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Guide to Club Volleyball in Northern Virginia

Updated August 2018 for the 2018-2019 club season

What is Club Volleyball?

CLUB VOLLEYBALL is an excellent opportunity to take your volleyball playing to the next level.  It 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 (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).

This document serves as a guide to those interested in joining a club volleyball program in Northern Virginia.  It is an unbiased opinion based on the experiences of several volleyball coaches and organizers in the area.

What is the Club Volleyball Commitment?

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

The playing season typically runs from December for boys and January for girls 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 not 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 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 2018-2019 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, 2006

6th Grade and under

13 and Under (U13)

Born on or after Sept. 1, 2005

7th Grade

14 and Under (U14)

Born on or after Sept. 1, 2004

8th Grade

15 and Under (U15)

Born on or after Sept. 1, 2003

9th Grade

16 and Under (U16)

Born on or after Sept. 1, 2002

10th Grade

17 and Under (U17)

Born on or after Sept. 1, 2001

11th Grade

18 and Under (U18)

Born on or after Sept. 1, 2000

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 2018-2019 season:

  • For Boys: October 12 - 23, 2018
  • For Girls U13 and under: November 2 - 7, 2018
  • For Girls U14 and over: November 9 - 14, 2018

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.

Boys teams typically begin practices in late October and girls teams in late November.  Boys competitions can start after December 1 with girls 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 usually 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 have boys teams: Arlington Elite (U14, U16), BRYC (U12 - U18) and, Western Loudoun County (U14 & U15/U16).  Other clubs considering boys programs include NVVA and American Volleyball Club .

Which are the Best Local Clubs?

There are so many factors in determining the right club for an individual including (1) coaches, (2) commitment & competition level, (3) location, (4) cost, (5) culture (fun vs serious), (6) player development & playing time, and (7) recruitment exposure if planning to play in college.

In evaluating clubs, you’ll discover quickly that there is a great deal of variety without easy standards to measure and compare them.  Some clubs only target the most elite athletes and coaches, while others are more open to a variety of experiences and skills.  Some clubs are known to 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 two pages 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 2018-2019 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 - 2018 Season

Club Name and Primary Practice Location

U12

U13

U14

U15

U16

U17

U18

Alexandria Titans @TC Williams HS in Alexandria

23 of 52

47 of 68

14 of 111

27 of 111

 

65 of 114

 

 

American @a dedicated facility in Manassas

17 of 52

6 of 68

35 of 68

54 of 68

6 of 111

43 of 111

12 of 109

35 of 109

42 of 114

4 of 59

38 of 54

Apple Valley @Body Renew in Winchester

34 of 52

48 of 52

33 of 68

9 of 111

69 of 111

24 of 109

37 of 114

 

 

Areyto (AVA) @Potomac Athletic in Ashburn

 

 

8  of 111

61 of 111

33 of 109

49 of 114

 

20 of 54

Arlington Elite @Kids Choice Sports in Annandale

 

14 of 68

63 of 68

21 of 111

25 of 111

21 of 109

34 of 109

18 of 114

23 of 114

6 of 59

8 of 59

 

BRYC @various gyms in Fairfax/Burke/Springfield area

43 of 52

16 of 68

24 of 111

78 of 111

 

7 of 114

80 of 114

13 of 59

21 of 54

Chantilly Juniors (CJVC) @The Campus in Sterling

 

 

 

36 of 109

55 of 114

 

 

Dulles @Cassel’s Sports in Herndon

38 of 52

 

37 of 111

58 of 109

16 of 114

53 of 114

24 of 59

24 of 54

DSYS @The BeanTree Pavilion at in Ashburn

 

22 of 68

65 of 111

81 of 109

13 of 114

 

 

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

 

 

59 of 111

107 of 111

109 of 111

10 of 109

78 of 109

107 of 109

75 of 114

98 of 114

53 of 59

59 of 59

50 of 54

Go Volleyball @TBD Facilities Sterling/Winchester

 

 

 

 

 

35 of 59

55 of 59

 

Libero @Libero Sports Center in Sterling

 

 

 

 

 

52 of 59

 

Loudoun Elite @The Pavilion in Ashburn

19 of 52

29 of 52

 

22 of 111

11 of 109

35 of 114

 

 

Manassas @a dedicated facility in Manassas

 

 

82 of 111

70 of 109

83 of 114

 

60 of 59

47 of 54

MB @The BeanTree Pavilion at in Ashburn

44 of 52

 

30 of 111

19 of 109

43 of 114

9 of 59

 

Metro (South) @Holmes MS in Alexandria (Note 1)

28 of 52

 

51 of 111

101 of 111

39 of 109

50 of 114

 

49 of 54

Mojo Elite @Redeemer Church in McLean

16 of 52

42 of 52

51 of 52

34 of 68

53 of 111

85 of 111

44 of 109

 

36 of 59

12 of 54

No Panic @Cassel's Sports in Herndon

 

53 of 68

48 of 111

64 of 111

65 of 109

77 of 109

70 of 114

 

32 of 54

Northern Fauquier (NFVBC) @Village Green CC in Warrenton

 

 

 

51 of 109

26 of 114

 

 

NOVA @Key MS in Springfield and Hoops Plus in Chantilly

 

 

81 of 111

82 of 109

85 of 109

39 of 114

103 of 114

 

 

NV Premier @Cassel's Sports in Herndon

 

 

 

 

91 of 114

30 of 59

 

NVVA @VA Volleyball Center (VVC) in Sterling

6 of 52

25 of 52

35 of 52

49 of 52

17 of 68

21 of 68

41 of 68

51 of 68

60 of 68

13 of 111

68 of 111

70 of 111

72 of 111

90 of 111

92 of 111

106 of 111

111 of 111

16 of 109

48 of 109

75 of 109

80 of 109

96 of 109

99 of 109

100 of 109

102 of 109

109 of 109

20 of 114

31 of 114

56 of 114

38 of 59

 

Paramount @Cassel's Sports in Herndon

 

 

 

 

3 of 114

 

6 of 54

SYA @various gyms in the Clifton/Centreville area

 

 

 

74 of 109

89 of 114

18 of 59

 

Tier One @Potomac Athletic Center in Ashburn

 

 

20 of 111

 

 

 

 

VA Juniors @Cassel's Sports in Herndon

 

7 or 68

3 of 111

2 of 109

8 of 114

2 of 59

3 of 54

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

9 of 52

 

11 of 111

33 of 111

5 of 109

42 of 109

24 of 114

14 of 59

19 of 54

Virginia Elite @The Madeira School in McLean

 

18 or 68

28 of 111

4 of 109

5 of 114

16 of 59

4 of 54

Virginia Fusion @The Campus in Sterling

 

39 of 68

83 of 111

47 of 109

40 of 114

27 of 59

 

Virginia Top Team @Cassel's Sports in Herndon

 

 

 

29 of 109

25 of 114

 

18 of 54

Western Loudoun @Foxcroft School in Middleburg

 

27 of 68

56 of 111

20 of 109

52 of 109

60 of 114

25 of 59

 

Boys Volleyball Ranking (National Comparison)

AES Power Ranking – National - 2018 Season

Club Name and Primary Practice Location

U12

U13

U14

U15

U16

U17

U18

American @a dedicated facility in Manassas

 

 

Team Planned

 

 

 

 

Arlington Elite @Kids Choice Sports in Annandale

 

 

161 of 248

 

109 of 353

 

 

BRYC @various gyms in Fairfax/Burke/Springfield area

19 of 53

 

100 of 248

209 of 248

41 of 232

352 of 353

162 of 212

43 of 378

331 of 378

NVVA @VA Volleyball Center (VVC) in Sterling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Western Loudoun @Foxcroft School in Middleburg

 

 

196 of 248

 

265 of 353

 

 

Sample Schedules

Below are sample schedules for different club teams.  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 the fall clinics and pre-tryout 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!!