In recent iterations of VolleyballMag.com’s boys indoor youth awards, one name continued to pop up in terms of a player who falls into the “future star” category.
Now, however, Godbold isn’t a future star. The clock already is ticking on his stardom, evidenced by his key contributions in helping the SCVC 17s team win gold at the USA Volleyball junior nationals in Dallas.
Godbold’s exploits on the court this club season also have landed him the honor of being named the 2019 VolleyballMag.com boys club player of the year.
So how exactly has Godbold moved his game to the next level in recent times? He had plenty to say on the subject.
“It’s been a lot of reps,” the Long Beach State recruit said. “My coaches specifically have taught me how to block better and reach over further and get the angle first. I’m trying to improve my passing. I can hit myself out of a lot of situations now by hitting the high balls from the back row and the front row.”
But the passing aspect is something that has specifically been at the forefront of Godbold’s mind of late.
“Working on passing and serve-receive is a big deal,” said Godbold, the MVP in the 17 Open division at USAV nationals. “I definitely take pride in playing all the way around and not getting subbed out in the back row.”
Godbold’s rise to prominence on the high school, club and USA Volleyball high-performance scene, has been somewhat meteoric, considering this is only his fourth year playing the sport. He previously placed himself in a rare category of being named twice to the prestigious VolleyballMag.com 25 underclassmen to watch list as a sophomore and a junior (freshmen and sophomores rarely make the list) and was named a VolleyballMag.com high school All-American earlier this year.
“I started my 14s year,” said Godbold, a right-side hitter. “I’ve loved it ever since. My dad (Bryan, who walked on at Pepperdine) played when he was younger and threw it at me as a possibility. When I started playing, I instantly fell in love with it and I’ve kept on going.”
The 6-5 Godbold noted he used to play football, basketball, baseball and soccer before transitioning to volleyball. “I got burned out on all of it,” he said. “Volleyball was the only sport I enjoyed playing.”
Success, however, wasn’t exactly instant. “At first, I was tall and I could hit,” he explained. “Over the years, I learned how to pass and set better. When I started I was kind of raw, but I practiced a lot and worked on my game a lot. I’ve learned a lot in four years, but when I started I was pretty bad.
“I didn’t think I would ever be this good, quite honestly. I’m surprised.”
Godbold, who preps at Peninsula High School in Palos Verdes, California, said playing on the beach also has helped take his game to the next level. “I have spent a lot of time on the beach training and that has helped me with my passing and serving,” he said. “I work very hard to try and get better.”
Godbold added his time in the USAV HP pipeline has paid major dividends. He was part of the U.S. boys youth national team that recently played in the FIVB U19 world championships in Tunisia.
“I have gained a lot of experience from it,” he said. “You are out there playing a bunch of kids who hit harder and jump higher. You had to find ways to score points against them. It’s great experience. It’s very interesting to see and watch how good these players from other countries are.”
Godbold attempted to deflect credit for what SCVC accomplished this season. “We were good all-around,” he said. “Our team was super-consistent. If one guy was playing bad, another one was there to pick them up. We had a consistently good team. I played a pretty big role, but we had a three-headed monster on the pins. I helped hit us out of situations when we got in trouble.”
In terms of committing to Long Beach State, Godbold said there was too much good going on there to pass up. “I love the culture there,” he said. “I saw a couple of practices and loved the culture and the coaches are awesome. It’s also close to home so my parents can watch me play a lot.”
He also has some longer-term goals in mind. “My goal is to get to the Olympics,” he said. “I know that will take a lot of hard work, but that’s the goal.”
In his spare time, Godbold enjoys playing the popular Fortnite video game. “I like how you can continue to get better at building,” he said.
Just like he’s done with his promising volleyball career.
Note: VolleyballMag.com’s other 2019 boys’ awards include Balboa Bay 16 Blue receiving the nod for top club team.
Boys Club All-Americans
Jarrett Anderson, 6-5, RS-OH, Mountain View VBC, Springfield
Mason Briggs, 5-11, Libero, Legacy, Long Beach State
Dane Chalmers, 6-4, OH, Balboa Bay, UC Santa Barbara
Nathan Harlan 6-4, OH-RS, 949, Long Beach State
Cole Gillis, 6-4, OH, Mountain View VBC, UC Irvine
Marty Jepsen, 6-1, OH, Ultimate, Lewis University
Kevin Kauling, 6-8, S, Sports Performance
Teilon Tufuga, 6-4, OH, Rockstar, BYU
Note: There was a tie for the seventh spot
Analysis: A ton of talent in this age bracket this past season, reflected in the sheer volume of nominations for a wide variety of players from our panel of club coaches throughout the country. Players such as Sports Performance’s Kevin Lamp and Ultimate’s Wil McPhillips, who one coach described as the “most dynamic middle in the country,” just missed this list, as did the Balboa Bay duo of Joe Karlous and Ethan Hill, along with 949’s Sebastian Negron and Pac6’s Alex Knight, who was the top vote-getter on the 2019 VolleyballMag.com Boys Fab 50 list and is now at UCLA. Mountain View won it all at 18 Open at junior nationals with Anderson earning MVP honors.
Geste Bianchi, 6-5, RS-S, Balboa Bay, Unknown
Niko Colburn, 6-5, OH, Pinnacle, Unknown
Clarke Godbold, 6-4, OH, SCVC, Long Beach State
Zeo Meyer, 6-4, S, 949, BYU
Jackson Reed, 6-1, OH, 949, USC
Sebastian Rodriguez, 6-5, OH, Balboa Bay, Long Beach State
Luke Turner, 6-5, OH, SCVC, Unknown
Analysis: An all-California group of seven here. Godbold is the 2019 VolleyballMag.com boys club player of the year. He’s committed to Long Beach State where Rodriguez is also committed to. One voter noted Rodriguez was hurt for some of the club season, “but is clearly one of the best players in the country.” Out of this grouping, six of the seven are on the 2019 VolleyballMag.com 25 underclassmen to watch list. Turner was the MVP in 17 Open at junior nationals in Dallas.
Ben Coordt, 6-4, OH, Rockstar
Gabe Dyer, 6-4, S-RS-OH, Balboa Bay
Max Gordon, 6-2, OH MB Surf
Klistan Lawrence, 6-7, OH, 352
Dylan Li, 6-0, S-RS, Mountain View VBC
Grant Oh, 6-3, OH, Balboa Bay
Andrew Werner, 6-4, OH-RS, AZ Fear
Analysis: Balboa Bay took home 2019 VolleyballMag.com boys club team of the year honors with a group that featured four junior-national All-Americans, including the above-listed Dyer and Oh. Dyer was the MVP at 15 Open in Dallas. Rockstar’s Coordt is considered by several nominators to this list to be the best overall player in the age group. Lawrence, a member of the 2019 USA Volleyball boys youth national team, is out of Ocala, Florida and plays for the 352 club team. Werner, out of Brophy College Prep in Phoenix, helped AZ Fear reach the national title match at 16 Open.
Ryan DuRoss, 6-4, OH, Bay to Bay
Owen Loncar, 6-3, OH, MB Surf
Trevor Powell, 6-4, S, Sports Performance
Theo Snoey, 6-6, RS, Bay to Bay
Ryan Sprague, 6-3, S-RS, MB Surf
Gavin Swartz, 6-3, RS, Sports Performance
Kai Taylor, 6-2, OH, Balboa Bay
Analysis: Loncar was the MVP at 15 Open at junior nationals in Dallas. Loncar and fellow all-tournament pick Sprague were coached by 2019 VolleyballMag.com boys club coach of the year Bob McCarthy. Sports Performance, out of the western Chicago suburbs, finished second to MB Surf at 15 Open. Both Powell and Swartz prep at perennial Illinois boys high school volleyball state power Glenbard West, whose annual exploits are no stranger to the pages of VolleyballMag.com.