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Olympians Carli Lloyd and Alisha Glass Childress Join Athletes Unlimited Volleyball

Athletes United added two Olympic names on Thursday for its second season, beginning next month.

U.S. Olympic volleyball players Carli Lloyd and Alisha Glass Childress are among 20 athletes that will join Athletes Unlimited‘s volleyball league for its second season, beginning March 16 in Dallas, the organization announced Thursday.

Both athletes earned bronze medals at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro as setters, with Lloyd being named the Most Valuable Player when Team USA won gold at the 2015 Pan Am Games.

Other notable newcomers include:

  • Middle Blocker Lauren Stivrins, who was selected to the NCAA Championships All-Tournament Team in 2017.
  • Middle Blocker Yizhi Xue, who plays professionally in China for Liaoning Huajun and Beijing BAIC Motor.
  • Outside Hitter Kalei Mau, a member of the Philippines National Team.
  • Setter Natalia Valentin-Anderson, the current captain of the Puerto Rico national team.
  • Outside Hitter Jamie Peterson, who was the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year in 2019, 2020 and 2021.
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Action will run for five weeks at Dallas’s Fair Park Coliseum. The broadcast partners will be the same as AU’s basketball league, with Fox Sports airing 12 live matches on Fox Sports 2 beginning with a doubleheader on March 18. CBS Sports Network will air seven matches, beginning with a twin bill on April 2. Bally Sports’ regional networks will air four matches, starting on March 16. Kevin Barnett, Heather Cox and Katie Carter will call the action.

“We are thrilled to host our second year of professional indoor women’s volleyball in Dallas and cannot wait to welcome fans to Fair Park Coliseum to watch 44 of the best players in the world,” AU’s CEO Jon Patricof said.

Top returning players for 2022 include Dominican Republic Olympian, Outside Hitter and 2021 AU volleyball runner-up Bethania De La Cruz, Outside Hitter and fifth-place finisher Karsta Lowe, Middle Blocker Taylor Sandbothe, and Outside Hitter Lindsay Stalzer. Live weekly drafts will be streamed on Athletes Unlimited‘s YouTube and Facebook pages every Sunday at 1 p.m. ET beginning March 13.

“I’m fired up to have the opportunity to stay in the U.S. and play again, especially within a league that has an emphasis on supporting not just the athlete but the whole person,” Lloyd said. “The fact that Athletes Unlimited has stood by me as a new mom coming back to compete has been very refreshing, and having this league as another option for professional volleyball players is exciting.”

Athletes Unlimited Volleyball Roster (as of February 24) 

MBAli Bastianelli36Illinois
SAlisha Glass ChildressPenn State
LAmanda BensonOregon
OHAury Cruz4Florida
OHBethania De La Cruz2
SCarli LloydCalifornia
OHCassidy Lichtman24Stanford
OHDeja McClendon6Penn State
MBEmmaline WillisDenver
OHErica Wilson29Arizona State
OHErin Fairs39Louisville
OHFalyn FonoimoanaUSC
LHana LishmanPepperdine
OHJamie PetersonDayton
MBJenna RosenthalMarquette
OHJordan Thompson34Cincinnati
OHKarsta Lowe5UCLA
SKaylee Manns17Iowa State
MBLauren StivrinsNebraska
OHLeah Edmond15Kentucky
MBLianna Sybeldon11Washington
OHLindsay Stalzer12Bradley
OHMadison VillinesKansas
MBMolly McCage22Texas
LMorgan HentzStanford
SNatalia Valentin-AndersonFIU
OHNaya CrittendenIllinois
OHNiki WithersUSC
OHNoami Santos-LambFlorida
LNomaris Vélez Agosto16Inter American
MBRachael FaraColorado
SRay SantosArkansas
MBRonika StoneOregon
OHSha’Dare McNealTexas
OPPSheilla Castro19
STaylor Bruns31South Carolina
OHTaylor FricanoNorth Carolina
MBTaylor Morgan13Minnesota
MBTaylor Sandbothe21Ohio State
OHTyler-Marie MauArizona
SValerie Nichol42Purdue
MBYizhi (Eri) XueLong Beach State

About The Author
Shlomo Sprung
Shlomo Sprung
Shlomo Sprung is a Senior Staff Writer at Boardroom. He has more than a decade of experience in journalism, with past work appearing in Forbes, MLB.com, Awful Announcing, and The Sporting News. He graduated from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 2011, and his Twitter and Spotify addictions are well under control. Just ask him.