Madison affordable volleyball club needs more coaches to expand program

Madison Starlings Club Volleyball is aiming to make the popular high school sport more affordable.
Published: Nov. 18, 2022 at 6:54 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - A Madison volleyball club focused on competitive volleyball and affordability is looking for coaches so more players can participate.

Club volleyball can provide a year round experience for athletes who love the game, but the sport is increasingly expensive with team, traveling and try-out fees. On top of the cost, Madison Starlings Club Volleyball coaches said if an athlete wants to play varsity in high school, they need to play club all year round.

The Starlings aim to make competitive club volleyball more affordable with an entry fee of $500, but the club needs more coaches to grow as its popularity increases with a message of inclusivity.

Starlings volleyball club
Starlings volleyball club(NBC15)

Alexis Middleton is the club director and when she became involved with the organization, it was an open gym program that has since evolved into a competitive club with teams for players ages 12 and up. Middleton said the dream of playing high school or collegiate volleyball is not possible for some who cannot afford to pay for club.

”Typically with the resource disadvantage, that you are a different socioeconomic status, also comes with the racial disparity,” she said. ”And then comes the question of why is that the case? It’s not that they don’t like volleyball or are not interested, it’s not that they’re fundamentally not capable or doing it. It’s just the fact that they don’t have opportunities available to them.”

Other Madison club entry or team prices range from $1,300 to $3,000, and don’t always include travel, t-shirt and tryout fees. Not all clubs list their prices online.

”The game of volleyball has really evolved,” Starlings coach Franco Marcos said. “The club scene has made it so that our high school teams have become much stronger. Unfortunately, the game has become more affluent. A lot of kids can’t afford club and that’s why we’re here.”

Starlings volleyball club
Starlings volleyball club(NBC15)

Francos said he’s been involved in club volleyball since it started in Madison in 1986. He said without inclusive opportunities like Starlings, some athletes would not be able to participate in the sport. He and Middleton stressed that the biggest need is more coaches.

Setter Yuceli Guerraro Murillo will play her last season with Starlings and if she doesn’t participate in college volleyball, she plans to help volunteer or coach with her club.

”Starlings includes everybody. They don’t care about anyone’s income. They’re going to give everybody an opportunity and that’s what I love,” Guerrero Murillo said. ”We’ve got this diversity, we’ve got this culture to us. We’re not only teammates but we’re becoming family here so I love that.”

Director Middleton said they would like to hire two to five coaches to add teams and become more competitive. If interested, email madisonstarlings@gmail.com.

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