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Guide to Club Volleyball in Northern Virginia

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 age divisions and cutover dates for the 2017-2018 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, 2005

6th Grade and under

13 and Under (U13)

Born on or after Sept. 1, 2004

7th Grade

14 and Under (U14)

Born on or after Sept. 1, 2003

8th Grade

15 and Under (U15)

Born on or after Sept. 1, 2002

9th Grade

16 and Under (U16)

Born on or after Sept. 1, 2001

10th Grade

17 and Under (U17)

Born on or after Sept. 1, 2000

11th Grade

18 and Under (U18)

Born on or after Sept. 1, 1999

12th Grade

When are Tryouts?

The CHRVA region has defined windows when club teams can hold tryouts.  Below are the open tryout periods for the 2017-2018 season:

  • For Boys: October 13 - 24, 2017
  • For Girls U13 and under: November 3 - 8, 2017
  • For Girls U14 and over: November 10 - 15, 2017 (after the HS volleyball season)

In addition to club websites, you can learn more about tryout dates and times by linking to CHRVA’s official Club Tryout Dates site or by viewing the aggregated tryout calendars maintained by NoVA Volleyball Stuff.  Note that the weekend of the tryout period is packed.  Most candidates attend multiple tryouts, so you will need to plan accordingly.

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.
  • 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 playing season usually ends in May or June, but can also stretch into July.

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 working on developing boys programs include NVVA (14U Galaxy League) and American Volleyball Club (U14 team pending interest).

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 2017-2018 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 - 2017 Season

Club Name and Primary Practice Location

U12

U13

U14

U15

U16

U17

U18

Alexandria Titans @TC Williams HS in Alexandria

31 of 50

20 of 68

43 of 68

73 of 107

73 of 108

 

 

 

American @a dedicated facility in Manassas

9 of 50

18 of 50

10 of 68

24 of 68

37 of 68

7 of 107

23 of 107

51 of 108

64 of 108

9 of 124

 

38 of 60

Apple Valley @Body Renew in Winchester

29 of 50

42 of 50

47 of 68

47 of 107

69 of 108

30 of 124

53 of 124

 

53 of 60

Areyto (AVA) @Potomac Athletic in Ashburn

40 of 50

48 of 50

11 of 68

46 of 107

56 of 108

54 of 124

10 of 66

33 of 60

Arlington Elite @Kids Choice Sports in Annandale

26 of 50

22 of 68

27 of 68

26 of 107

28 of 107

15 of 108

23 of 108

47 of 108

5 of 124

49 of 124

49 of 66

25 of 60

BRYC @various gyms in Fairfax/Burke/Springfield area

 

54 of 68

35 of 107

87 of 107

7 of 108

52 of 108

12 of 124

31 of 124

18 of 66

47 of 66

7 of 60

Chantilly Juniors @The Campus in Sterling

 

 

 

33 of 108

Team Planned

 

Team Planned

Dulles @Cassel’s Sports in Herndon

 

Team Planned

56 of 107

9 of 108

25 of 124

33 of 66

18 of 60

DSYS @The BeanTree Pavilion at in Ashburn

 

41 of 68

61 of 68

25 of 107

33 of 107

40 of 108

48 of 108

Team Planned

 

 

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

 

66 of 68

67 of 68

20 of 107

105 of 107

83 of 108

99 of 108

80 of 124

91 of 124

109 of 124

12 of 66

60 of 66

48 of 60

Go Volleyball @TBD Facilities Sterling/Winchester

 

 

 

 

 

Team Planned

Team Planned

Libero @Libero Sports Center in Sterling

 

 

 

96 of 108

63 of 124

94 of 124

 

 

Loudoun Elite @The Pavilion in Ashburn

Team Planned

25 of 68

15 of 107

Team Planned

 

 

 

Manassas @a dedicated facility in Manassas

 

 

101 of 107

102 of 108

71 of 124

114 of 124

59 of 66

64 of 66

50 of 60

MB @The BeanTree Pavilion at in Ashburn

 

 

66 of 107

Team Planned

64 of 124

28 of 66

30 of 60

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

 

30 of 68

34 of 107

75 of 108

88 of 124

 

36 of 60

Mojo Elite @Redeemer Church in McLean

10 of 50

46 of 50

26 of 68

56 of 68

42 of 107

14 of 108

11 of 124

 

35 of 60

No Panic @Cassel's Sports in Herndon

 

19 of 68

19 of 107

39 of 107

27 of 108

72 of 108

7 of 124

14 of 124

14 of 66

Team Planned

Northern Fauquier (NFVBC) @Village Green CC in Warrenton

 

 

 

42 of 108

73 of 124

 

 

NOVA @Key MS in Springfield and Hoops Plus in Chantilly

 

63 of 68

39 of 107

102 of 108

24 of 124

40 of 124

30 of 66

16 of 60

NV Premier @Cassel's Sports in Herndon

 

 

Team Planned

71 of 108

72 of 124

48 of 66

 

NVVA @VA Volleyball Center (VVC) in Sterling

8 of 50

22 of 50

36 of 50

5 of 68

29 of 68

45 of 68

57 of 68

62 of 68

65 of 68

6 of 107

27 of 107

49 of 107

57 of 107

80 of 107

83 of 107

93 of 107

100 of 107

22 of 108

38 of 108

39 of 108

55 of 108

76 of 108

80 of 108

89 of 108

95 of 108

98 of 108

56 of 124

74 of 124

98 of 124

4 of 66

42 of 60

Paramount @Cassel's Sports in Herndon

 

 

 

8 of 108

 

6 of 66

 

SYA @various gyms in the Clifton/Centreville area

 

 

69 of 107

4 of 108

62 of 108

18 of 124

11 of 66

3 of 60

Tier One @Hoops Plus in Sterling

 

 

 

 

28 of 124

33 of 124

 

 

VA Juniors @Cassel's Sports in Herndon

 

7 or 68

4 of 107

11 of 108

2 of 124

8 of 66

Team Planned

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

4 of 50

6 of 68

17 of 68

9 of 107

+Team Planned

13 of 108

+Team Planned

23 of 124

Team Planned

Team Planned

Virginia Elite @The Madeira School in McLean

 

16 or 68

12 of 107

26 of 108

8 of 124

2 of 66

8 of 60

Virginia Fusion @The Campus in Sterling

 

Team Planned

17 of 107

25 of 108

26 of 124

Team Planned

40 of 60

Virginia Top Team @Cassel's Sports in Herndon

 

 

 

29 of 108

36 of 124

45 of 66

14 of 60

Western Loudoun @Foxcroft School in Middleburg

 

38 of 68

13 of 107

77 of 107

46 of 108

60 of 124

 

Team Planned

Boys Volleyball Ranking (National Comparison)

AES Power Ranking – National - 2017 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

 

 

215 of 239

 

Team Planned

 

 

BRYC @various gyms in Fairfax/Burke/Springfield area

CHRVA

17 of 44

(vs. girls)

 

41 of 239

198 of 239

67 of 151

174 of 343

51 of 232

39 of 404

375 of 404

NVVA @VA Volleyball Center (VVC) in Sterling

 

 

 

124 of 151

 

 

 

Western Loudoun @Foxcroft School in Middleburg

 

 

133 of 239

 

Team Planned

 

 

Sample Schedules

Below are sample schedules for different club teams during the 2017-2018 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.  Here are related guidelines:

  • 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 girls interested in playing club volleyball.
  • At U13 & U14 tryouts, don’t be surprised to find 25+ girls competing to fill the 10-12 spots on a team.
  • At U15 & U16 tryouts, you’ll likely see 35+ girls 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 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 a 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 are 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 recruiting rules 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!!