Minnesota Select was founded late in 2003 for the 2004 junior volleyball season. The club fielded 12 teams during that first year and has grown steadily over the past two decades to its current size of 56 teams, 41 girls’ teams and 15 boys’ teams, making it the largest club in the state of Minnesota.
Over the last several years, MN Select has also worked really diligently to service the fast-growing boys’ volleyball population in Minnesota – essentially on an island as a club program. This year, the boys’ program includes 15 teams, a summer league, and a fall league that outside teams can participate in. The boys program teams range from 12s up to 18s with the youngest player just turning 10-years-old. MN Select works closely with the MN Boys High School Volleyball Association to give all boys an opportunity to play in Minnesota, whether that is traveling to club tournaments, high school club and/or boys leagues. Boys drive from all over the state for the chance to play. The HS association has grown from 22 schools in 2018 to around 50 this year; through the partnership, MN Select has gone from 1 team in 2016 to 15 teams this 2022 season.
The club is committed to creating safe spaces, building inclusive relationships, celebrating our differences, and connecting one another through anti-racist, gender-inclusive, and equitable actions in pursuit of equality. Since the murder of George Floyd, MN Select has developed a robust Equity Action Plan with the assistance of the Lockstep Collaborative that they are working diligently to execute now and in future seasons. In May 2020, Club Director Scott Jackson, and his staff began spending time reflecting on how they, as an organization, can better serve athletes, families, and coaches of Color, and work to dismantle systemic racism and create an even more inclusive culture at Select.
In Minnesota Select’s Statement of Inclusion and Code of Conduct it states that “an athlete must first feel emotionally safe and be in a trusted environment in order to thrive and do their best athletically.” The club asks for their athletes’ and families’ cooperation and commitment to advancing equity and inclusion at Select and beyond.
The club leadership held listening sessions with families to gain insight and perspective and to develop specific anti-racism action steps. A little over a year ago, MN Select engaged with close to 100 coaches and staff to gather additional insight, identify opportunities and share resources. And, we have gathered with a Focus Group of Players and Families – specifically BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), LGBTQ and allies as they worked toward the development of an Equity Action Plan. This Equity Action Plan has now largely been completed with 37 specific anti-racist and inclusive actions to be implemented now and continually over the next few years. They will continue to evaluate and adjust The Plan.
“The Equity Action Plan takes us beyond words and intent and moves us collectively into measurable action – with short, mid & long term goals, identified resources, and accountability,” states Minnesota Select Director Scott Jackson.
Minnesota Select capitalizes on its strong relationship with the JVA to provide its coaches access to resources such as the Art of Coaching, etc. Coaches are mentored directly by MN Select Administration throughout the season with check ins, observations and meetings. From a culture standpoint, Minnesota Select leadership have worked really diligently to be available to their coaches and to their players and families. They view the relationships as partnerships – they value respectfully-provided feedback about how they are doing and value their members’ and coaches’ roles in making MN Select the best it can be.
The club consistently produces high level student-athletes who are committed to competing at the highest level. This past fall, MN Select had 80 alumni competing collegiately on women’s’ teams across all divisions of NCAA and NAIA. Last spring, 11 boys alumni competed collegiately.
As Minnesota Select leadership looks toward the future, the club is committed to growing their outstanding coaching staff by adding to their cadre of coaches, and developing their current staff to help them get closer to achieving their goals. The club strives to lead their community in equity and inclusion efforts, evolve with best practices in technology and our sport, and continuously look for ways to run their club more effectively and efficiently. In addition, the clubs aspires to look for best practices to augment their excellent training, recruiting efforts and culture on and off the court.
“At MN Select, we don’t focus on an end point as a goal for our club development, but rather on continuously improving and developing the athletes at our club, day in and day out, into fantastic volleyball players and citizens of our communities,” adds Jackson.
Minnesota Select (Maple Grove, MN) is a member of the Junior Volleyball Association, an organization committed to enhancing the junior volleyball experience for club directors, coaches, players, and fans.