“Change is difficult, but also necessary,” – Tom Hoff
"With the squads announced for the 2013 edition of the FIVB Volleyball World League, it’s looking like it will be a great competition featuring a good mix of teams with young and experienced players as well as teams rebuilding for success.
I am looking forward to seeing Matt Anderson continue to improve his play and develop his leadership to have a greater influence on the team’s performance and other players’ performance. I’ve seen him as a young rookie at the gym, and thought very early on that he holds some very special physical abilities that could allow him to dictate outcomes of the matches at the highest level. I’m looking forward to seeing him mature into the game-changing player who will be dedicated to the USA team for a long time.
The US team will definitely face some hardships by not having Clay Stanley this year. He was a wildly efficient player and his absence is a significant loss at the international level. But with the change, the team will need to evolve and make do without Clay, leaving a terrific opportunity for younger guys to fill in.
“The World League is a compacted, intense grind of travel and training and it will be a challenge for both the younger USA team and coach John Speraw. There is so much 'rich Volleyball value' for his team to soak up every weekend, it is hard to manage without going overboard.”
“The overriding theme for Team USA is that change is difficult, but also necessary. The changes for the US team this year aren’t necessarily a bad thing, but it will be up to coach Speraw to sit back, rethink and move some pieces around to prepare the team for another run.”
“Another team to watch out for is Russia. I’ve played in Russia over the past couple of years and I think they have a great core group of players who have seasoned themselves in the Russian League as well at many recent FIVB tournaments. There’s a lot of high level volleyball going on in the country, and a good number of solid players, including some new names leading the court. I’m happy to see their success and believe that they will continue to move forward in the 2013 season.”
“I’m must admit that I am surprised with the static line up of players in the Brazilian team, even following their performance in last year’s edition of the World League where they failed to finish even in the top five. There are some really good players on the team, but if they don’t return to striving to become the best team, it could be a long couple years. I thought we might see even more wholesale changes to ensure their rich history of success.”
“I have a lot of respect for Argentina, for their players and their coach who is turning the team into a world class power house. With such a potent group of young guys who can perform with a high degree of excellent, they are well placed to disrupt the world ranks.”
“Cuba also has the ability to win, as long as the team remains intact. Their team is full of young, incredibly athletic athletes who have a lot of international experience for their age, which gives them a lot of confidence. And the scariest thing I see about them is that they are beginning to understand and play to their strengths and minimise their weaknesses. They are a wild card poised for success, and the US has to keep a close eye on them this season."
Tom Hoff was captain of the USA team that won gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and also helped his side clinch the 2008 FIVB Volleyball World League title as well as silver at the 2005 FIVB Volleyball World Grand Champions Cup. He has competed on the last three Olympic teams and more recently he was part of the USA coaching staff at the 2010 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship in Italy. He is currently retired from Volleyball and working for Predixion Software in addition to enjoying his post-volleyball time with his five daughters in Laguna Niguel, CA.
Other FIVB Blogs
Andrea Zorzi - Italy, Poland, Russia & Brazil picks for World League – Zorzi