The United States have won medals on four occasions at the World Championships, most recently silver in 2002. Their joint-best finish came in 1967 when they also finished second, while they won bronzes at the Peru 1982 and China 1990 competitions. In the tournament four years ago, they had to settle for fourth place. After losing 3-1 to Russia in their semifinal, they were defeated in five sets in the bronze medal match by hosts Japan.
A 2013 World Grand Prix sixth-place finish was out of character for a team who, since the end of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, have never been out of the top two places in the FIVB World Rankings. They replaced Brazil at number one following their silver medal at the 2011 World Cup, but the South Americans regained top spot in September last year after they ended the United States' three-season reign as World Grand Prix champions. The team were unlucky at the 2014 World Grand Prix as they finished fifth in the group stage of Group 1, but were denied a place in the Final Six due to Japan’s role as hosts of the event.
They took the gold medal at the 2013 NORCECA Championship last September and two months later the team won silver at the Grand Champions Cup. At the London 2012 Olympic Games they won the silver medal, retaining the position they secured at Beijing 2008.