Academy Volleyball Cleveland was founded in 2006 as a small regional club but grew rapidly to the largest club in the Ohio Valley Region as volleyball popularity and demand for better play grew in the Greater Cleveland area. AVC has competed in 5 national title matches winning one National Championship in 2015. AVC’s focus on continuously building a culture of discipline, consistency, and best volleyball coaching practices, plus their alignment with the goals of the JVA has earned the club the honor of winning JVA Club of the Month.
In 2006 when AVC first formed, the club ran 5 teams out of 1 high school and 1 middle school. In 2009 the club acquired it’s facility which initially had 3 courts. The club expanded it to 5 courts in 2012 with a new weight room/speed training facility, players lobby and several offices.
Today AVC has 55 girls teams ages 10-18. From 2009 to 2017 over 100 athletes have committed to play volleyball at the collegiate level. The success is a direct reflection on the club’s leadership. Club Director Paul Schiffer, is accompanied by his Leadership Council, which consists of 6 others: Brian Highfield, Brian Scipione, Sheree Harvey, Jeff Reaser, Mike Laffey, and Meredith Gromala. The Leadership Council meets formerly three to four times per year, and informally multiple times each week about various projects and responsibilities.
AVC offers 4 team levels for players to commit to: National, Elite, American, Regional.
The National level is for players who are 100% committed to playing at the collegiate level, and it is the most time and travel demanding. In addition to competing nationally and training from November through June, the players are also enrolled in a strength and agility program.
The Elite level has been there from the beginning and is what AVC considers a “National Light” classification. It’s for players to develop into National players. Most of the time, the teams are registered as American but play at the club level at a Qualifier. The teams are also entered into other multi-day tournaments such as Bluegrass. This way, the players get a taste of what it’s like to play at the National level. It fills a gap for players that aren’t quite ready for National level play or maybe they do not want to commit to a National travel schedule. Often, the Elite team players develop into National players in subsequent seasons.
The American level teams (13U-17U) train twice per week, and have a shorter season with most tournaments in the region. The Regional teams (10U-16U) also have a shorter season and only play in one day tournaments in Cleveland or Columbus.
Other than it’s slogan “we play for championships”, AVC focuses a lot on culture. The club recently implemented the concept of “connecting”. Connecting with your teammates and more importantly clubmates. All players take their water breaks in the players lobby, rather than on the side of their court, so that they have those moments to connect and be together, with their own teammates, as well as connect with other players. During training, players always call out the person’s name they are partnered with after a contact.
AVC is excited for it’s recent merger with Mintonette Sports, another JVA member club based in Columbus, Ohio. The partnership with Mintonette Sports is to share best practices, culture, and to move the sport forward in the Ohio area. A tradition adopted from it’s new partner, AVC implemented a morning meeting with all its teams at every tournament this season.
Academy Volleyball Cleveland is a member of the Junior Volleyball Association, an organization committed to enhancing the junior volleyball experience for club directors, coaches, players and fans. For more information about joining the JVA click here. For more information about JVA Awards click here.