‘Starstruck’ Thompson reveling in Team USA experience

At 22 years old, Jordan Thompson still has a year remaining at the University of Cincinnati but is currently enjoying her debut tournament representing the Stars and Stripes in the FIVB Volleyball Nations League.

Thompson broke the 30-point barrier in USA’s victory over Brazil – the first American to do so this season in the tournament – and was surprised to reach the total.

“Honestly I had no idea that it was that many,” Thompson said. “I just took every swing one at a time and tried to find court for my team.

“Lauren [Carlini] set us up very well and our middles worked really hard to get all of us open by holding off the Brazilian middles. Altogether it was a great team effort.”

Thompson’s captain – and namesake – Jordan Larson joked that “she can do better” and revealed the behind-the-scenes struggles of being one of two Jordans on the team.

“I’ve never been with any other Jordan in the team and now we are two, and in practice we are like – Jordan, Jordan – which Jordan?” said Larson.

“She’s a great person and so fun to compete with, and with lots of energy. I’m really proud of her. The fact that she’s still in college is pretty impressive. She has a bright future.”

The horse-obsessed Bearcat has relished the opportunity to train alongside a number of seasoned professionals in the USA squad, including Larson, Kelsey Robinson, Annie Drews and Michelle Bartsch-Hackley and believes it will aid not just herself, but her college team for next season.

Great for me to get this exposure – Thompson

“This whole tournament has been a really great experience for me. It’s my first time playing international volleyball and to play in a tournament like this is such an honor to represent my country. I just feel really blessed.

“It’s really great for me to get this exposure. I still have one more year left in college and to be able to take the experience that I have and the new skills and tools that I’ve worked on here is not only going to help me, but also my team in Cincinnati.

“The first few weeks that I was in the USA gym and seeing the whole team, I just felt starstruck because you grow up watching these women and they are just amazing. You aspire to be like them and to be able to play beside them and learn from them is just an experience unlike any other.

“These girls really supported the three college girls in this trip and in this tournament. Annie Drews has been a huge help for me in this whole process. When I’m freaking out, she just helps me get back to the ground. She’s good at just giving me feedback and she really knows what I need. We’ve developed a good relationship.”