Matt Anderson, a graduate of West Seneca West, made his Olympic volleyball debut at the 2012 London Games. His father had passed away two years prior.
M. Anderson Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
Anderson’s son, who he named after him, was not yet born when he won bronze with Team USA in 2016.
With the 2020 Tokyo Olympics being postponed by a year due to the Covid-19 epidemic, Anderson has had a lot of time to contemplate the future.
Not to Mention how he has much more to do.
“I’m still having a lot of fun,” Anderson stated during the April Team USA Media Summit. It has meant a lot to me to be able to share this experience with my loved ones, and I expect to give the Paris 2024 Olympics my all. In three years, we will have it.
In a few of weeks, I will be turning 34. Who can say then? But at the moment, that is my objective. And perhaps Los Angeles in 2028.”
Anderson has been Regarded as one of the World’s Greatest male Indoor Volleyball Players for the Past Ten Years.
The 6-foot-10 outside hitter/opposite has been an integral part of the U.S. Men’s National Team since 2008, the same year he led Penn State to an NCAA title. Since 2011, he has also been the team’s highest scorer. With professional success in Russia, Korea, Italy, and China, he has been crowned USA Volleyball’s male indoor player of the year six times.
Anderson is an invaluable member of Squad USA because of his lifelong support and advocacy for mental health, which has led him to take steps like leaving his Russian team in 2014 and coming back to the U.S. from China earlier than expected this year.
In a recent phone interview with The Buffalo News, USA volleyball coach John Speraw said, “Matt has always been exceptionally mature.
However, I think each of our players goes through some process of personal growth and self-awareness and challenges, and Matt has and has spoken about it eloquently, and I think in a lot of ways speaks for a large percentage of athletes who also struggle at different times in their path that largely remain silent.”
That, I believe, has been a chance for Matt to take the lead.
It takes courage to recognise weaknesses, but I believe that by talking about his struggles, he is giving voice to an experience that many athletes share.
After guiding Zenit Kazan to the title of the Russian Volleyball Super League and MVP honours, Anderson decided to leave his professional squad in 2014.
His father’s birth date and the day he passed away in 2010 are tattooed on his right ribcage, along with a family crest, and he moved home to Western New York since he missed his family and was still grieving Mike’s death.
Anderson’s professional season in Italy in 2020 was cut short by the pandemic, so he moved back to Indianapolis with his then-fiancée Jacquelyn and their 6-week-old kid Michael James (they called him “Jamie” after Jamie’s late father).
According to Anderson, “Eventually I went over to my pro team for the following season in Shanghai, and had some mental health concerns where I decided to break away from the game again, much like what I did in the previous season in Beijing” (2014).
Having gone through that in 2014, I was able to bounce back well and position myself to try out for the (U.S. national) squad the following year.
Anderson, according to Speraw, possesses outstanding physical gifts in addition to his great character, dedication to his craft, and professionalism.
“He’s got a tremendous arm, he’s big, he jumps well,” Speraw added. He’s a one-of-a-kind figure in U.S. history. I don’t think we’ve ever had a player quite like Matt because of his size and abilities. A huge guy with a fluid arm like that doesn’t come along very often, and he has that skill.
“He bears a significant offensive load for us, because when we are in difficulties, we set him a ball that the whole world knows is going to him and he finds a way to kill it.”
The U.S. Men’s National Team finished the FIVB Volleyball Nations League tournament in Italy in June with an 8-7 record and a tournament-clinching sweep of Japan.
It gave Americans a taste of what to Expect at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
For our purposes, it was a win. That’s a great thing we accomplished, and I’m happy we did it. Speraw believes that this experience has strengthened the team.
“I think it’s safe to say that (our training for the Olympics was) shorter than any of us would have desired. This summer has felt much shorter than usual.
Gather your comrades, put in a couple of weeks of training, travel to VNL, return home, put in another couple of weeks of training, and before you know it, you’re in Tokyo!
When we take the court for our first Olympic match after being away for a few of years and of course going through some injuries and things, I’m going to probably wish we had more time. We don’t, however.
We’re going to rely on the time we’ve spent together over the years, as well as what we know about ourselves and how we play the game, and then go out and give it our all for Team USA.
Speraw doubts that Anderson will be able to maintain his level of performance for another decade and compete in the next two Olympics, giving him a total of five for his career.
Sergey Tetyukhin, a former Russian men’s volleyball player who retired at age 40 in 2016, holds the record for most Olympic appearances in a single sport with six.
Only Andrea Giani of Italy, Mauricio Lima of Brazil, and Reinder Nummerdor of the Netherlands are the only men’s volleyball players to have competed in five Olympic Games.
Speraw, though, cited the example of Tom Brady continuing to play in the NFL well into his 40s and added that with the progress made in sports science, he wouldn’t rule out Anderson’s return to the league.
Speraw believes that “if anybody could accomplish it, he could” because of his professionalism and dedication to doing things properly. Matt Anderson, in his current position, is the only person who could possibly keep this train running all the way to Los Angeles.