As part of Crossfire Youth Sports, Crossfire Volleyball has 31 volleyball teams and 32 AAU basketball teams during the 2019 season and employs about 90 coaches between the two sports. Founded in 2003, the organization is based in Champlin, Minnesota, employs five staff members to serve approximately 650 team members in addition to those who participate in camps and programs in the spring, summer and fall.
“It’s a tremendous privilege to serve young athletes in the Twin Cities area through Crossfire Volleyball” shares Crossfire Director Tom Fuglestad. “Strong coaches are the foundation of Crossfire, and we place a premium on equipping our coaches for success. We believe all coaches are lifelong students of the game and always need to learn and grow in their ability to train the young volleyball athlete.”
Crossfire offers two levels of training for the coaches before and during the season, both on court skills training in addition to classroom training on important coaching concepts and club policies. Crossfire has many experienced coaches and feel it’s important to collaborate, train and develop their newer coaches. The club also depends on resources outside of the club to expand the knowledge of the coaching staff. University of Minnesota assistant volleyball coach Laura Kasey is a training consultant to Crossfire and has been out to train the coaches on two occasions this season.
The club supports the multi-sport athlete and takes measures to help them participate in our program. A local orthopedic surgeon once said the best thing an athlete can do to prevent physical injury is to play more than one sport. Single sport athletes have a greater tendency toward overuse injuries. Crossfire organizes “short season” teams, which offer a lower cost team experience. These teams conclude in early March, allowing athletes to develop their volleyball skills and also to play a different sport in the spring for their school. About one-third of our teams were short season in 2019. Athletes who compete in the full season are allowed to participate in a school sport at the same time that the club team is training.
It was a banner weekend for Crossfire Volleyball at the JVA World Challenge last weekend. Their 15-1 and 17-1 teams took first place in the club division in Louisville. “Crossfire teams have finished first in a number of tournaments over the years” said Fuglestad, “but bringing home two beautiful trophies from a prestigious event was very special”.
In the Twin Cities, Crossfire organizes 45 local volleyball tournaments that are JVA-sanctioned events. Two staff members, including Fuglestad, team up to run strong events that are very popular in the Twin Cities. Six facilities, including Crossfire Training Center, are used to host these tournaments. “Admittedly, on the front end we were nervous to increase the number of events in 2019 from about 30 to 45 while moving to a new affiliation with JVA” shares Fuglestad. “But everything went terrific. With a few exceptions and weather-related issues this year, most of our events filled early and were at capacity.”
From the beginning, Crossfire was established to be different in its approach and philosophy. While the club leadership is very serious about skill-specific training, they recognize that sports is a tremendous vehicle for teaching lessons of life and faith. Using an education parallel, Crossfire is similar to a private, Christian school where elements of faith are incorporated into the athletic training experience.
“Honoring God with our gifts and abilities, handling adversity, overcoming fear, building self-confidence, competing with integrity and exhibiting good sportsmanship are some of the faith and character-building lessons we seek to teach and reinforce” adds Fuglestad.
Crossfire is very encouraging of the concept of an “honor call”. If a player touched the ball on a block and the official didn’t see it, she is encouraged to report that to the 1st official. It’s never something the club mandates for players, but they have the freedom to make that call without any negative repercussions.
“Dozens of times over the years our players have made honor calls. Our club has received many emails and positive comments from people who have witnessed this act. It’s rarely seen in our sport and not always popular amongst officials and others in the volleyball community, but something we believe teaches an important lesson of integrity for those athletes who choose to make the call.”
Giving back to the community and considering the needs of others is also important to Crossfire. Each year teams pack meals for underserved and malnourished people around the world at Feed My Starving Children. Nearly 300 Crossfire players, parents and siblings gathered on a morning in early December just after teams were formed as a group bonding experience and a way to give to those less fortunate. Crossfire participates in another outreach to a school in Haiti called JAK Academy. Volleyball apparel and supplies are collected from Crossfire athletes each year and sent down to girls age 14-20 at the school. Simply receiving court shoes and comfortable clothing to participate is an appreciated gift to the students.
“Crossfire is grateful to be a JVA-sponsored club, which provides tremendous support for our club. JVA helps us provide a better training experience for our athletes through their educational resources, sponsorship program, quality tournament offerings, athlete recognition and awards, and strong customer support. Cooperating to meet the needs of young athletes, we look forward to our partnership with JVA for many years to come.”
Crossfire Volleyball is a member and Sponsor club of the Junior Volleyball Association, an organization committed to enhancing the junior volleyball experience for club directors, coaches, players, and fans.