Just like we did a few weeks ago with the women, we’re going to make it a whole lot easier for you to follow your favorite American professional volleyball players overseas by breaking down where you can see Team USA athletes in the 2019-20 CEV Champions League.
The men’s competition will kick off fourth-round, aka pool play, action on December 3, so you’ve got just enough time to get your bearings and then jump right in for a marathon tournament that goes all the way through to the SuperFinals in May.
Cucine Lube Civitanova (Italy)
Fenerbahce HDI Sigorta Istanbul (Turkey)
Jihostroj Ceske Budejovice (Czech Republic)
Trentino Itas (Italy)
Former Penn Stater Aaron Russell is your man in Pool A. Playing for Trentino of Italy’s Serie A, the outside hitter is the only American among the four teams.
In his fifth pro season, Russell signed on for another year with Trentino after leading his team to a FIVB Men’s Club World Championship title where he was named MVP during 2018-19.
Trentino did not compete in Champions League last year, but in its history, the club has won three gold medals, a silver, and a bronze, with the most recent podium finish coming in 2016. Russell won Champions League gold in 2017-18 with Sir Sicoma Colussi Perugia.
Upcoming Pool A Matches
Fenerbahce vs. Jihostroj | Dec. 5, 2019
Jihostroj vs. Lube | Dec. 12, 2019
Trentino vs. Fenerbahce | Dec. 12, 2019
Fenerbahce vs. Lube | Dec. 19, 2019
Trentino vs. Jihostroj | Dec. 19, 2019
ACH Volley Ljubljana (Slovenia)
Berlin Recycling Volleys (Germany)
Fakel Novy Urengoy (Russia)
Kuzbass Kemerovo (Russia)
National team backup libero Kyle Dagostino is with Ljubljana in Slovenia this season, his first playing pro overseas after graduating from Stanford in the spring.
For the second season in a row, Berlin Recycling Volleys serves as home for more American men than any other team around the world. Middle Jeff Jendryk and opposite Ben Patch return for a second season, while Cody Kessel, JT Hatch, and Kyle Ensing all joined the party too. Hatch is in just his second pro season after graduating from UCLA in 2018 and playing in Qatar last season, and Ensing is in his first year overseas, having just graduated from Long Beach State in the spring and playing all summer with the national team.
But those aren’t the only Americans in Pool B! Fakel Novy Urengoy, a team from Siberia, features national team libero Erik Shoji, celebrating his second season with Fakel, which finished third in the Russia league last year.
Upcoming Pool B Matches
Kemerovo vs. Fakel Novy | Dec. 4, 2019
Berlin vs. Ljubljana | Dec. 3, 2019
Ljubljana vs. Kemerovo | Dec. 11, 2019
Fakel Novy vs. Berlin | Dec. 11, 2019
Berlin vs. Kemerovo | Dec. 18, 2019
Halkbank Ankara (Turkey)
Jastrzębski Węgiel (Poland)
VC Greenyard Maaseik (Belgium)
Zenit Kazan (Russia)
Team USA all-star Matt Anderson called Zenit Kazan home for seven years, but in the offseason he chose to sign a new contract with Modena of the Italian league, meaning there are exactly zero Americans in Pool C.
Upcoming Pool C Matches
Halkbank vs. VC Greenyard | Dec. 4, 2019
VC Greenyard vs. Zenit Kazan | Dec. 11, 2019
Jastrzębski vs. VC Greenyard | Dec. 19, 2019
Sir Sicoma Monini Perugia (Italy)
Tours VB (France)
Verva Warszawa Orlen Paliwa (Poland)
The final team in Pool D will be determined by third-round action between qualifier teams, none of which have Americans on their rosters.
In fact, among the Pool D squads there’s only one American athlete: Price Jarmon, who is playing with Tours. The 6-9 middle blocker graduated from BYU in 2018 and played his first pro season in Brazil with Volei Um Itapetininga.
Upcoming Pool D Matches
Perugia vs. TBD | Dec. 4, 2019
Verva vs. Tours | Dec. 4, 2019
Tours vs. Perugia | Dec. 11, 2019
Verva vs. Perugia | Dec. 17, 2019
Knack Roeselare (Belgium)
VfB Friedrichshafen (Germany)
Zaska Fedzierzyn-Kozle (Poland)
Once again, the remaining third-round matches will determine the final team in Pool E, but regardless of the outcome, it won’t add any American athletes to the equation.
On the Knack Roeselare roster, however, you’ll find Joseph Norman, a former SUNY New Paltz standout. The 6-9 opposite helped New Paltz win a DIII national championship in 2016, his only semester with the team after being a member of the George Mason team in 2013, before joining Mladost Ribola Kastela, a professional team in Croatia. This is his first season with Knack.
Then there's Brendan Schmidt and Joe Worsley with VfB Friedrichshafen and Zaksa featuring David Smith. Former McKendree middle blocker Schmidt has represented USA at the Pan Am Cup the past two years and is in his second pro season, transferring to Friedrichshafen from Dinamo București in Romania. Former Hawaii setter Worsley just graduated in the spring and this is his first professional assignment.
David Smith joined Zaska for 2019-20, marking his fourth Polish pro team in four years. Last year, the veteran Team USA middle played for Asseco Resovia, but Zaska is the reigning winner of the Polish Cup, Polish SuperCup, and league championship.
Upcoming Pool E Matches
Zaska vs. TBD | Dec. 3, 2019
Friedrichshafen vs. Roeselare | Dec. 4, 2019
Roeselare vs. Zaska | Dec. 10, 2019
Friedrichshafen vs. Zaska | Dec. 18, 2019