUY TICKETS – The U.S. Men will play Serbia on June 15, Poland on June 16 and Iran on June 17. Three players on the preliminary roster are from the Chicago area: Jaeschke and Jeff Jendryk are from Wheaton, Ill. Wieczorek is from Chicago.

2018 FIVB Volleyball Nations League

U.S. Men’s Preliminary Roster

1. Matt Anderson (Opp, 6-9, West Seneca, N.Y., Penn State)
2. Aaron Russell (OH, 6-9, Ellicott City, Md., Penn State)
3. Taylor Sander (OH, 6-4, Huntington Beach, Calif., BYU)
4. Jeff Jendryk (MB, 6-10, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola of Chicago)
5. James Shaw (S, 6-8, Woodside, Calif., Stanford)
6. Mitch Stahl (MB, 6-8, Chambersburg, Pa., UCLA)
7. Kawika Shoji (S, 6-3, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)
8. T.J. DeFalco (OH, 6-5, Huntington Beach, Calif., Long Beach State)
9. Carson Clark (Opp, 6-6, Santa Barbara, Calif., UC Irvine)
10. Dan McDonnell (MB, 6-6, Phoenix, Ariz., UC Irvine)
11. Micah Christenson (S, 6-6, Honolulu, Southern California)
12. Max Holt (MB, 6-10, Cincinnati, Ohio, Penn State)
13. Ben Patch (Opp, 6-8, Provo, Utah, BYU)
14. David Wieczorek (Opp, 6-8, Chicago, Ill., Pepperdine)
15. Brenden Sander (OH, 6-4, Huntington Beach, Calif., BYU)
16. Jayson Jablonsky (OH, 6-6, Yorba Linda, Calif., UC Irvine)
17. Thomas Jaeschke (OH, 6-6, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola)
18. Jake Langlois (OH, 6-10, San Jose, Calif., BYU)
19. Taylor Averill (MB, 6-7, San Jose, Calif., Hawaii)
20C. David Smith (MB, 6-7, Saugus, Calif., UC Irvine)
21. Dustin Watten (L, 6-0, Long Beach, Calif., Long Beach State)
22. Erik Shoji (L, 6-0, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)
23. Jonah Seif (S, 6-6, Thousand Oaks, Calif., UC Santa Barbara)
24. Michael Brinkley (L, 5-10, Huntington Beach, Calif., UC Irvine)
25. Miles Johnson (Opp, 6-6, Carlsbad, Calif., Ohio State)
26. Kyle Ensing (Opp, 6-7, Valencia, Calif., Long Beach State)

Head Coach: John Speraw
Team Manager: Andrea Becker
Assistant Coaches: Rob Neilson and Brian Thornton
Technical Coordinator: Nate Ngo
Athletic Trainer: Aaron Brock
Team Doctor: William Stetson

May 25-27: China, Bulgaria, Argentina in China
June 1-3: Brazil, Japan Korea in Brazil
June 8-10: Canada, Germany, Australia in Canada
June 15-17: Serbia, Poland, Iran – TICKETS in Hoffman Estates, Ill.
June 22-24: Italy, Russia, France in Italy