FRANKFURT, Germany - Former University of California San Diego men's volleyball star Tanner Syftestad has signed his first professional contract to play for United Volleys Frankfurt in Germany.
United Volleys has placed third in the German Bundesliga in each of the past three seasons after earning promotion to the country's top division at the conclusion of the 2014-15 campaign. In addition to the league competition, United Volleys will participate for the first time in its history, in the European Volleyball Confederation (CEV) Champions League. It is the highest level of European club volleyball, showcasing its 60th edition. United Volleys were semifinalists in the 2016-17 CEV Cup. Their home venue in Frankfurt is Fraport Arena.
"It's a dream come true and something I've dreamed of since I was a freshman in high school," remarked Syftestad via text from Sacramento. "I couldn't have done it without UCSD."
Syftestad, who also spent some time training under USA Volleyball in Anaheim last month, expects to be heading to Germany on Aug. 8 or thereabouts. United Volleys begins CEV Champions League action Oct. 9-10, followed by the Bundesliga start on Oct. 13 on the road. Syftestad will be playing alongside three members of the German national team that won a silver medal at the 2017 European Championship in Poland, in Moritz Karlitzek, Tobias Krick and Julian Zenger.
Syftestad concluded his illustrious four-year UC San Diego career in April, becoming just the sixth Triton ever to reach 1000 career kills. The opposite hitter and three-year team captain left the program fifth in all-time kills (1213), tied for second in service aces (85), third in attacks (2965) and seventh in total blocks (244).
Syftestad laid claim to a number of program firsts in his senior year. On Jan. 8, he became the first Big West Conference Men's Volleyball Player of the Week, as the league began sponsoring the sport for the first time in 2018, with UC San Diego currently an associate member. Syftestad was later the first Triton student-athlete chosen to an All-Big West First Team, with most other UC San Diego sports set to join the Big West in the 2020-21 academic year. Finally, Syftestad was the program's first to earn any type of postseason recognition from the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA), picking up All-America honorable mention.
Syftestad led the nation for much of the 2018 season in kills (4.48), points (5.18) and attacks (10.02) per set, before finishing second in all three categories.
A 6-foot-8 Sacramento native, Syftestad spent his first year out of El Camino Fundamental High School at Chico State as a club volleyball player, before transferring to UC San Diego. He was Off the Block's Division II National Player of the Year for each of the past two seasons, with the leading online men's volleyball publication beginning that award in 2017.