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Guide to Club Volleyball in Northern Virginia

Updated September 2018 for the 2018-2019 club season

What is Club Volleyball?

CLUB VOLLEYBALL, also known as Travel 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 (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).

This document serves as a guide to those interested in joining a club 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 NoVA Volleyball Alliance Youth Club page

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 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.

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.

Boys Tryouts

0
Days
0
Hours
0
Minutes

Girls U11-U13 Tryouts

0
Days
0
Hours
0
Minutes

Girls U14-U18 Tryouts

0
Days
0
Hours
0
Minutes

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 have boys teams: Arlington Elite (U13, U15 & U17), BRYC (U12 - U18) and, Western Loudoun County (U13/14 and U15/16).  Other clubs considering boys programs include Areyto Volleyball Academy (U12, U14) and Northern Fauquier Volleyball Club (U15/16).

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 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 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 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 69

14 of 117

27 of 117

Team Planned

65 of 118

 

 

American @a dedicated facility in Manassas

17 of 52

6 of 69

35 of 69

54 of 69

6 of 117

43 of 117

12 of 113

35 of 113

42 of 118

4 of 61

38 of 56

Apple Valley @Body Renew in Winchester

34 of 52

48 of 52

33 of 69

9 of 117

69 of 117

24 of 113

37 of 118

 

 

Areyto (AVA) @Potomac Athletic in Ashburn

Team Planned

Team Planned

8  of 117

61 of 117

33 of 113

49 of 118

Team Planned

20 of 56

Arlington Elite @Kids Choice Sports in Annandale

Team Planned

14 of 69

63 of 69

21 of 117

25 of 117

21 of 113

34 of 113

18 of 118

23 of 118

6 of 61

8 of 61

Team Planned

BRYC @various gyms in Fairfax/Burke/Springfield area

43 of 52

16 of 69

24 of 117

78 of 117

Team Planned

7 of 118

80 of 118

13 of 61

21 of 56

Chantilly Juniors (CJVC) @The Campus in Sterling (NOT PLANNING TEAMS FOR 2018-2019)

 

 

 

36 of 113

55 of 118

 

 

Cyburi @gyms in Fairfax Team Planned     Team Planned      

DSYS @The BeanTree Pavilion in Ashburn

 

22 of 69

65 of 117

81 of 113

13 of 118

Team Planned

 

Dynamix @Providence Christian Academy in Warrenton   Team Planned

40 of 117

84 of 117

63 of 113 Team Planned 44 of 61 Team Planned

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

Team Planned

Team Planned

59 of 117

107 of 117

109 of 117

10 of 113

78 of 113

107 of 113

75 of 118

98 of 118

53 of 61

59 of 61

50 of 56

Go Volley @Hoops Plus in Sterling & Sportsplex in Winchester

 

 

Team Planned

Team Planned

Team Planned

35 of 61

55 of 61

Team Planned

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

38 of 52

Team Planned

37 of 117

58 of 113

16 of 118

53 of 118

24 of 61

24 of 56

Libero @Libero Sports Center in Sterling

Team Planned

Team Planned

Team Planned

Team Planned

Team Planned

52 of 61

 

Loudoun Elite @The Pavilion in Ashburn

19 of 52

29 of 52

Team Planned

22 of 117

11 of 113

35 of 118

 

 

Manassas @a dedicated facility in Manassas

Team Planned

Team Planned

82 of 117

70 of 113

83 of 118

 

60 of 61

47 of 56

MB @The BeanTree Pavilion at in Ashburn

44 of 52

 

30 of 117

19 of 113

43 of 118

9 of 61

 

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

28 of 52

 

51 of 117

101 of 117

39 of 113

50 of 118

 

49 of 56

Mojo Elite @Redeemer Church in McLean

16 of 52

42 of 52

51 of 52

34 of 69

53 of 117

85 of 117

44 of 113

Team Planned

36 of 61

12 of 56

Monument @USCG TISCOM in Alexandria

 

 

Team Planned

Team Planned

61 of 118

Team Planned

 

No Panic @Cassel's Sports in Herndon

 

53 of 69

48 of 117

64 of 117

65 of 113

77 of 113

70 of 118

 

32 of 56

Northern Fauquier (NFVBC) @Village Green CC in Warrenton

 

 

Team Planned

51 of 113

26 of 118

Team Planned

 

NOVA @Key MS in Springfield and Hoops Plus in Chantilly

 

 

81 of 117

82 of 113

85 of 113

39 of 118

103 of 118

Team Planned

Team Planned

NV Premier @Cassel's Sports in Herndon (NOT PLANNING TEAMS FOR 2018-2019)

 

 

 

 

91 of 118

30 of 61

 

NVVA @VA Volleyball Center (VVC) in Sterling

6 of 52

25 of 52

35 of 52

49 of 52

17 of 69

21 of 69

41 of 68

51 of 69

60 of 69

13 of 117

68 of 117

70 of 117

72 of 117

90 of 117

92 of 117

106 of 117

111 of 117

16 of 113

48 of 113

75 of 113

80 of 113

96 of 113

99 of 113

100 of 113

102 of 113

109 of 113

20 of 118

31 of 118

56 of 118

38 of 61

Team Planned

Paramount @Cassel's Sports in Herndon

 

 

 

Team Planned

3 of 118

 

6 of 56

SYA @various gyms in the Clifton/Centreville area

 

 

Team Planned

74 of 113

89 of 118

18 of 61

 

Tier One @Potomac Athletic Center in Ashburn

 

Team Planned

20 of 117

Team Planned

Team Planned

Team Planned

 

VA Juniors @Cassel's Sports in Herndon

 

7 or 69

3 of 117

2 of 113

8 of 118

2 of 61

3 of 56

VA Volleyball Academy @Cassel's Sports in Herndon

 

 

 

Team Planned

92 of 118

Team Planned

 

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

9 of 52

Team Planned

11 of 117

33 of 117

5 of 113

42 of 113

24 of 118

14 of 61

19 of 56

Virginia Elite @The Madeira School in McLean

 

18 of 69

28 of 117

4 of 113

5 of 118

16 of 61

4 of 56

Virginia Fusion @The Campus in Sterling

 

39 of 69

83 of 117

47 of 113

40 of 118

27 of 61

 

Virginia Top Team @Cassel's Sports in Herndon

 

 

Team Planned

29 of 113

25 of 118

Team Planned

18 of 56

Virginia United @Bishop O'Connell HS in Arlington

 

 

 

Team Planned

Team Planned

 

 

WYSC @Vint Hill CC in Warrenton

Team Planned

Team Planned

 

 

 

 

 

Western Loudoun @Foxcroft School in Middleburg

 

27 of 69

56 of 117

20 of 113

52 of 113

60 of 118

25 of 61

 

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 - 2018 Season

Club Name and Primary Practice Location

U12

U13

U14

U15

U16

U17

U18

Arlington Elite @Kids Choice Sports in Annandale

 

Team Planned

161 of 248

Team Planned

109 of 353

Team Planned

 

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

Northern Fauquier (NFVBC) @Village Green CC in Warrenton

 

 

 

 

Proposed U15/16
Team Canceled

 

 

Western Loudoun @Foxcroft School in Middleburg

 

 

196 of 248

 

265 of 353

 

 

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!!