With the recruitment of American passing runner Cole Gillis, Groningen’s volleyball team Samen Lycurgus has almost completed its selection for next season.
The 22-year-old American comes from UC Irvine in California, where he played the past four seasons. Gillis prides himself on being able to play volleyball for Lycurgus in the Premier League. “My parents played volleyball,” he says. “It’s an important part of our family culture. I am now the first in the family to play volleyball professionally. It means a lot to me to be able to represent my family in this way.”
Gillis sees himself primarily as a power player. I always stay calm and play with my head. Keeping my head together is important. I want to reach the highest possible level in volleyball and keep it as long as possible. Last season, Gillis missed just one set in 27 matches.
Cole Gillis meets friend Kyle McCauley
The American passer-by hails from the same university as Joel Schneidmiller, who played for Lycurgus in the 2021/2022 season. In addition to Schneidmiller, Gillis also knows Kyle McCauley, who signed with multiple national champions Groningen. The two players advise him to come to Lycurgus. Both told me it was an excellent place to play with a combination of a beautiful city and the chance to play volleyball full time at a good level. I see it as a great opportunity to start my career abroad at Lycurgus. And I’m really excited to be able to play with Kyle next season. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Gillis, who has a height of 1.96 meters, was born in San Jose, California. He started playing volleyball at the age of 11 at the Mountain View Volleyball Club in Sunnyvale. He then attended Branham High School, where he was named Athlete of the Year in 2019. He then won the championship in the national junior competition, in which he took silver in 2015 and finished third in 2017.
Coach Arjan Taij: Cole adds something
Lycurgus’ tech team has been watching Gillies for some time. ‘He’s been on our list for quite some time,’ says trainer Arjan Taig. Cole played mainly as a sprinter, but due to injuries he was also on the varsity team as a catcher. It is someone who adds something more appropriately and defensively. Gillis is a complete player with excellent offensive numbers last season, and has ambitions to reach the top. He has a personality for that too. He wants to make a move in the years to come, and it’s great that Samen Lycurgus gives him the right feel.
With Gillis recruited, Lycurgus almost completed next season’s selection of thirteen players. Only the second Libero spot remains to be filled.
Lycurgus choose to date with:
Diagonals Cal Fischer and Thomas Solorink, passers-runners Martin Bartels, Joss Boyer, Cole Gillis and Kyle McCauley, quarterbacks Robin Boucaudt, Luke Hoffhuis, Nils de Vries and Arjan Westra, game distributors Cole Bogner and Sam Gorczak and libero Jeffrey Klock.