SportStars Magazine

Xceleration Volleyball: At Home in the East Bay

Xceleration Volleyball Club’s Family-First Approach Gets Major Upgrade •

Jim Ross knows it sounds corny.

Yet, the club partner and former director of Xceleration Volleyball Club — a mainstay in the East Bay for more than a decade now — says it anyway.

“We’re a club who cares,” he says.

It goes a little bit beyond that though.

“When people think about Xceleration, I want them to think we’re not a big global club,” Ross continued. “We’re a local-based club that simply wants to help girls in our region who want to play and improve at volleyball.”

And if that’s the mission statement, then it’s mission accomplished so far.

Ross and fellow club partner Andy Schroeder found their way to Xceleration approximately 12 years ago after Schroeder coached Ross’s daughter Kelsey as a 13-year-old. Kelsey Ross is now 26. Schroeder is now the club’s coaching development director and is beginning his 10th season co-coaching the club’s highest level team, 18 Blue, with Jeremy Swann. The duo is the Bay Area’s longest tenured club coaches for the 18s level.

“We discovered early on that we had the same beliefs and philosophies,” Jim Ross said of Schroeder. “It’s never a question of ‘Is there an end result in this for me?’ It’s always about the girls. I wouldn’t be with any club that had any other philosophy than our own.”

For the 2018 season, the club will take its biggest step forward to date as its entire operation finally moves under just one roof. The Xceleration Sports Facility will open in Martinez on December 1.

After several years of being spread across three separate practice spaces in Concord, Pleasant Hill and Alameda, the club will be taking over one half of the massive NorCal Courts complex in Martinez. The conversion to a full volleyball facility includes three brand new all-purpose courts installed by Rhino Courts. It will also include team rooms, offices and an area for parents to relax during practices.

The luxury of the entire club being centrally located is the biggest plus, however.

“This creates the consistency and continuity we needed,” Schroeder said. “It accentuates the family atmosphere of everyone under one roof.”

Swann, who also works with younger players at the club and will co-coach a 12s team with his wife Gayle this season, loves the benefit of having the younger players being at the same facility as the oldest.

“In the past, we were always on just one court and we’d be spread out all over the place,” Swann said. “(The younger kids) were never really able to see the older kids play, practice and scrimmage. That can be an eye-popping experience. … Seeing what it takes to get to the next level is important for them.”

There’s been plenty of success at those upper levels over the years. Shroeder and Swann have qualified teams for USA Volleyball Junior Nationals as well as the AAU National Championships. But perhaps what Schroeder and Swann are even more proud of is how many of their players leave them to play at the next level.

And that’s almost 100 percent the work of Ross, who works as the club’s college recruitment director. He’s helped build a database of more than 400 college coaches and programs who are aware of Xceleration and its players.

“We’re not here to get them scholarships, but we’re here to present them with options,” Ross said. “Whether it’s volleyball or academic, we just want them to have options. If they work with us, they’re going to have options.”

Schroeder said: “Every single kid who has come through our program and played through 18s and has wanted to play college ball, they’ve played college ball. They’re not all getting paid to play, but they’ve found a home to further their student-athlete career.”

And now Xceleration has it’s home. And it’s ready to bring in new family members to care about.

For more information on Xceleration Volleyball Club, visit xcelerationvbc.com.

— Chace Bryson

 

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