The 33-year-old veteran has been part of the USA men’s national team since 2008 and has been effective when deployed as an outside hitter or as an opposite. Even though his versatility is only possible because of his tremendous ability in several skills, Anderson believes it’s his mindset that makes him effective regardless of his position.
“My confidence is not necessarily in that I can spike, serve, dig or pass the ball,” he explained. “It’s the ability to want the ball in the big moments and to be comfortable with it and trust myself that I’ll make the right decision.”
Anderson joined the national team at an important moment, right after the Americans claimed the gold medal at the Beijing 2008 Olympics. He steadily grew his role until he became a key piece in the team that took fifth at the London Games with several members of the squad that had won gold in the Chinese capital.
The following Olympic cycle was considerably more successful for the Americans and Anderson played a pivotal role. He was voted the Most Valuable Player in their triumph at the 2015 FIVB Volleyball Men's World Cup and was a key element in their victory in the 2014 FIVB Volleyball World League and their bronze medal campaign at the Rio 2016 Games.
The USA made it to the semifinals in all major international competitions between 2017 and 2019 and Anderson was the best opposite of the 2017 FIVB Volleyball World Grand Champions Cup, of the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship and of the first two editions of the FIVB Volleyball Nations League – he was also the MVP of the tournament in 2019.
The American star has also enjoyed a successful career at the club level, especially during his seven-season stint with Russian giants Zenit Kazan, when the team won six editions of the Russian Cup and four of the Russian Superleague, Russian Super Cup and the European Champions League. The club also collected three medals at the FIVB Volleyball Men’s Club World Championship, including gold in the 2017 edition.
Look out for video featuring Matt Anderson across the FIVB's social media channels this week as we take a closer look at highlights from his career.