DALLAS (AP) — U.S. Olympic champion Jordan Larson is among the players expected to return to Dallas for the second year of a unique player-controlled pro volleyball league in 2022.
Athletes Unlimited said Monday the league’s five-week season will start in March at the same venue where last year’s debut was held after the event was moved from Nashville, Tennessee, because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Fans will be allowed to attend in the second year after the inaugural season was played without spectators at Fair Park Coliseum, near downtown Dallas.
Larson was Olympic MVP and captain of the first U.S. women’s volleyball team to capture gold with a victory over Brazil at the Tokyo Games this past summer.
Sheilla Castro of Brazil, a two-time Olympic champion, is returning along with Larson, who was the champion of the inaugural league in which standings are tracked for individuals as the teams change each week.
The league said 24 of the 44 players expected to compete have signed. Other returning players include the Puerto Rican pair of Nomaris Vélez Agosto and Aury Cruz. Cruz finished fourth in the inaugural season.
Morgan Hentz, a three-time NCAA champion at Stanford, is among the newcomers along with Nootsara Tomkom of Thailand.
Athletes Unlimited players are in charge of drafting new teams each week and have a say in uniforms and TV deals. There are potential bonuses with salaries and a long-term plan for the players to share in league profits.