USA Volleyball Contact: B.J. Hoeptner Evans, Communications Manager
Historic match-up between USA and Iran to promote friendship between the nations.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 30, 2014) – The Islamic Republic of Iran is coming to America to play volleyball for the first time.
The four friendly matches between the United States and Iran will promote good relations between the countries, but both teams will be fighting to come out on top of the men’s USA Volleyball Cup. Both Iran and America will be trying to gain an edge in the upcoming World Championships this August and September in Poland, where the two countries will share the same preliminary group.
Both teams are currently on the rise. The world’s top 28 teams competed in the FIVB World League Final on July 20 in Florence, Italy. The U.S. Men’s National Volleyball team won and Iran finished fourth, beating world #1 Brazil along the way.
The USA Volleyball Cup is the domestic showcase for the U.S. men’s and women’s national teams. It pits them against the best competition in the world each year here in America. The U.S. women defeated world No. 1 Brazil in four straight matches in Southern California and Hawaii in the women’s USA Volleyball Cup in July.
The upcoming men’s competition between the USA and Iran is as follows:
• On Aug. 9, at 7 p.m. at the Galen Center on the campus of the University of Southern California.
• On Aug. 13, at 7 p.m. at the Anaheim Convention Center.
• On Aug. 15, 7 p.m. at San Diego State University.
• On Aug. 16, they will face each other at 6 p.m. at Pauley Pavilion at UCLA – subject to the venue being ready for competition after the serious flooding on July 29 due to a broken nearby water main.
Among the U.S.A. players to watch will be Olympic gold medalists David Lee and Sean Rooney, Olympian Matt Anderson, and World League MVP Taylor Sander. Among the Iranian players to watch are Mir Saied Marouflakrani, who is the team captain and was named Best Setter of the FIVB World League. Other exceptional players include outside hitter Shahram Mahmoudi and middle blocker Mohammad Seyed, who were the team’s top scorers in the World League final round.
The U.S. men are ranked No. 4 in the world while Iran is ranked No. 11, but is the two-time Asian zonal champion. Last November, the U.S. Men lost to Iran at the 2013 FIVB Grand Champions Cup, 28-26, 19-25, 19-25, 27-25, 18-16. The United States has a 2-1 record against Iran since 1980.
“We are now watching Iran closely as their program seems to go from strength to strength,” said U.S. Men’s Head Coach John Speraw. “We can only benefit from playing this strong team. They have incredible depth and pose a real threat to us in the upcoming World Championships. This will be a real test for us.”