Michelle Abt, Johns Hopkins University, Virginia Elite Class of 2015
"There are many unique aspects of Virginia Elite that prepare their athletes for collegiate level volleyball and life beyond. First, the intensity and volume of practice results in development of time management skills that prove crucial for future success. Next, the in depth recruiting process they have all their athletes undertake was a key reason that I was able to play collegiate volleyball at Johns Hopkins University. Additionally, the experience of “cold-calling” collegiate coaches is something that I have drawn on at internships and in preparation for interviews or professional experience. Finally, Virginia Elite provides the opportunity to play against strong competition. In the practice gym, you are scrimmaging against girls that are older and younger than you, and at tournaments we were always registered in the most competitive environment. This experience helped prepare me for collegiate volleyball, where you are playing with girls up to four years older or younger than you. Thank you Virginia Elite!"
Taylor van der Biezen, Marist College, Virginia Elite Class of 2015
"I am so thankful for finding my dream school at Marist College. I have found success both on the court and in the classroom. I owe a lot of my accomplishments to the important skills I have learned through volleyball, specifically during my time at Virginia Elite. The drills, position trainings, games, punishments, and intensity in the gym mimics that of a college atmosphere. Virginia Elite not only prepared me athletically, but also for my life outside of the gym. From time management skills to talking on the phone with adults to learning how to travel and navigate through airports, Virginia Elite coaches a true student-athlete who can excel both on and off the court."
Kace Boland, Virginia Elite Class of 2019
"An injury I sustained on the field before my freshman year of high school took more from me than my soccer career. After being cleared to play a different sport nearly two years later, I walked into Virginia Elite’s gym for my first touches on a volleyball dejected and exhausted. I didn’t expect much to come of it. At fifteen years old, I was relatively late to the game, and I was convinced that the passion I once had for soccer was irreplaceable. The staff at Virginia Elite immediately saw past my frail frame and recognized my work ethic and will to win. It took me months to realize why they were throwing me into drills with collegiate prospects. My inability to pull my weight on the court made each training session an unfamiliar and frustrating challenge. Thankfully, however, the warmth, patience, and drive of the Elite family drew me back to the gym every week until tryouts. I accepted a spot on the 16’s team that year.
Much about the club is exactly the same as it was when I accepted my spot three years ago. The demand placed on my mind and body each time I enter the gym remains intense, and I am always pushed to my limits. The caliber of play still gives me butterflies in my stomach on the way to practice, and the staff still fulfills my insane requests to be coached through countless hours of extra reps in preparation for tournaments. The club’s tradition of commitment to its core values has fostered what is undoubtedly the most competitive and close-knit club volleyball atmosphere in the region. However, while Virginia Elite’s mission to develop exceptional athletes and individuals hasn’t changed, it has certainly changed me.
I barely recognize the girl I was when I walked into Virginia Elite’s gym for my first touches on a volleyball. The unwavering support of the entire club encourages our athletes to conquer seemingly insurmountable obstacles, building confidence, resilience, and perseverance. The training curriculum, designed and implemented by some of the most knowledgeable coaches in club volleyball, allows for athletic development at an astounding pace. The unparalleled recruiting support creates opportunities for us to excel at the next level while building independence and communication skills. I have formed lifelong friendships and found role models that not only believe in me unconditionally, but have taught me to believe in myself. The term “family” is frequently used to describe the club’s dynamic, and we do not take it lightly; each and every coach and athlete deeply and genuinely cares about one another. The investment of the Virginia Elite family has molded me into a strong, healthy, and vivacious individual, completely changing the trajectory of my life. That is, above all, what sets Virginia Elite apart from every other club in the nation. The lessons and values instilled in my teammates and me throughout our time here will remain a part of our identity long after we leave. I will forever be grateful to have been able to wear an Elite jersey."
Sydney Busa, Elon University, Virginia Elite Class of 2014
"I decided to tryout for Virginia Elite my freshman year in high school, and I can confidently say it was one the best decisions in my life thus far. At 14 years old, I don’t think I fully understood what I was about to join and I’m forever grateful for the people I met during those next four years.
Virginia Elite is centered around their family ideals. Because there is only one team per age group, each team to bonded as a family, and VA Elite created a tight-knit atmosphere among the whole club. You spend so many hours in the gym each week with everyone, and so it was much more enjoyable being around some of my best friends. Elite started the Big Sister/Little Sister program while I was still playing for them, and over the last few years, I’ve seen how much growth and success that program has achieved. It further integrates the older and younger girls, adding to the family atmosphere of the club. I graduated high school five years ago, but even now when I go back to Madeira, I still feel welcomed and a part of the family.
Elite takes the time to invest in not only the top players athletically, but also to find some of the best people. Several of my fondest memories of high school are from volleyball tournaments. I even skipped my senior prom to go to the Northern Lights Qualifier in Minneapolis, and if that doesn’t say how much I enjoyed my team and volleyball, I don’t know what does. My 17s and 18s year we had pretty much the same team, with the addition of one girl my senior year. We were dubbed “The Supers” by our coach, Andy Halaz. We each got to pick out a superhero, and instead of wearing the club warmup shirts for matches, we would wear our superhero shirt. Small things like that made my experience so exceptional. I like to think my class was a special one for Elite (and I’m sure every player thinks the same of theirs), but we left a lasting legacy: our music videos. I don’t know who thought of the idea or why we all thought we could be music video stars. We were such a close group of girls, that I think that’s why we all felt comfortable enough to do something silly like run around the hotel and downtown Atlanta filming ourselves singing. Let me tell you, the pressure was real our 18s year to produce another video. I think we put it off until one of the last tournaments and even that weekend, we put most of the filming off until we were at the airport flying home. We got some of the weirdest looks at the airport, but it was so worth the funny stares and reactions from strangers. Even now, when I want to remember the good ole days, I’ll go on YouTube to re-watch those videos. (And if you get bored, you can watch them too:
Back to the more serious things. One of the most important decisions I made in high school was where I would go to college. Volleyball recruiting starts early—I was 15 years old deciding where I would go to school. Needless to say, I had no idea what I wanted out of my college education. I remember Coach Z having us create these massive spreadsheets outlining what schools we were interested in and talking to, when and who we made contact with, notes on each and every conversation, and what our next move was. In the moment, I was bothered by the additional volleyball homework I had on top of my school work, often putting it off until the day before each tournament when it was “due,” but by being so thorough and starting early, I was able to find Elon University. Elon was truly the right school for me, not just for volleyball but for the school itself. Elite works with each player individually to make sure every girl ends up in the right place, whether that is a small, private school like Elon, a large state school, a military academy, an ivy, or a DIII school that has the perfect major for you. Whatever it is you want, Elite will do the best to find the right fit for volleyball, and more importantly, the right school for you. One of the many things that was reiterated over and over again is deciding on the school for the school, and not just for the volleyball program. Unfortunately, volleyball careers can be cut short, whether from injury, a change in coaching staff, or for academic reasons. I saw it happen to some of my teammates. And yet, they didn’t transfer because they still liked the school for the school. How, at such a young age, are you able to know where you want to go to school? Without the guidance from the coaches, I don’t think I would have been able to make such a monumental life decision.
Virginia Elite is truly a step above everyone else for so many reasons. And maybe I am biased because I spent four years with the club. But if you look at how much the club invests in its players and the experience you receive as a player, why would you go anywhere else."
Taylor Davis, Colgate University, Virginia Elite Class of 2019
"Virginia Elite is not just a club, it is a family. Virginia Elite’s training goes beyond the court. I have been apart of this club since my 13s year, and I have learned so much that I will keep with me throughout the rest of my life. Virginia Elite stresses the importance of how you do the little things is how you do everything. Not only does this apply to volleyball skills, but life skills as well. Because of Virginia Elite, I have learned how to lead my teammates, friends, family, peers, and myself to success, and how to balance my time and life outside of volleyball. The training is holistic. I like how from a young age I was able to try every position and learn every skill. The coaches genuinely care. They have pushed me to my limits on and off the court, and showed me a side of myself that I did not know existed. Virginia Elite has a dedicated recruiting program, and they give you every opportunity possible to play at the next level. Virginia Elite produces athletes that are the true embodiment of what it means to be “elite”, and I wouldn’t have wanted to spend my club career anywhere else. Elite has set me up for success in my future and I cannot thank this club enough for all they have done for me. WE ARE…!"
Deidre Flemming, Virginia Elite Parent, Class of 2025
"Extraordinary technical instruction from coaches dedicated to developing outstanding volleyball players and outstanding young women. Virginia Elite provides excellent instruction to its Summer/Prep Camp and Middle School Program attendees, and to club members, alike. The player-coach ratio is phenomenally small, and every coach brings his/her 'A Game' to every training session, whether during the club season or in the many clinics that are run.
Virginia Elite's training is physically and mentally challenging, but never age or skill inappropriate, given the age group involved. Club players are easily prepared for the rigors of multi-day, open-level competition tournaments. Elite's training approach encourages players to venture outside their comfort zone, rewarding them for taking risks in training to improve their technical abilities and succeed during competition. This focus on technical development, rather than 'outcome,' empowers players to take risks and attempt and eventually succeed at executing more advanced skills. This approach also urges players to recognize and encourage other players who are attempting more advanced skills in the pursuit of improving their game. It has greatly aided the development of our daughter's 'Volleyball IQ.' It also produces incredibly well-rounded players who, in addition to training in their primary positional assignments, are prepared to execute all the essential skills: passing, hitting, setting, and serving.
Club practices, clinics, and programs are incredibly well-organized and well-executed by the numerous coaches in attendance, ensuring that players are constantly engaged and challenged. Players are never left wondering about the goals and expected end state of a practice or an individual drill: the goals are clearly communicated, well in advance of each club practice, and the players are vested with the responsibility for executing the game plan. As parents, we are delighted to see coaches constantly circulating and positioned to provide immediate feedback, never missing an opportunity to make technical spot corrections.
Finally, Virginia Elite's culture emphasizes inclusion and support of all players. Coaches, players, and parents genuinely care for each other. Elite strongly supports the goal of developing not only outstanding volleyball players, but also outstanding young women who value and respect others and who are poised, articulate, and confident. Combine this club culture with superior technical training and coaching dedication and you have the finest volleyball program we, as parents, could hope for. Our daughter is a better volleyball player and a better young lady because of the training she has received at Virginia Elite."
Olivia Franke, Wake Forest University, Virginia Elite Class of 2020
"I started playing at Virginia Elite when I was in sixth grade. When I first started volleyball, I could barely get my serve past the ten foot line on the same side of the net. The only thing I had going for me was my height. I didn’t know how to run any middle attacks, much less that there were even different positions. However, because of the amazing coaches and players at Virginia Elite, I have been given the opportunity to continue my volleyball career in college.
I love being in the gym. Even after having an awful day at school, I instantly feel better when I walk into the gym and that doesn’t happen by accident. My teammates and coaches make me want to be there. Even after the hardest practice, I am still coming out of the gym with a giant smile because while I’m profusely sweating, I’m having fun with my coaches and club-mates.
The training from the coaches are not what made me stay at Elite for six years (in my opinion, there is no other club in Northern Virginia that could compare), it was the life lessons I learned and the culture of the club. At first, I was a quiet girl on the court, but through the years, I was able to gain a voice and became one of the most vocal players. However, I did not only grow as a player on the court, but also as a person. Being at Elite, you are given multiple resources to help you choose a college. I was encouraged to go outside my comfort zone by having conversations with college coaches over the phone. Going forward in life, I will be much more comfortable with new experiences because Elite pushed me out of my comfort zone.
Due to the help Elite has given me, I have verbally committed to an amazing school, and I can’t wait to start my college career. However, I know that I will always have a home to come back to at Elite. Because of the big sister, little sister opportunity, I have been fortunate enough to meet players from all different age groups. I still talk to my “big sister” from my 15’s year. Now being the big sister myself, I hope to give my “little” the same amazing experience my “sister” gave me. Both the players and coaches at Elite truly care about you as a player and a person. I would not be the same as I am today without them."
Daniela Gleason, Virginia Elite Parent, Class of 2020
"Virginia Elite is so much more than a volleyball club! VAE has been a second home for my daughter for the last 3.5 years. When she started with the club her 14’s year, we never knew she would be gaining so much more than volleyball skills. The culture at VAE pushes athletes to be better on and off the court. From a young age, girls are taught the power of goal setting, accountability, commitment and leadership. They are pushed to be the best version of themselves in every way. The caliber of coaching and the individualized training and attention my daughter has received has been unbelievable. Expectations are set high, but so is the level of care and support available to every athlete who is willing to put in the work. Coaches and club management really do care about every single girl in the gym.
Another benefit of playing at Virginia Elite has been their awesome Recruiting program. They have supported my daughter’s aspirations of playing volleyball in college in so many ways! They have provided guidance on making the first call/ emails to coaches, opportunities to connect with alumnae that are playing or have played in college, hosted several panels with college coaches to help address what is truly like to play in all divisions, and have been court-side ready to talk to coaches that might come see her play.
Above all, VAE is family. I am so grateful that we have found this club. My daughter is a better person because of it."
Valerie and Titus Jeffries, Virginia Elite Parent, Class of 2017
"We are incredibly appreciative for Virginia Elite’s commitment to our daughter, Simone. VAE is credited for helping her realize 100% of her goals. As a multi-sport athlete, Simone joined the VA Elite family during her Junior year of high school. The collective coaching staff provided a nurturing, fun, yet challenging environment to develop her skills, exposed her to competition outside of the metro area and provided immense college recruiting support. All of this culminated in Simone advancing to earn a phenomenal college education while playing the sport she loves. VAE continues to stay connected and care for her — just like family. We offer our strongest endorsement. VAE is ideal for those seeking a positive volleyball program while preparing for success in life."
Sabrina Lancaster, Lehigh University, Virginia Elite Class of 2017
"I have played with Virginia Elite for five years, and it has been the most enriching experience of my adolescence. The reason I stayed with the club for my entire junior volleyball career was not only because of the opportunity to compete at a level that allowed me to play collegiate volleyball today, but because of the lessons they teach to help young women develop leadership, maturity, and professionalism.
I look back on my time as an athlete with Virginia Elite, and I begin to appreciate all the steps that were taken to ensure that I became an accountable, responsible adult while recruiting to play at the collegiate level. The environment is not only that of a professional workplace, but that with a deep rooted sense of family and community. I have built lifelong friendships with people that I have met through the club. The staff is committed to creating meaningful relationships with the athletes while pushing them to be the best person they can be."
Emmaline Walters, University of Illinois, Virginia Elite Class of 2017
"Virginia Elite is the club to play for in Northern Virginia! All of the coaches at each level are incredibly knowledgeable about volleyball and bring so much experience to the table. And they are concerned with more than just winning as a team and really focus on each player’s development. There is not only individualized work in practice as needed, but coaches are willing to work with you one-on-one and devote as much time, before or after practice, as needed to help you develop your skill set. But not only are they wonderful technical coaches, they are great people as well. Each coach cares equally about your growth as a volleyball player, and as a person. I especially enjoyed how effectively practices were run. Coaches always had a well-thought out plan and I never felt like we wasted any of our practice time. The Virginia Elite staff honestly care about each player’s future and work hard to help you get recruited if you’re interested in playing at the next level. There was an organized system in place that helped you keep track of coaches and programs you had contacted, which ones might be interested in you, and it really made the whole recruiting process a lot less stressful for me. I can’t thank Virginia Elite enough for all they’ve done and continue to do for me. I’d recommend Virginia Elite to anyone. I’ll always be a proud VA Elite Alum!"