USA Women's NT 2023

  • thanks!
    I am also fairly sure foluke doesn't live in California so I don't think it's her. I'm really trying to think about who it could be because most the players are overseas correct? Possibly Larson...?

    the article says the medals are from 12, 16, and 21, so that really leaves only Larson and Foluke

    and doesn't Larson live in the midwest?

  • thanks!
    I am also fairly sure foluke doesn't live in California so I don't think it's her. I'm really trying to think about who it could be because most the players are overseas correct? Possibly Larson...?

    I thought Foluke did?

    Either way it’s not Jordan. She’s is Nebraska now with her medals (she’s had some photo things with them)

  • so reading through, some key points

    60,000 starting wage + bonuses, NBA ownership group, NFL player parnter (Trent Dilfer, Tori's dad), 8-10 teams in season one, 16 games from february to may with playoffs after... traditional play (lol AU shade)... major market teams/ownership groups...

    honestly it all sounds good.... but where's the catch :rolll::rolll:

    the starting wage is huge... that's definitely enough to keep players here from the German/French/Italian leagues (Not the top players, but the "depth" players)

  • Hmm. Yea. That starting salary is high for the bench players.

    I agree that AU seem to have tried too hard to make it interesting ("not like the other leagues thing"). They changed too much and the lack of permanent teams to root for made it like special games only and not a serious league.

  • I forgot her sister got hurt last month too.... pain. (she was having a good NCAA season too)


    I didn't know she's already back to the states. Wish her a speedy recovery and a strong comeback.

  • The Omaha World-Herald ran a story about Larson

    It’s hard to keep secrets in a small town, but Paul Giesselmann did his best.

    The NAIA volleyball coach arrived at the gym early on that September afternoon, accompanied by his star attraction. They hid out in a Midland University conference room until Giesselmann’s nationally ranked team arrived for practice.

    Players chatted and laughed through warmups, smashing volleyballs off the floor. Coach listened to the noise, waiting backstage like a rock band before the show. Finally, Giesselmann walked out ... alongside the Olympic gold medalist who grew up 15 minutes away.

    “As soon as they saw Jordan walk around the corner, dead silence,” Giesselmann said.

    You should’ve seen the look on their 20-year-old faces when Coach stated that Jordan Larson, hero of the 2021 Summer Games, was their new volunteer assistant. Giesselmann sacrificed a good 20 minutes of productivity as players shuffled around, awestruck.

    Larson’s surprising return to Nebraska this fall stirred commotion from volleyball gyms to rotary clubs to putting greens. Whoa, that’s really her.

    The most accomplished American volleyball player ever. The Team USA captain and tournament MVP of the Tokyo Olympics. The greatest female athlete in Nebraska history.

    Today the NCAA volleyball Final Four returns to the same arena where the girl from little Hooper helped Nebraska win a national title in 2006. This weekend might have been a celebration of Larson’s career. But two weeks ago, Larson boarded a plane for Italy, where she’ll play another season professionally in search of competition, closure and — most important — her future direction.

    After a year of soul-searching, the 36-year-old confronts a persistent question: When you accomplish your dreams, what’s next?

    “I ask myself that every day,” Larson said.

    Larson remembers Mom’s kitchen TV. Old, white, rotating on the counter. The ugliest little TV you’ve ever seen. It was always playing, even during family dinners.

    On that TV in 1996, Larson remembers watching the Summer Olympics with “wide-eyed hope.” Initially Jordan envisioned herself as a medal-winning gymnast. But gymnasts don’t grow to 6-foot-2. So Larson modified the dream.

    Volleyball! Her burgeoning talent lured college coaches to Hooper, a town of 800 people, give or take a couple houses.

    “I’ll never forget the time she asked me to come up to one of her high school matches,” Nebraska coach John Cook once said. “She stayed after and shook everybody at that gym’s hand. I thought, ‘Here’s someone pretty special.’”

    By local standards, Larson was the best player anyone had ever seen. But on the national circuit, Jordan saw girls with bigger swings. Bigger vertical jumps. Maybe it was small-town inferiority complex, but Larson always wondered: Am I good enough?

    “It almost gave me this fuel to feed off of,” she said. “And to prove people wrong. To have this underlying edge. I’m grateful for that. But it’s obviously created a little bit of doubt and a confidence thing over the years.”

    Larson chose the Huskers and proved herself, earning All-America three times. In December 2006, Omaha’s debut as Final Four host, the season culminated with a Husker pep rally. Guess who delivered the final kill on match point?

    “I can't believe I got the last set,” Larson said then. "I just wanted to go out swinging."

    After college, she made the national team and played professionally in Puerto Rico, Russia, Turkey, China and Italy. Her all-around game made her indispensable.

    “Her ball control and defense was the best in the world,” Giesselmann said. “Combine that with three other things that really separate her:

    “One, her knowledge of how to win. Two, her ability to just elevate everybody around her. And the last thing: There’s a lot of great players, but the ones that succeed at the highest level perform in the biggest moment. They’re not afraid.”

    Larson and Team USA grabbed silver medals in 2012, then bronze in 2016. She committed to one more run and, despite a one-year delay for COVID-19, Larson stood on the brink in Tokyo.

    The day of the gold-medal match, en route to the arena, she did something totally unlike Jordan. She sobbed.

    “What are you doing?” best friend and teammate Foluke Akinradewo asked her. “We are about to play the biggest match of our life.”

    A few hours later, the Americans dominated Brazil. On match point, the player who prefers craft over force — rarely hitting a ball as hard as she can — reminded herself again: Swing away.

    When Larson’s final kill hit the floor, she collapsed to her knees and buried her head in her hands.

    “I cried more in the last 24 hours than I think I have in my career,” she said afterward. “I'm not an emotional player, an emotional person. But I think the emotions got the best of me.”

    She could’ve bid farewell right there. Retired with gold draped from her neck, as several teammates did. Something "in my gut" wasn't quite ready, Larson said.

    She returned home and got married. Then she played one more professional season in China. From there, Larson expected to retire at 35. In January, Texas hired Larson as an assistant coach. A few months later, her husband joined her on Jerritt Elliott’s staff, where he remains as UT’s associate head coach.

    Larson's life took an unexpected turn. In August, she left Texas and moved back to Nebraska, with a blank slate and a lingering question.

    “Normal life,” Larson said. “What does that look like?”

    For years, she built life around the next workout, the next game, the next goal. In Nebraska, she experienced a new sense of flexibility.

    She attended birthday parties and Friday night dinners. She said yes to speaking requests. She taught at volleyball clinics. She played golf almost every Friday.

    When a friend asked, “Hey, you want to come to Canada?,” Larson actually said yes. “I haven’t had freedom to do that. Ever!”

    The hardest part of traveling the world all those years? Knowing what she missed.

    “Family and friends have had to take a backseat. It’s bittersweet at times. I’ve done a lot. It’s something to be celebrated. But it’s come with a price tag.”

    Larson regrets not spending more time with her mom before she died in 2009. That was Jordan’s first year on the national team.

    She missed starting adult life with her friends, too.

    “All their kids are 10 and 12. I feel like I’ve been to a few of their events. It’s hard to see that and not be able to be in it with them.”

    She can’t go back. But she can look ahead. That’s the exciting part. The daunting part, too.

    Maybe the future is coaching. She assisted at Midland, with her old friend and mentor, Giesselmann. She helped at Elkhorn North, too.

    “I’ve been doing this for over 30 years at every level, including Division I,” Giesselmann said. “If Jordan chose to do college coaching full-time, she would be phenomenal.”

    Maybe she’ll write a book. Or create a platform to train and mentor young athletes. She thinks back on her childhood kitchen, watching the ’96 Olympics on the little white TV. She wants to help the next generation.

    “How can I give? Because I’ve received so much.”

    Sometimes she feels like she should already know what to do next. You’re a gold medalist, she thinks, figure it out! But translating her unusual life experience into expertise isn’t that easy.

    “There’s times where I feel very overwhelmed because I think that I do have a ton of opportunity. How do I know what’s the right move?”

    Over and over, Larson keeps coming back to the same word. Grace. That’s what she needs to give herself. “I have to remember that I didn’t go from 12-year-old Jordan to being an Olympic gold medalist overnight.”

    LeBron James is pushing 38. Serena Williams exceeded 40. Tom Brady is still going at 45.

    So why can’t a 36-year-old Olympic tournament MVP keep competing, too?

    Back in September, amid her home-state public appearances, volunteer duties and golf rounds, Larson felt the pang in her gut. She texted her agent: Do I still have a contract offer?

    Of course she did. Larson returns to professional volleyball this winter with a new mission: Savor it.

    For years, she felt the constant urge to keep pushing. Keep improving. “On to the next, on to the next,” she said. Now, “there’s a sense of calm and peace.”

    She’s trying to give herself permission to skip a few workouts and go sightseeing instead. Travel Europe. Have dessert. Nobody can tell her she isn’t good enough. If Larson doesn’t meet her internal standard of Olympic champion every day, that’s OK. Just play.

    Meanwhile, the soul-searching continues. What drives her? What’s next?

    She's preparing for setbacks and mistakes. Maybe changing course a couple times, too. "But I've been learning that skill for the last 20 years through volleyball."

    She can fall back on an old lesson. When it comes time for match point, swing away.