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NC Elite 2021 Tryouts - Team Development, Pod Training and Competition

As per our 2021 Strategic Plan (see below to review), we will continue to take a measured, cautious approach to the 2021 club volleyball season, putting the health and safety of players and coaches as our first priority.  We continually monitor the health status locally, regionally and nationally, adjusting our approach as necessary based on analysis and review of the health data, state and local mandates, and following the recommendations of the CDC and NC DHHS.  Additionally, we continue to monitor the feasibility and safety of tournament competition as well as cancellations and postponements.  At this time, due to the worsening health conditions locally, across the state and nationally, as well as the increasing incidence of tournament cancellations and postponements (including City of Oaks, Carolina Region January tournaments, MLK National Qualifier, Music City National Qualifier, Colorado Crossroads National, etc.), NC Elite will remain in an in-house training phase.  We continue to monitor and assess moving toward tournament play for those interested, potentially in Spring or early Summer. 

What does that mean for tryouts and team formation?
We will hold tryouts during the first week of January.  See below for tryout dates, times and location.  We will move forward with building pods and teams so that players and coaches will have the opportunity to train together and with age and skill-matched teammates, as well as prepare for competition should tournaments become an option.  Please note that we will offer practice player positions on each team to accommodate those players who are looking only for a training option this year and are not interested in tournaments should they become available.    

When are Tryouts?
12/13U Tryouts - Session Closed


14U Tryouts -  Session Closed

15U Tryouts -  Session Closed

16-18U Tryouts -  Session Closed
(Overflow tryouts, if required TBD January 16/17th)

All tryouts will be held at Saint Mary's School, 900 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh NC

How will training be managed?
Once we have selected players, we will train in pods with other players that are age and/or skill matched.  This will allow for break outs into teams to participate in competitive activities during practice and training.

When and where will we train?
All training will be held at Saint Mary's School, Raleigh.  Saint Mary's School follows the same safety protocols as NC Elite and provides a safe environment where we can train in defined groups and with limited exposure.  Pod training will be held weeknights, primarily Monday - Thursday and on Saturdays.  Add-on/skills training sessions, competition days and make-up pod training sessions will be held on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.  Final training schedules will be developed once we have assessed our training pods and skill levels.  (Please note that Saint Mary's School, as NC Elite, will follow all State and Local Executive Orders, and thus will train in masks and may have training interruptions due to the pandemic.)

Are tournaments an option?
At this time, due to the local, regional and national health situation, as well as the current (and anticipated future) cancellation and postponement of many Carolina Region and National tournaments, we are not committing to a tournament schedule.  We will continue to monitor and build proposed schedules.  Should we see feasibility of building a tournament schedule, likely in Spring or early Summer, we will build a schedule and associated cost for those interested in competing.  By training in age and skill-matched training pods, players interested in playing in tournaments will be prepared once there is availability.   

Who will my coach be?
Coaching assignments will be made to coaching pods.  Each pod will have one Master Coach (CLICK HERE to review our Master Coach Roster) assigned to the pod who will lead programming, as well as a Lead Training Coach.  Pods will be coached via team coaching, with multiple coaches working across each pod (CLICK HERE to review our full Coach Roster).   This will allow players within the pod to be exposed to multiple coaching and communication styles and absorb the collective knowledge of the group.  Once (and if) tournament participation becomes an option, specific coaches will be assigned to each team.  

What if the State of NC closes gyms and youth sports temporarily or training is otherwise paused by NC Elite or Saint Mary's School due to the pandemic?  
NC Elite will pro-rate costs in the event of closure due to the State of NC mandates, or a pause in programming determined by NC Elite our facility due to the pandemic.  No refunds are provided for otherwise missed sessions.  

How is the program structured and what is the cost of participation?

NC Elite 2021 Teams and Pods

12-13U Age Group :  12-13 White
Master Coach:  John Dillinger
Lead Training Coach:  Joe McClean
14U Age Group:  14 Black Pod
Master Coach:  Gary DeJames
Lead Training Coaches:  Brendan Smith, Gary DeJames
14U Age Group:  14 Red Pod
Master Coach:  Gary DeJames
Lead Training Coaches:  Brendan Smith, Gary DeJames
14U Age Group:  14 White Pod
Master Coach:  Gary DeJames
Lead Training Coaches:  Brendan Smith, Joe McClean
15U Age Group:  15 Black Pod
Master Coach:  Sandy Merkel DeJames
Lead Training Coaches:  Virginia Fitch, Haley Price
15U Age Group:  15 White Pod
Master Coach:  Sandy Merkel DeJames
Lead Training Coaches:  Virginia Fitch, Haley Price
16U Age Group:  16 Red Pod
Master Coach:  Sandy Merkel DeJames
Lead Training Coaches:  Virginia Fitch, Haley Price
17-18U Age Group:    17-18 Black Pod
Master Coach:  Gary DeJames
Lead Training Coaches:  Brendan Smith, Haley Price

(CLICK HERE to check your USAV Age Definition.)

NC Elite 2021 Programs and Fees

NC Elite Black and NC Elite Red Teams:

  • Highest competitive levels / National competition
  • Training Season is  January - July 1
  • 2x practices / week
  • up to 2 skill-specific training sessions / month
  • 4x half day play days (in-house competition or invitational)
  • 2 practice T's
  • Cost:  $2375
    Payment 1 (due by January 15th):      $950.00
    Payment 2 (due by February 15th):   $712.50
    Payment 3 (due by March 15th):         $712.50


NC Elite White and NC Elite Silver Teams:

  • Intermediate competitive levels / Regional (+) competition
  • Training Season is  January - April 1
  • 2x practices / week
  • up to 2 skill-specific training sessions / month
  • 2x half day play days (in-house competition or invitational)
  • 2 practice T's
  • Cost:  $1375
    Payment 1 (due by January 15th):      $687.50
    Payment 2 (due by February 15th):    $687.50


2021 Strategic Plan

NC Elite 2020-2021 Season Q & A

Q1:  Why has NC Elite decided to delay the start of the competitive club season?  It is increasingly clear that club and school volleyball will continue to be disrupted for the 2020-2021 seasons.  We believe that rushing (or accelerating) the 2020-2021 club season is misguided.  NC Elite is fortunate to be operationally, organizationally and financially stable, allowing us to make decisions based on what we feel is the safest and most responsible for the current health situation.  While all activity has associated risk, we remain committed to, and financially positioned to, make our decisions on training and competing based on what we feel is in the best interest of players, families, coaches, staff and the broader community, not leading with financially-based or financially-pressured decisions.  Given the litany of uncertainties going forward with regard to the pandemic (particularly during cold and flu season), tournament schedules, college recruiting schedules, school reopening, high school and middle school athletics and individual family financial standing, we have chosen to delay the formation of teams, and therefore any significant financial commitment by our families, until we can see a path forward with some certainty on deliverables in return for financial commitment.   We will continue to run safe training programs throughout the Fall and Winter, pandemic permitting, to allow athletes to continue with training in a way that accommodates the breadth of school and high school volleyball schedules and does not require an up-front significant financial commitment from parents.  See our UPDATES page for additional information.  

Q2:  I can see the High School season is November through January, but when is the Middle School season?  Middle School Volleyball Season dates have been moved in most counties to 2021.  Season dates have yet to be released.  NC Elite will continue to follow changes in the Middle School Volleyball schedules as we plan for the competitive club season.  

Q3:  What is registration-based team development?  NC Elite is offering players / player groups who want to be on a competitive club team, but are not yet training or interested in tryouts, to register with NC Elite and be considered for a team of appropriate age and ability.   For players interested in this option who are new to NC Elite, we will review your  past playing experience and begin player evaluation at one of our training programs.  Once teams are formed, and depending on the development level and age of the team, a practice schedule, tournament schedule and affiliated costs will be proposed.  Anticipated season start will be January 2021.  Teams will be finalized during the tryout period.  

Q4:  What is the Pre Season Evaluation Period?  The Pre Season Evaluation Period is the time during which players can be evaluated for registration-based teams.

Q5:  What teams will NC Elite be fielding?  Over NC Elite's 12 year history, we have offered Premier National, National, Regional+, Regional and Local teams.  Given the uncertainties heading into the 2020-2021 season, team offerings will be determined over the months leading into the tryout period.  Determinations will be made based on local, regional and national health conditions as well as the goals and preferences of the athletes and their families.  Program guides will be developed as the tryout period nears and as we develop registration-based teams.  NC Elite's long history of fielding teams in all age groups and at all levels positions us to quickly and assuredly manage rapid transition into the competitive season.  

Q6:  Who are the NC Elite Coaches?  Over the past year, optimizing the NC Elite Administrative, Leadership and Coaching Staff to align with the NC Elite core values and create a positive, competitive and learning environment has been a key strategic focus.  We began with building an new Administrative and LEADERSHIP TEAM last year, finalizing this initiative with the hiring of Haley Price as Director this summer.  Now we release for the 2020-2021 season the NC Elite Coaching Staff that we feel provides the organization with a team aligned with our core values and our measured approach to the upcoming season, also providing a strong foundation and culture for our future.  CLICK HERE for the NC Elite Coach Roster!  Specific team assignments for our coaches will be announced as we near team formation.

Q7:  Where is NC Elite operating?  NC Elite has now diversified our training facilities to de-risk against sole source access during the pandemic, and to expand our access to indoor and outdoor training facilities, as well as fitness and weight training facilities.  Currently, we are running outdoor activities and will continue to do so through October or until the beginning of high school training.   Indoor facilities include NetSports, Saint Mary's School, Meredith College.  Outdoor facilities include Saint Mary's School, Jaycee Park, Baileywick Park.  See our LOCATIONS page for more information.  

Q8:  Where can I register for NC Elite programs?  All open programs currently open are listed below with program details and registration links.  Upcoming programs will also be listed below as more information is available.  

Q9:  How can I stay updated on NC Elite programs?  You can register to receive NC Elite communications HERE.  Please be sure to monitor you spam folder or adjust your settings if you are new to NC Elite or SportsEngine, or if you feel you are not receiving regular updates.  Also, information is frequently updated on the NC Elite website, so check back often!

Q10:  How can a get additional information and guidance?  While we do not have all of the answers at this time given the uncertainties and purposeful delays in decision-making as we continue to monitor the health situation, additional questions can be asked by email info@ncelitevb.org.  (Be sure to check your spam folder and settings if you are awaiting a response!)