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Guide to Club Volleyball in Northern Virginia

Updated October 2019 for the 2019-2020 club season

This document serves as a guide to those interested in joining a club (aka "travel") volleyball program in Northern Virginia.  It is an unbiased opinion based on the experiences of several volleyball coaches and organizers in the area.  For additional information, see the Youth Club page.

What is Club Volleyball?

To help place club volleyball in context, here are the categories of volleyball programs available to junior (i.e. grade school) athletes in Northern Virginia:

RECREATIONAL VOLLEYBALL is open to everyone regardless of skill level and past experience.  Programs are typically run in spring and/or fall, and are divided by age/grade: Elementary School (4th - 6th grades), Middle School (6th - 8th grades) and High School (9th - 12th grades).  Teams practice 1 - 2 days per week with 1 match per week.  In addition to instructional “House” leagues for beginner and intermediate players, some programs also offer “Select” and/or “Travel” leagues for more advanced players.  For additional information, visit the Youth Recreational page.

SCHOOL-SPONSORED VOLLEYBALL for girls are mainly in High Schools (grades 9th thru 12th).  It is a selective program run in the fall with tryouts in early August to fill two or three teams: Varsity, Junior Varsity (JV) and often Freshmen.  Immediately after tryouts, teams practice or play 4-6 times a week until school begins and continue after school all the way through playoffs in November.  Matches are typically scheduled twice per week against local schools.  For boys, volleyball is no longer a varsity sport or school-sponsored club.  Instead, it operates through the Northern Virginia High School Boys Volleyball League (NVHSBVL) during the fall season.  Most teams hold tryouts in late summer, practice 2 to 3 times each week after school, and play roughly 2 matches per week against other league teams between mid-September and early November.  For additional information, visit the High School page.

CLUB VOLLEYBALL, also known as Travel Volleyball, offers the most advanced and competitive youth volleyball in the area.  Most girls on high school varsity teams also play club volleyball.  Club teams are available for both girls and boys starting with Elementary School (U11, U12) going through Middle School (U13, U14) and High School (U15, U16, U17, U18).  In Northern Virginia, most clubs are members of the Chesapeake Region (CHRVA) of the USA Volleyball (USAV) governing organization.  Participants must be USAV members and coaches must be certified.  Some clubs are also members of the American Athletics Union (AAU) and/or the Junior Volleyball Association (JVA).

What is the Club Volleyball Commitment?

Club volleyball is a two-season commitment: winter and spring (6+ months).  Boy’s tryouts are always in October with girl's  tryouts always in early November.  Teams practice 2 - 3 times per week for about 2 hours in the evenings or on weekends.

The playing season starts in December for boys and January for girls and runs through May or June with teams competing in single-day or multi-day tournaments on weekends 1 - 3 times each month.  Single-day tournaments are usually local within a 1-hour drive.  Some multi-day tournaments are also local but many are outside the region requiring overnight stays.  Tournament days are LONG, running from 7 to 10 hours (no kidding) so this is a commitment for the whole family, not just the player.

Players are expected to attend all practices and tournaments.  Playing time is earned during practices and is never divided up evenly.  Some teams have “practice players” who do not attend matches in exchange for a reduced fee and a chance to attend practices to improve skills and experience.

Which Age Groups?

Teams within clubs are broken down by age.  The table below lists the official CHRVA Junior Age Definitions for the 2019-2020 season.  A few exceptional athletes play up a level, but most stay with their age peers.

Division

Age Requirement

Target School Grade

12 and Under (U12)

Born on or after Sept. 1, 2007

6th Grade and under

13 and Under (U13)

Born on or after Sept. 1, 2006

7th Grade

14 and Under (U14)

Born on or after Sept. 1, 2005

8th Grade

15 and Under (U15)

Born on or after Sept. 1, 2004

9th Grade

16 and Under (U16)

Born on or after Sept. 1, 2003

10th Grade

17 and Under (U17)

Born on or after Sept. 1, 2002

11th Grade

18 and Under (U18)

Born on or after Sept. 1, 2001

12th Grade

When are Tryouts?

The CHRVA region has defined windows when club teams can hold tryouts.  Below are the CHRVA Recruiting and Tryout Periods for the 2019-2020 season:

  • For Boys: October 11 - 22, 2019
  • For Girls U13 and under: November 1 - 6, 2019
  • For Girls U14 and over: November 8 - 13, 2019

In addition to club websites, you can learn more about tryout dates and times by linking to CHRVA’s official club tryout date page.  Note that the weekend of the tryout period is packed.  Most candidates attend multiple tryouts, so you will need to plan accordingly.

Most teams begin practices as soon as the team is finalized.  For boys, practices begin in late October with tournaments starting after December 1.  For girls, practices begin in late November with tournaments starting after January 1.

How are Clubs Differentiated?

There are over 30 volleyball clubs for girls in Northern Virginia, each with its own selection criteria, coaching philosophy, practice facilities and fees.  Some have only one team per age group while others are large enough to support multiple teams per age group.

There are two broad categories of club teams:

  • Regional - More inclusive teams that primarily compete in CHRVA tournaments across Northern VA, MD, DE and DC.  The playing season usually ends in April or May shortly after the CHRVA regional tournament.
  • Travel/National/Open - More selective teams that play a wider range of tournaments both within the CHRVA region and outside (involving car/bus/plane trips), and compete in Open-level events for a chance to attend the USAV or AAU national tournaments.  These teams generally require a higher level of commitment and have higher fees.  The competitive season typically ends in May or June, but can also stretch into July if attending national tournaments.

Some clubs have both regional and travel/national/open teams.

The following clubs will have tryouts for boys teams this season: Areyto Volleyball Academy (U13, U15, U18), Monument Volleyball (U15/16, U17/18),  Northern Virginia Volleyball Association (U11-U18), The St. James (U14-U18), and Western Loudoun Volleyball Club (U14/U13).

Which are the Best Local Clubs?

There are so many dimensions in determining the right club for an individual.  Key factors you may consider include:

  • Coaches
  • Competitive level
  • Commitment
  • Playing time
  • Player development
  • Location
  • Cost
  • Culture (fun vs serious)
  • Recruitment exposure, if planning to play in college

In evaluating clubs, you’ll discover that there is a great deal of variety without easy standards to measure and compare.  Some clubs only target the most elite athletes and coaches, while others are more open to a variety of experiences and skills.  Some clubs  provide a consistent level of services from year-to-year, while others see fluctuation.  Without recommendations from insiders or an exhaustive review of information published on websites, it’s hard to know where to start.

To help you evaluate clubs in an unbiased manner, the next sections list club teams in Northern Virginia using the AES Power Ranking for comparisons.  The ranking indicates how well each club team did at competitive tournaments last season.  The information can help provide a sense of the caliber of players and coaches that may be attracted to the club during the 2019-2020 season.  Clubs with multiple entries in the same age group typically offer separate teams for top talent and emerging talent.

The list also includes the clubs primary practice location.  Although specific facilities are identified, there is a general shortage of available volleyball gyms in the area so teams may end up practicing at other facilities during the long season.

Girls Volleyball Rankings (Regional Comparison)

AES Power Ranking – Chesapeake Region - 2019 Season

Club Name and Primary Practice Location

U12

U13

U14

U15

U16

U17

U18

Alexandria Titans @TC Williams HS in Alexandria

42of 54

28 of 82

55 of 113

18 of 119

104 of 126

43 of 60

 

American @a dedicated facility in Manassas

29 of 54

18 of 82

65 of 82

 

11 of 113

37 of 113

42 of 113

6 of 119

19 of 119

11 of 126

36 of 126

Team Planned

12 of 60

Apple Valley @Body Renew in Winchester

38 of 54

41 of 82

59 of 113

10 of 119

24 of 126

 

 

Areyto (AVA) @Potomac Athletic in Ashburn

48 of 54

Team Planned

32  of 113

31 of 119

73 of 126

Team Planned

Team Planned

Blue Ridge (BRVA) @BRVA facility in Winchester

5 of 54

32 of 54

4 of 82

10 of 82

14 of 113

41 of 113

5 of 119

Team Planned

Team Planned

8 of 60

BRYC @various gyms in Fairfax/Burke/Springfield area

27 of 54

51 of 82

5 of 113

52 of 113

11 of 119

46 of 119

48 of 126

57 of 126

 

23 of 60

Cyburi @gyms in Fairfax 24 of 54 50 of 82   91 of 119      

DSYS @The BeanTree Pavilion in Ashburn

 

47 of 82

25 of 113

23 of 119

62 of 119

33 of 126

8 of 60

 

Dynamix @Providence Christian Academy in Warrenton Team Planned 31 of 82

65 of 113

73 of 119 111 of 126    

Evolution (EVO) @a dedicated facility in Alexandria off Eisenhower Ave

Team Planned

38 of 82

62 of 82

99 of 113

96 of 119

106 of 119

120 of 119

81 of 126

98 of 126

128 of 126

Team Planned

31 of 60

Go Volley @Hoops Plus in Sterling & Sportsplex in Winchester

Team Planned

Team Planned

Team Planned

52 of 119

Team Planned

Team Planned

36 of 60

Grit (formerly Dulles) @Cassel’s Sports in Herndon

Team Planned

12 of 82

20 of 82

57 of 113

67 of 119

19 of 126

53 of 126

52 of 60

40 of 60

Libero @Libero Sports Center in Sterling

Team Planned

39 of 82

Team Planned

51 of 119

93 of 126

 

 

Loudoun Elite @The Pavilion in Ashburn

12 of 54

 

12 of 113

40 of 119

13 of 126

22 of 126

 

 

Major Impact @Lake Ridge MS in Woodbridge

Team Planned

Team Planned

Team Planned

Team Planned

Team Planned

 

Team Planned

Team Planned

Manassas @a dedicated facility in Manassas

Team Planned

79 of 82

Team Planned

56 of 119

105 of 119

83 of 126

 

39 of 60

50 of 60

MB @The BeanTree Pavilion at in Ashburn

 

 

54 of 117

84 of 119

Team Planned

 

 

Metro (South) @Holmes MS in Alexandria

 

34 of 82

63 of 82

87 of 113

71 of 119

35 of 126

40 of 126

 

42 of 60

Mojo Elite @Redeemer Church in McLean

3 of 54

17 of 54

30 of 54

33 of 82

24 of 113

60 of 113

64 of 119

25 of 126

32 of 60

32 of 60

Monument @USCG TISCOM in Alexandria

Team Planned

Team Planned

82 of 113

81 of 119

43 of 126

30 of 60

Team Planned

No Panic @Cassel's Sports in Herndon

Team Planned

29 of 82

97 of 113

100 of 113

72 of 119

93 of 119

95 of 119

114 of 126

42 of 60

58 of 60

Northern Fauquier (NFVBC) @Village Green CC in Warrenton

 

57 of 82

51 of 113

74 of 119

 

44 of 60

 

NOVA @Key MS in Springfield and Hoops Plus in Chantilly

 

 

Team Planned

77 of 119

69 of 126

117 of 126

29 of 60

 

 

NVVA @VA Volleyball Center (VVC) in Sterling

15 of 54

15 of 82

25 of 82

35 of 68

49 of 82

72 of 82

44 of 113

64 of 113

89 of 113

28 of 119

29 of 119

70 of 119

87 of 119

108 of 119

58 of 126

87 of 126

88 of 126

20 of 60

21 of 60

Team Planned

Paramount @Cassel's Sports in Herndon

 

 

Team Planned

16 of 119

7 of 126

Team Planned

2 of 60

The St. James @The St. James Sports Complex  in Springfield

8 of 54

13 of 82

60 of 82

9 of 113

56 of 113

21 of 119

34 of 119

75 of 119

16 of 126

45 of 126

11 of 60

5 of 60

17 of 60

SYA @various gyms in the Clifton/Centreville area

 

 

66 of 113

82 of 119

67 of 126

54 of 60

 

Tier One @Potomac Athletic Center in Ashburn

 

 

Team Planned

39 of 119

85 of 126

 

Team Planned

VA Juniors @Cassel's Sports in Herndon

 

7 or 69

2 of 113

20 of 119

5 of 126

5 of 60

3 of 60

VA Volleyball Academy @Cassel's Sports in Herndon

 

 

Team Planned

Team Planned

92 of 126

41 of 60

 

Vienna Elite @Flint Hill School in Oakton & The Campus in Sterling

2 of 54

37 of 54

9 of 69

27 of 82

10 of 113

33 of 113

15 of 119

37 of 119

4 of 126

15 of 126

Team Planned

7 of 60

Virginia Elite @The Madeira School in McLean

 

19 of 69

17 of 113

12 of 119

49 of 126

14 of 60

16 of 60

Virginia Fusion @The Campus in Sterling

 

 

 

Team Planned

42 of 126

Team Planned

 

Virginia Top Team @Cassel's Sports in Herndon

 

 

88 of 113

76 of 119

20 of 126

Team Planned

19 of 60

Virginia United @Bishop O'Connell HS in Arlington

Team Planned

Team Planned

 

114 of 119

46 of 126

Team Planned

 

WYSC @Vint Hill CC in Warrenton

43 of 48

73 of 82

Team Planned

 

 

 

 

Western Loudoun (WLVBC) @Foxcroft School in Middleburg

 

45 of 82

20 of 113

43 of 119

17 of 126

Team Planned

30 of 60

So what does "xx of yy" mean?  From the AES Power Ranking"xx" is the ranking of an individual team based on tournament results and "yy" is the total number of regional teams ranked during the season.  Remember that CHRVA has teams in MD, DC & DE in addition to Northern VA.  Also, "Team Planned" means that the club is holding tryouts to form a possible team for that age group in the upcoming season.

Boys Volleyball Ranking (National Comparison)

AES Power Ranking – National - 2019 Season

Club Name and Primary Practice Location

U12

U13

U14

U15

U16

U17

U18

Areyto Volleyball Academy@Potomac Athletic Center in Ashburn

 

Team Planned

 

Team Planned

 

 

Team Planned

Arlington Elite (Moving to The St. James for the 2019-20 season)

 

 

 

110 of 156

 

111 of 223

 

BRYC (Moving to The St. James for the 2019-20 season)

12 of 52

 

90 of 257

181 of 257

42 of 156

56 of 394

345 of 394

 

396 of 404

Monument @USCG TISCOM in Alexandria

 

 

 

Team Planned

 

Team Planned

 

NVVA@VVC in Sterling

Team Planned

Team Planned

Team Planned

Team Planned

Team Planned

Team Planned

Team Planned

The St. James@The St. James Sports Complex in Springfield

 

 

Team Planned

Team Planned

Team Planned

Team Planned

Team Planned

Western Loudoun @The Campus in Sterling

 

35 of 62

Team Planned

 

 

 

 

Sample Schedules

Below are sample schedules for different club teams from the 2017 season.  It should provide a sense of the number and scale of events with corresponding time commitments.

Team

Practices

Tournaments

NVVA U12 (Regional Team)

  • Wednesdays @5:00pm-7:00pm (includes 30 min Strength & Coordination) at the VVC in Sterling
  • Fridays @6:30pm-8:30pm (includes 30 min Strength & Coordination) at the VVC in Sterling
  • Jan 13-14 – MLK Tournament at Jessup MD (2 days)
  • Jan TBD – Single Day Regional Tournament
  • Feb 17-19 – Capitol Hill Classic at the DC Convention Center (3 days)
  • Feb TBD – Single Day Regional Tournament
  • Mar TBD – Single Day Regional Tournament
  • April TBD – CHRVA Regional Championships at TBD Location

 

Vienna Elite U14 (Open / National Team)

  • Mondays @7pm-9:30pm (includes Strength & Conditioning) at The Campus in Sterling
  • Wednesdays @7pm-9:30pm (includes Strength & Conditioning) at The Campus in Sterling
  • Jan 13-15 – Monument Classic in Richmond VA (3 days)
  • Jan TBD – Single Day Regional Tournament
  • Feb 17-19 – Capitol Hill Classic at the DC Convention Center (3 days)
  • Feb 2-3 – Atlantic Power League at Greensboro NC (2 days)
  • Feb TBD – Single Day Regional Tournament
  • Mar 10-12 – Colorado Crossroads in Denver CO (3 days)
  • March 17-18 - Atlantic Power League at Roanoke VA (2 days)
  • Mar TBD – Single Day Regional Tournament
  • April 6-8 – Northeast Qualifier in Philadelphia PA (3 days)
  • April 28-29 – Mid-Atlantic Power League in York PA (2 days)
  • April TBD – CHRVA Regional Championships at TBD Location
  • May 12-13 – Atlantic Power League in TBD VA (2 days)
  • May 26-28 – East Coast Championship in Pittsburgh PA (3 days)
  • June TBD – USA Volleyball Nationals in Anaheim CA (must qualify – multiple day tournament)

 

Mojo Elite U16 (Travel Team)

  • Tuesdays @7:00-9:00pm at Sport & Health in McLean
  • Wednesdays @6:30-8:30pm at Redeemer Lutheran Church in McLean
  • Thursdays Strength & Conditioning @8:00-9:00pm at Sport & Health in McLean
  • Jan 13-15 – City of Oaks Challenge in Raleigh NC (3 days)
  • Jan TBD – Single Day Regional Tournament
  • Feb 17-19 – Capitol Hill Classic at the DC Convention Center (3 days)
  • Feb TBD – Single Day Regional Tournament
  • Mar 10-11 – Irish Rumble in Lancaster PA (2 days)
  • Mar TBD – Single Day Regional Tournament
  • April 6-8 – Northeast Qualifier in Philadelphia PA (3 days)
  • April TBD – CHRVA Regional Championships at TBD Location
  • May 12-13 – Beach Fest in Ocean City MD (2 days)
  • May 26-28 – Happy Volley at Penn State in State College PA (3 days)

 

As mentioned earlier, each tournament day can run 7 to 10 hours.  Some multi-day events even have morning and afternoon shifts to accommodate all teams.  For out-of-town tournaments, teams usually travel the day before and return home on the last day of the event.

How Much Does Club Cost?

Club fees vary widely from as low as $1,200 a season to $7,000+ for the most elite clubs.  While that might sound like a lot of money, if you divide that by the hundreds of hours of quality practice/tournament time experienced over the course of a 6+ month long season, it really is worth the investment. Here are some general guidelines to consider:

  • Younger teams and regional teams tend to travel less and are less expensive
  • Travel/National/Open teams tend to travel more and are more expensive

A majority of clubs are within a $2,000 to $4,000 range (boys are always less).  Club fees pay for uniforms, practice equipment, gym space, coaching expenses, tournament fees, and sometimes hotels for overnight stays.  In most cases at least one parent will accompany his/her player to out-of-town tournaments and those travel/lodging costs are not covered in the player fees.  You can find detailed information (costs and tournament schedules) on club websites.

How Do I Get On A Club Team

There are some harsh realities about earning a spot on a club volleyball team:

  • Demand is greater than supply.  There are generally not enough club teams to accommodate all the boys and girls interested in playing club volleyball.
  • At U13 & U14 tryouts for girls, don’t be surprised to find 25+ candidates competing to fill the 10-12 spots on a team.
  • At U15 & U16 tryouts for girls, you’ll likely see 35+ candidates competing to fill 10-12 spots. The higher numbers are due to so many girls coming out of high school Freshman and JV teams.
  • There are really not 10-12 spots open on each team.  On average, more than half are already reserved for players returning from the previous season, so the number of openings for those competing at tryouts is actually smaller.
  • For girls U12, it’s far less competitive.  There are fewer players attending tryouts (maybe 15+) and very few spots on the team are pre-claimed.
  • Ideally, it’d be great to earn a spot on a club team close to home.  However, you should be prepared to travel to wherever the club practices.

Having said all that, if you’re committed, you can optimize your chances of making a team.  Here are some strategies to consider:

  • Visit the websites of each local club to learn more about its coaches, coaching philosophy, selection criteria, player expectations, practice facilities and club fees.  Many of the clubs host a “Meet the Coaches” gathering where you can talk directly with club staff to learn more about the team and its coaches.
  • Target 1 or 2 clubs, but attend as many tryouts as possible.  Best to have options and choose between multiple offers.
  • Of your target clubs, attend as many of their fall leagues, tryout prep clinics and open gyms as you can (START NOW!!).  Get to know the coaches and let them get to know you -- many clubs use this as a way to meet and gain comfort with players before tryouts begin. 
  • Attending 3 to 5 tryouts is not uncommon.  With the short tryout period, some clubs hold tryouts around the same time, so you may need to prepare a detailed schedule and drive quickly from one tryout to another.  Some clubs may offer make-up sessions.
  • When putting together your tryout list, consider some of the larger clubs such as NVVA, Evolution and Arlington Elite.  With more teams available in each age group, your chances of making one of the teams is greatly increased.
  • As the tryouts approach, re-visit club websites to review final details.  Most clubs require you to register in advance and pay a tryout fee.  There will also be forms to fill out and bring to tryouts.  Even before making a team, you’ll have to officially join CHRVA/USA Volleyball to attend tryouts.
  • Don’t be intimidated by the number of players at each tryout.  Many are “shopping around” and may not accept offers if given.  So don’t be discouraged if you think you didn’t do as well as others during the tryout.
  • During actual tryouts be ON.  Demonstrating strong skills are important, but don’t discount hard work and a positive attitude as influencing factors.  Many coaches are looking for potential and “coachability”, so always listen and do exactly as instructed.

What Happens After Tryouts?

Clubs usually communicate with candidates during the tryout, by email, or by posting tryout numbers on a website.  Candidates typically fall into three categories: (1) in, (2) out and (3) waitlisted.  Because so many players are shopping around clubs, teams usually keep some candidates on a rank-ordered waitlist while they wait to hear back on offers.  It can be a challenging time for those on the waitlist hoping for a chance to say yes.  The waitlist is released once all open spots are filled.

Finally, if you are fortunate enough to receive an offer, take the time to have a full conversation with the head coach to make sure all expectations are clearly communicated and understood.  Also review the CHRVA Juniors Recruiting Policy and FAQs on your rights to respond to an offer.  It’s a big investment of time and money so there’s no need to rush in unprepared.

Good luck!!