In the summer of 2013, Janiece Wieschhaus decided she wanted to put her coaching experience to use running her own club, and St. Louis Crossfire Elite was born. Crossfire is a Christian-based club, and its foundational principles – Have Fun. Play Hard. Honor God. – are the core of its philosophy and training, and the key to providing a great experience for their athletes and families.
“Our club is based on the concept of family and faith,” Janiece says. “We just want the kids to love the sport all of us involved have enjoyed for years.” The formula seems to be working, since Crossfire has grown from just three teams and 27 players in 2013 to more than 20 teams and well over 200 players today.”
Things have changed a lot since those early days. Crossfire was able to implement a “Levels of play” structure for the girls’ club program, with teams classified as national, regional and local-based, dependent on player skill and commitment level. Crossfire added a boys’ club program in 2016, and in its second year it has grown to five boys’ teams. And to top it all off, Crossfire had its first taste of nationals last year, sending two teams to the AAU National Tournament and one doubles team to USAV Junior Beach Tour Championships.
One unique aspect of Crossfire’s offering is to promote love for the sport of volleyball for anyone who wants to play. For the last several years, it has helped kids who can’t commit to club play the sport by offering a recreation division called Impact, training coaches and athletes for play in a local municipal league year-round. The Impact program has also provided a fall competition schedule for middle school players, because there is no public middle school volleyball in their area. For the first time this past fall, Impact included competitive play for high school girls who either didn’t make their teams or chose not to play high school volleyball. Finally, the Impact Summer Performance Program, run by fellow directors James Egbert and Mike Sanders, keeps Crossfire’s volleyball operation running all year long.
As they proceed into the next phase, Crossfire is focused on enhancing the club experience by providing new services to the athletes and their families. Plans to add a college recruiting element for aspiring high school players is first on the list of new programs; broadening the offering for more boys’ teams and for younger players of both genders (6 years and up) is key to expanding the club’s reach. Classroom programs on character building and leadership are on the horizon for Crossfire as well. Finally, and most importantly, establishing a main facility for the club to train, learn, play and grow together is chief among the objectives Crossfire is dedicated to marking off its list.
“It is important that as this family grows, we have one home base that everyone can be connected to. We are in pursuit of that opportunity and hope to provide it soon”, said James.
“That is a huge piece to accomplish our mission, to build value and partner with parents in developing confident kids with great character through the game of volleyball.”
St. Louis Crossfire Elite is a member of the Junior Volleyball Association, an organization committed to enhancing the junior volleyball experience for club directors, coaches, players and fans.