skip navigation

Guide to Club Volleyball in Northern Virginia

Updated for the 2021-2022 club season (Oct 18)

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 6 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 2021-2022 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 July 1, 2009

6th Grade and under

13 and Under (U13)

Born on or after July 1, 2008

7th Grade

14 and Under (U14)

Born on or after July 1, 2007

8th Grade

15 and Under (U15)

Born on or after July 1, 2006

9th Grade

16 and Under (U16)

Born on or after July 1, 2005

10th Grade

17 and Under (U17)

Born on or after July 1, 2004

11th Grade

18 and Under (U18)

Born on or after July 1, 2003 (or after July 1, 2002 and in 12th Grade)

12th Grade

When are Tryouts?

The CHRVA region has defined windows when club teams can hold tryouts.  

  • For Boys:  October 8 - 19, 2021
  • For Girls U13 and under: November 5 - 10, 2021
  • For Girls U14 and over: November 12 - 17, 2021

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 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.

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 2021-2022 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)

Updated for the 2021-2022 Season. Note that COVID limited some clubs from fielding multiple teams across age-groups. 

AES Power Ranking – Chesapeake Region - 2020-2021 Season

Club Name and Primary Practice Location

U12

U13

U14

U15

U16

U17

U18

Alexandria Titans @TC Williams HS in Alexandria

Team Planned

Team Planned

Team Planned

Team Planned

Team Planned

 

 

American @a dedicated facility in Manassas

6 of 34

31 of 34

10 of 61

30 of 61

 

26 of 82

24 of 100

65 of 100

32 of 98

 

18 of 63

Team Planned

Areyto (AVA) @Potomac Athletic in Ashburn

Team Planned

Team Planned

Team Planned

Team Planned

Team Planned

Team Planned

Team Planned

Battle @K Sports Complex in Manassas

 

 

Team Planned

Team Planned

Team Planned

Team Planned

Team Planned

Blue Ridge (BRVA) @BRVA facility in Winchester

2 of 34

20 of 34

4 of 61

3 of 82

32 of 82

4 of 100

22 of 100

5 of 98

35 of 98

11 of 63

22 of 56

Braddock Road Youth (BRYC) @various gyms in Fairfax/Burke/Springfield area

 

Team Planned

52 of 82

21 of 100

28 of 100

51 of 98

64 of 98

25 of 63

38 of 56

Dulles Youth Sports (DSYS) @Hoops Plus in Sterling

Team Planned

23 of 61

23 of 82

39 of 100

29 of 98

49 of 63

23 of 56

Dynamix @Providence Christian Academy in Warrenton 25 of 34 22 of 61

19 of 82

53 of 100 57 of 98 42 of 63 Team Planned

East Coast Power DC (formerly Mojo Elite) @Redeemer Church in McLean

4 of 34

17 of 61

5 of 82

15 of 100

Team Planned

Team Planned

Team Planned

Evolution (EVO) -- will not field teams for 2021-2022 season

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

Go Volley @Hoops Plus in Sterling & Sportsplex in Winchester

Team Planned

Team Planned

50 of 82

Team Planned

30 of 98

35 of 63

Team Planned

Grit @Cassel’s Sports in Herndon

 

28 of 61

Team Planned

 

Team Planned

 

 

Libero @Libero Athletic Center in Sterling

Team Planned

Team Planned

28 of 82

56 of 100

58 of 98

Team Planned

 

Loudoun Elite @Hoops Plus in Sterling

Team Planned

29 of 61

Team Planned

23 of 100

8 of 98

50 of 63

48 of 56

Major Impact (MIVBC) @Kids Choice in Woodbridge

Team Planned

59 of 61

Team Planned

Team Planned

60 of 98

Team Planned

42 of 56

Manassas (MVBC) @ MVBC facility in Manassas

Team Planned

58 of 61

Team Planned

99 of 100

 

47 of 98

85 of 98

Team Planned

43 of 56

MB -- will not field teams for 2021-2022 season

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

Metro (South) @Holmes MS in Alexandria

 

33 of 61

27 of 82

68 of 100

24 of 98

43 of 98

Team Planned

26 of 56

Monument @Fairfax SportsPlex in Springfield

 

54 of 61

Team Planned

78 of 100

36 of 98

Team Planned

44 of 56

No Panic @The Training Experience in Chantilly

 

Team Planned

55 of 82

98 of 100

Team Planned

59 of 63

Team Planned

Northern Piedmont Sports Club (NPSC) United @Gyms in Warrenton

 

 

Team Planned

 

Team Planned

 

 

Northern Virginia Volleyball Assoc. (NVVA) @VA Volleyball Center (VVC) in Sterling

10 of 34

8 of 61

20 of 61

45 of 61

69 of 82

73 of 82

14 of 100

45 of 100

81 of 100

89 of 100

63 of 98

81 of 98

Team Planned

49 of 56

Paramount @Cassel's Sports in Herndon

 

Team Planned

4 of 82

2 of 100

2 of 98

5 of 63

8 of 56

SYA @various gyms in the Clifton/Centreville area

 

 

 

 

74 of 98

41 of 63

 

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

3 of 34

6 of 61

11 of 82

16 of 82

10 of 100

36 of 100

Team Planned

33 of 63

32 of 56

Tier One @Telos in Ashburn

 

 

Team Planned

62 of 100

59 of 98

12 of 63

Team Planned

VA Juniors @Cassel's Sports in Herndon

 

12 of 61

6 of 82

12 of 100

3 of 98

9 of 63

5 of 56

Vienna Elite @The Play to Win Athletic Center in Ashburn; The New School in Fairfax

 17 of 34

25 of 61

15 of 82

24 of 82

16 of 100

40 of 100

63 of 100

96 of 100

6 of 98

7 or 98

68 of 98

8 of 63

22 of 63

27 of 63

4 of 56

6 of 56

Virginia Elite @The Madeira School in McLean

 

35 of 61

7 of 82

3 of 100

14 of 98

2  of 63

11 of 56

Virginia Fusion @The Fitness Equation in Ashburn

 

 

 

71 of 100

62 of 98

39 of 63

 

Virginia Top Team @Cassel's Sports in Herndon

 

 

35 of 82

55 of 100

46 of 98

Team Planned

 

Virginia United -- will not field teams for 2021-2022 season

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

Virginia Volleyball Academy(VAVA) @Cassel's Sports in Herndon

 

Team Planned

Team Planned

64 of 100

28 of 98

29 of 63

25 of 56

VolleyViet (VV) @The Fitness Equation in Chantilly

 

 

 

 

Team Planned

Team Planned

 

Warrenton Youth (WYSC) @Vint Hill CC in Warrenton

 

 

 

91 of 100

 

 

 

Western Loudoun (WLVBC) @Patrick Henry College in Purcellville

 

 

70 of 82

84 of 100

Team Planned

 

 

X-Factor Volleyball @Lee District Rec Center in Alexandria   Team Planned Team Planned Team Planned Team Planned Team Planned Team Planned

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  - 2020-2021 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

209 of 265

 

300 of 308

Grit @Cassel's in Herndon

 

 

 

 

 

Team Planned

 

Battle @K-Sports in Manassas

 

Team Planned

Team Planned

Team Planned

193 of 265

Team Planned

Team Planned

Monument @Fairfax SportsPlex in Springfield

 

 

Team Planned

Team Planned

Team Planned

118 of 197

Team Planned

No Panic @The Training Experience in Chantilly

 

 

 

Team Planned

Team Planned

 

 

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

 

 

121 of 215

 17 of 139

22 of 265

56 of 197

73 of 308

Western Loudoun @Cassel's Sports Complex in Herndon

 

 

114 of 215

Team Planned

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 6 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 $1,500 a season to $7,000+ for the most elite clubs.  While that might sound like a lot of money, it covers a 6+ month long season that includes hundreds of hours of court time, tournament expenses, team gear and coaching support.

Here are some general guidelines influencing cost:

  • 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 $2,500 to $5,000 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 and St. James.  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/text, 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!!