During the 2014-15 academic school year, an estimated 6.2% of the 429,634 female high school volleyball players throughout the country went on to play volleyball at the college level. One in sixteen female volleyball players will go on to play at the collegiate level.
That year, sixteen females from the Carolina Union Volleyball Club committed to playing at the next level, good enough for nearly 30% of all their athletes that year. During a three year span, 43 of their female athletes have committed to play at the collegiate level.
And with the way our volleyball partners from Charlotte have been able to scale and grow over the last decade- they now consist of 30 teams that offer five levels of play in their own facilities- they will continue to be industry leaders in giving young athletes the opportunity to compete at a higher level.
John Brannon, Director of Carolina Union, says the secret is actually a lot easier said than done.
“It’s all about finding the right fit for the athletes,” he said. “There’s more to it than that, but the process all starts and ends with finding the right fit. What may work for one athlete, may not work for another.”
That “right fit” includes what is most important to the athlete, whether that be academic pursuits, athletics goals, or even campus life. John and his staff work with the kids to figure out what is best for them.
— CarolinaUVC (@CarolinaUVC) September 29, 2016
As a former college and high school volleyball coach in the state, John has been able to form strong relationships with numerous collegiate coaches throughout the region and the nation. He’s also able to build relationships from scratch through another unique procedure: surrounding himself with smart people.
“I like being surrounded by smart people. It just makes the entire process so much easier than it needs to be.”
Those smart people are some of the most experienced volleyball coaches in the region. The Carolina Union coaching staff has combined over 40 years of collegiate coaching experience. Their connections and extensive knowledge of the recruiting side of the game is something that John considers “invaluable.”
Another good portion of those smart people are Union alumni themselves. According to Tara Spurgeon, Club Administrator and Travel Coordinator, five former players are now coaches themselves.
“We really are a family here. We treat each other like family because we are one big one,” Tara said.
The club’s Instagram account features several pictures of weddings, trips, marriage proposals, and newborns just entering the world. It’s almost like a digital family photo album.
“From the moment they sign up, they will forever be a part of this family. I think that’s part of the reason a lot of the girls come back and help out whenever they can- whether it’s for one practice on their spring break or as a full time coach.”
Tara has seen Carolina Union grow at an incredible rate since she became a part of the program.
“When I joined [Carolina Union] in 2007, ’08, there were between six and eight teams. We shared facilities with a basketball program up until 2011. Now we’re at 30 teams, including a new boys team, as well as our own facilities.”
— CarolinaUVC (@CarolinaUVC) October 10, 2016
Tara understand the importance of technology in growing her program, but she also has a quick word of advice on growing your sports program.
“We have an amazing coaching staff, we have amazing people in the program, and we have amazing players. It really makes it easy when you have the right people so that things like growth and recruiting are really the by-product.”
That also means they work with the right people.
“My favorite part of LeagueApps is the staff. They’re always there to help me, no matter what I need, and at any time!”
Find the right fit. Surround yourself with smart people.