Why Wildcat Jrs / D1?


When deciding on a volleyball club for your daughter, there are a few key things to consider: the coaching staff, practice facilitiy, club philosophy, goals, and value.

Things to consider: experience, skill, chemistry, coach to player ratio

Our commitment to premier coaching has been a major reason for Wildcat Junior’s success. From the top down, our highly skilled staff of directors, lead trainers, coaches, and assistant coaches are extremely knowledgeable, experienced, passionate about the game, and committed to providing our athletes with an exceptional growth building experience.

It's not an exaggeration to say that the opportunity for your daughter to be coached by individuals of this caliber is unmatched in Illinois.  Many have international and college coaching experience and have played at the highest levels. Coach profiles may be viewed on our coaching staff page.

In our Wildcat Juniors Elite program, the provision of multiple coaches per team is unique in Illinois. Each team is led by a head and an assistant coach, with a ratio of at least 1:5 trainers to players at our Elite practices. It is not unusual to see 7 or 8 coaches in the gym working at any one time! In our Premier program, we have lead trainers that have been at the helm of their age groups for 8+ years with us, and a Premier Program Leader is focuses on providing support to our Premier coaches and players through being an extra resource in the practice gym and at tournaments.

Wildcat Juniors lead trainers design and coordinate planned practices with input from the directors and team coaches. All Wildcat Jrs teams practice in training groups to ensure that your daughter is getting the most out of her time in the gym. Our coaches are equipped with practice plans that have been prepared in advance. Our staff works together to ensure consistency in training from year to year, and age group to age group.

Last, with the merger between Wildcat Jrs and D1, our staff has only improved! The combined network between the two clubs broadens the scope and reach of connections to the Top coaches in Chicago. D1 Coaching staff has been led by 2x NCAA National Champion Kris Berzins, who has put together an incredible staff that compliments our WCJ staff perfectly.


Things to consider: high quality equipment, high ceilings, abundant volleyballs

When it comes to our practice facilities, we have to admit that our players are a little spoiled. Our home-base practice facility houses 8 beautiful hardwood courts at Athletico Center in Northbrook. Utilizing top of the line net systems, equipment, and volleyballs, allows for maximum practice efficiency and minimum down time. Our secondary facilities include a newly remodeled two-court gymnasium at the Northfield park district.  Due to Covid, we have increased our gym space for this year to allow us to spread out. We have added courts at the JCC in Northbrook, which is about a 1 mile west of the Athletico Center, as well as court space at LoVerde - a beautiful four-court facility in Niles. All of our facilities utilize quality net systems and the same training balls that we use in competition.


With the combined merger, we now employ a full-time staff of nine! This staff brings together a wealth of experience both in the gym and behind the scenes. This could not be a more passionate staff that is thrilled to offer our community the highest level of training and the most comprehensive club experience possible.


Things to consider: how your daughter’s goals (and yours) align with those of the club?
We are getting there! In our 2019 season, we qualified four teams for the USA Jr. National Championships! For the first time in program history, we qualified two teams from the same age group in our 13 Black and 13 Purple team.  Last season, we prepared our eight seniors to continue their college volleyball careers. Check out our alumni page to see where they will be competing this fall! Our players continue to thrive in the USA High Performance pipeline. We were represented by 8 players selected into the USA Future Select training program in Tennessee this summer and one of our players was selected in to the very elite USA Select Continental training program, with only 24 athletes selected across the country. For our teams attending AAU's, we continue to push and grow even through the final day of the season, by competing in the most competitve divisions where we feel we can see the best teams from across the country while still maintaining our competitve edge.  We are about #GROWTH over wins and we are proud to continue with that philosophy.

In 2018, we had two top 5 finishes in the country as both our 18 Black and 15 Black teams finished in the top 5 at AAU Jr Nationals and USA Jr Nationals respectively! We have had multiple top 20 finishes in major national events all across the country. This past seast, we added USA All-Americans and AAU Jrs National All-Tournament team players to our club players' lists of accomplishments and awards. Each year, we send off multiple players into the USA High Performance program to compete all over the country during the summer. As a club, we continue to grow in new ways, offering more value to our players each year. This past summer marked the addition of our first beach season which was a huge success and so fun for both our players and coaches to be a part of.

Our 2019 season wrapped with our 48th college commitment, including four current players (with more to come!) in our 2020 class who will be continuing their volleyball careers in college. So, If you’re dream is to play collegiate volleyball and potentially earn a scholarship, and you have the talent, drive, and dedication necessary to compete at the national level, then our Elite Program is for you. If you are athletic, motivated, and positive, and want to focus on fundamental volleyball skills training and development, then our Premier Program is the right fit for you. (Please read our section on what to expect for more specifics regarding each program.)

Things to consider: what will you get for your investment?
We realize that club volleyball is not cheap. It’s a big investment and should be treated as such. Our suggestion: weigh the pros and cons of each club in terms of the value they provide. In addition to the above considerations, inquire about the number of practices, the number of tournaments, and the quality of tournament competition. We encourage you to ask around! We are confident that you'll receive great feedback from our club families, varsity coaches, and any college volleyball staff!