Frequently Asked Questions - Girls Program

What is the difference between Wildcat Jrs Elite and Regional Programs?
Elite teams will compete in 24-28 tournament days, including 3-4 highly competitive, multiday tournaments (overnights). Elite teams will practice 7 - 9 hours per week and will include intensive position training and plyometrics. Elite teams will compete in the Great Lakes Power League, 2 to 3 out-of-state events, and will attend the AAU Junior National Championships in Orlando, Florida in June. The elite season lasts 8 months, beginning in mid November and concluding in late June. Playing time is not guaranteed, but earned through performance.

Regional teams will compete in the Windy City Power League, which travels around differnt gym locations in the Chicagoland area, as well as an and of season overnight event in the Midwest. Regional teams will practice 4 hours a week and their season lasts 5 ½ months from November through April plus open gyms in October. Playing time is ensured in this program and, while still competitive, regional teams require a lesser time commitment.

For those players that wish to continue playing after the Regional season is finished, we offer a Spring season from April through mid-June. The Spring Program is open to all players (current Wildcat Jrs. and new players). The Spring season concludes with the Asics Jr. Championships (2 - 3 days depending on age level) held at Navy Pier in June. Registration for this program will open in February, and all players will need to attend the Spring season tryout in April.


Where do Wildcat Jrs. teams travel?
Both the elite and regional programs will play most of their tournaments in the Chicagoland area. The elite program will include 3-4 out-of-state national tournaments, including the AAU championships in Orlando. Last season, our elite teams traveled to Wisconsin, California, Iowa and Florida. Our Regional teams wil conclude with an out of state event in the Midwest for their season finishing tournament.


How many teams will Wildcat Jrs. have at each age group?
Wildcat Jrs. strives to be better vs. bigger than the rest, therefore we put all of our resources and efforts into 2 teams per age group (13s, 14s, 15s, 16s, 17s, and 18's) in  the Elite and  2 - 4 teams in the Regional programs. For example, in our 13's age group, we typically expect to have 2 travel teams and 3 regional teams, which would make five total teams for the 13's age group when counting both our Elite and Regional programs. As the 10s/11s/12s age groups are the entry point into travel volleyball, we do expand the number of teams offered each year. Number of teams for each age group will be determined during try outs.


When and where are the tryouts for Wildcat Jrs?
Tryouts for our 10's - 14's Elite and Regional programs are set for Sunday, October 1st at either Northfield Park District or the Athletico Center in Northbrook.  Registration will open on Sept. 1, 2017!  For more information: Tryout Dates/Times/Locations (coming soon!)


I cannot make a tryout date. What should I do?
If you know you can not make a tryout date, please contact Cassie at cassie@wildcatjuniors.com. Important Note: If you are a freshman or sophomore playing on varsity, please contact Cassie in advance at cassie@wildcatjuniors.com. Please note that after the final try-out date there are limited or no opportunities to make a team.


If I do not make an Elite team, what are my options?
In our 12's, 13's, 14's, 15's, and 16's age group we offer both Elite and Regional programs. Our Elite and Regional program try out dates are split. If you are an athlete that is interested in both programs, you will need to register for each tryout separately.

If I do not make a Regional team, what are my options?
Unfortunately, we do need to make cuts in our elite and regional programs. However, we offer camps/clinics/lessons through out the year that are open to all players. We also offer a Spring season with a tryout in April as an additional opportunity to get involved with Wildcat Jrs.


I don't know what age group my daughter should tryout for? How is that determined?
For the large majority of players trying out, your age group will follow your grade. However, Sept 1st is the cut off, so if your daughters birthday is close to Sept. 1 and she is "old for her grade", please double check the official age requirement in the chart below. It is VERY important that you send your daugther to the correct age group tryout. (Updated 8/3/17):

Age Group Typically Born on or After
18 and Under 12th graders September 1, 1999
17 and Under 11th graders September 1, 2000
16 and Under 10th graders September 1, 2001
15 and Under 9th graders September 1, 2002
14 and Under 8th graders September 1, 2003
13 and Under 7th graders September 1, 2004
12 and Under 6th graders September 1, 2005
11 and Under 5th graders September 1, 2006
10 and Under 4th graders September 1, 2007


Is there a fee for the tryout? What do I need to bring?
Each athlete must register online and pay the $40 tryout fee. Once you have registered and paid online, you will be emailed a Tryout Waiver and Release Form which must be signed by a parent/guardian. You also need to be a 2017 member of USA Volleyball. See the Tryout Information Page for further instructions and information. Each athlete needs to bring tennis shoes, knee pads, athletic clothing (spandex recommended), and a water bottle.


Do I need to register online for the tryout? If so, how do I do so?
Yes, online registration and payment is required. Registration for tryouts will open the first week in September. Click here to register to reserve your spot at the tryout.


What will I be doing at the tryouts?
After the athletes check-in, they will be immediately begin with their tryout. There will also be an informational parents meeting at the start of the tryout as well as a Q & A session for the parents. Athletes will be taken through three phases during the tryout: physical tests to determine athletic ability, drill testing to evaluate overall skill, and then game simulation drills where we will be looking at team leadership, court awareness and overall game play.


How does Wildcat Jrs. select players?
While natural ability is a plus, what we really look for in our athletes is coachability, aggressiveness, a positive attitude, consistent communication on the court, commitment and athleticism. We want to see the drive in each player to become better everyday. Unfortunately, we do have to make cuts. We want to make sure that our rosters are at no more than 11 players and that our teams are competitive. In the case that more than one team is selected per age group, we will not select the final teams until we evaluate the players during the first 1 to 2 weeks of practice.


When will I know if I made a team?
Players selected to a Wildcat Jrs. roster will be notified by email a few hours after the tryout and their tryout number will be posted on the website. Players selected to a roster will have by the end of evening to accept their position on a roster by submitting an online payment of $300.00 which will be applied towards the first dues payment. Positions not accepted by the day after the tryout will be offered out to players chosen as Alternates. We ask for this first payment right away because most all tryouts are occuring at the same time. Because we are smaller than most other clubs and have a finite number of teams that we are willing to run, we are very careful about selecting the appropriate number of players with the goal of no more than 11 per team. Players that are chosen as alternates for our program are usually offered positions in other clubs that are also waiting on responses from them. Because of this quick timeline, we ask that you please do your research and ask any questions you may have before the tryout process begins so that you are prepared to accept your position once the team selection has been announced.


My high school varsity team is still competing in the post season. Can I still try out?
It is very important that you contact Cassie (cassie@wildcatjuniors.com) before the tryout, if there is a chance that your varsity team will still be competing in the IHSA state tournament at the time of the tryout. If your varsity team is still in season or competing in post-season play, you are still required to come to the tryout to submit your registration paperwork so that we can evaluate those that are trying out accordingly. You will not be asked to participate in any physical evaluation until your team has been eliminated from the IHSA tournament.


I was selected to a team. What is my next step?
Players selected to a Wildcat Jrs team will be emailed a welcome letter with information on the next steps. Within 1-2 weeks after the tryout, a mandatory Parent's Night will be held for all players and parents.  Parent's night information will also be listed below once confirmed.


How much does Wildcat Jrs cost?
This year’s cost breakdown will be available at the parent information meeting held the day of try-outs. You may also contact Cassie at cassie@wildcatjuniors.com if you have an immediate question. Our dues are very competitive with other programs in the area, especially given what you will get in return. Dues are paid in two installments. Other fees include a uniform package and travel expenses (vary depending on the program).


Who will be my coach? Do you know who will be coaching which team?
Yes! We are finalizing our coaches list right now, but it will be updated and released before the tryouts. We are very proud of our coaching staff and feel that we absolutely have the strongest coaching staff in the area. We encourage you to check out our staff page where you can see our coaches' profiles.


How long is the season at Wildcat Jrs?
Our Elite program will run from mid-November through the end of June. Our Regional program will run from November through mid March. Youth open gyms will be offered for our 12's - 14's during October until the official season starts. We also offer an 8-week long Spring season to our Regional players that wished to continue on, and more than 80% of our Regional players from last season chose to continue on with our Spring Season. This Spring season continues to practice 2 days a week and finishes with a multi-day tournament at Navy Pier in mid-June.


When are practices? How often do the teams practice? Where are the practices?
Exact practice schedules will be released at parents night. Our 14's - 18's Elite teams practice 3 times per week on non-competition weeks, which includes 2 weekday practices and a Saturday or Sunday practice. Our 13 Travel teams practice 2 times per week, both practices being during the weekdays. For our Regional program, practices are 2 times a week and may consist either of two weekday practices or one weekday and one Saturday/Sunday practice.  Our Travel team practices are held at  the Athletico Center and our Regional team practices will be held at Northfield Park District.


When are matches played? How often do teams play? Where do teams play?
Wildcat Jrs. participates in USAV sanctioned (USA Volleyball) tournaments and events as well as JVA (Junior Volleyball Association) Tournaments, which are held on Saturdays and/or Sundays around the Chicagoland area. Our Regional teams will compete in the Windy City Power League, while our Elite teams will compete in the Great Lakes Power League. Elite teams will also travel to tournaments throughout the country that offer a great deal of college recruiting exposure and competition.

A typical tournament day will consist of either a morning wave or afternoon wave of play. Morning waves typically start with the first match at 8:00 am and end with the last match at 2:00 pm. Afternoon waves usually start with the first match at 3:00 pm and the last match at 8:00 pm. Most Chicagoland events are within an hour's drive and players are expected to be at the gym an hour before the first match begins. While dates of our tournaments/leagues are released on Parent's Night, information on what wave the teams will be playing in is not released until the week before the event.  Specific practice and tournament schedules will be distributed on Parents Night.


What is Wildcat Jrs. policy on parent involvement?
Wildcat Jrs. prides itself on our relationship with our parents. We have an open door policy with our parents and encourage our parents to communicate with our staff. The open door policy does not exist during tournaments and practices, as we feel a neutral time is the best for staff/parent discussions. We encourage parents to support their daughter, their coach, and the athletes on her team. We are proud to have the best club parents around!


Can my daughter play school sports, such as basketball, and still play on a Wildcat Jrs team?
Yes, any athlete can participate in school athletics or other activities while playing for Wildcat Jrs. The athlete will not be penalized for missing practice as long as the conflicts are communicated well in advance. Missed practices can be made up with an alternate team.  At the elite levels, all major tournaments are mandatory, regardless of extracurricular activities.


What is Wildcat Jrs philosophy on playing time?
We believe playing time is earned, not given. Our dues guarantee the athlete quality coaching, practice time, registration and training. Playing time is determined by the coach based on several criteria - practice, attitude, game performance & skill. Every player has the opportunity to prove themselves at practice. Wildcat Jrs is a competitive volleyball environment and the teams are administered that way.

In our Regional programs, we offer a 30% rule - which is a goal for our coaches to ensure each players earns playing time in at least 30% of the games played in a tournament. Coaches' discretion will be used in relation to injuries, attendance, as well as player attitude, etc.


When is Parent's night and what forms do I need to bring?
Parent's Night is held in mid October for the 12's - 14s and mid November for the 15's - 18's. Information on date/time will be sent in your welcome letter once you have been selected to a team during tryouts. There are four items that you need to fill out and bring with you:

  1. 2018 USA Volleyball registration card. **Please register for a 2018 Full junior membership with USA Volleyball, if you have not done so already. You can upgrade your tryout membership to a full membership, or if you printed out your 2017 membership for the tryout, you need to return and purchase a full 2018 membership. You will also need to designate Wildcat Jrs as your club. Players will not be eligible for practice without this completed step.
  2. USA Volleyball Medical History and Release Form. **NOTE: You may have already filled out this information when your completed your USA Volleyball membership. You can just bring a copy of this form to the parent's night, or you can print a new form out and fill out by hand. This is separate from the waiver needed for the tryout, so all players must have a copy of this form brought to Parent's Night.
  3. Parent/Player Contract
  4. Dues may either be paid in person on Parent's Night by check or online by credit card through your Wildcat Jrs. account.