Team USA’s current captain David Smith had a brilliant year in 2017. After leading Team USA to respectable efforts in the FIVB Grand Prix and Grand Champions Cup, he was chosen by USAV as the USA Volleyball Indoor Male Player of the Year. At the domestic level, he is leading a very young, recently formed, Zawiercie squad in Poland’s PlusLiga. The great improvement in his performance from last year, called the attention on the Polish media, which interviewed Smith and asked him how this season is different from others in his career (Siatka.org):
“My improvement consists of different factors. At Zawiercie I have a different role, I have more responsibility here than in Radom, more often I am the first attack option. Also, it’s my second PlusLiga season, so I’m richer with knowledge and experience. Thanks to this, I also feel more comfortable. When I came to Poland after five years spent in France, I had to switch to a completely different style of play. Now I know how things look. The more experience I have, the more confident I feel. I do not have to over analyze things now, I just go out and play. Usually, the second part of the season is much better for than the first in terms of performance, because I have had the opportunity to learn the specificity of my rivals. I saw all the players and attackers, I was able to observe certain patterns and thanks to that I know where the ball willd probably be sent at any given moment. Of course, there are very good volleyball players in PlusLiga, so there is no way I can guess their intentions every time.
One of the reasons why I decided to join Zawieercie was that the team is a newcomer, but with great potential, where everyone wanted to prove something. The atmosphere is completely different than in Radom – neither worse nor better, just different. I really like it here, thanks to the fact that we were not afraid of hard work, we managed to achieve a lot. The important thing is that although it was the debut season for Zawiercie in PlusLiga, a really professional club was created. The first matches were a brutal clash with reality, but we really showed, above all that we can fight against even the strongest teams. At the beginning we were losing 0: 3, but later we managed to beat Indykpol AZS Olsztyn or Asseco Resovia Rzeszów 3: 2. We proved our attitude, that you can not underestimate us and it was a really cool experience. Of course, we are still not mature and experienced enough, because one day we can play a great match, and then later lose with some difficulty. These are definitely goals to be achieved – to become more stable. That’s exactly what I wanted to show and teach my teammates – that everyday work brings results.”
Zawiercie currently sports an 8-17 record and is almost a lock to escape relegation this season. If it indeed does so, then Smith would have done his mission with the club. Team USA can only win with its middle blocker’s recent development.