August 8, 2013

Former Matador Jacek Ratajczak Trains with US Men's National Team

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Jacek Ratajczak became the latest former Cal State Northridge volleyball player to make headlines as the former All-American began training with the US Men's National Team.

Ratajczak, who starred for the Matador men's team from 2007-10 earning AVCA All-America honors twice (2009, 2010), began training with the national team in April.

"I was supposed to train for the Pan Am Cup at the end of May but the tournament was moved to the end of August," said Ratajczak. "Because of that I've been training all summer with the World League team. I haven't competed in any international matches yet but I understand it's a work in progress and all I can do is work hard and stay positive."

Ratajczak is originally from Warsaw, Poland immigrating to the United States (Woodside, Queens) as a 15-year old. CSUN head coach Jeff Campbell saw Ratajczak on video and decided to take a chance on a 7-foot middle blocker with a huge potential upside.

"When we recruited Jak we knew he was very athletic but also very raw," said Campbell. "But at 7-foot he had excellent movement skills as well as a solid arm swing for someone his size. I felt like he had the tools to become an elite middle blocker in the MPSF and with the right work ethic could play at the highest levels of volleyball in this country."

Ratajczak recently returned to Anaheim after a week-long break at home in New York. He started training for the Pan Am Cup on Monday (Aug. 5). The tournament has been rescheduled for Aug. 17-25 in Mexico City.

"I'm very excited to be in the gym with some of the best players in the world and a great coaching staff," added Ratajczak. "The entire experience has been great and it's a big opportunity for me and I hope to make the best of it."

In addition, he recently signed a two-year contract to play for Asse-Lennik, a professional team in Lennik, Belgium. The team plays in the Liga, the highest level of Belgian men's volleyball.

"Jak surpassed all of my expectations and is now training with the national team as well as signing a professional contract in Belgium," added Campbell. "We are very proud of Jak and wish him the best of luck in his upcoming season."

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