With the excitement and memories that come along with being a member of a sports team at Ridgewood High School, many athletes opt to prolong their sports careers by joining a club team outside of school. Although most choose to juggle this extra commitment in order to sharpen their skills and get an edge over their teammates for the upcoming school season, others value the delight of being a team member and meeting students from neighboring towns. In some cases, athletes choose to play on a club team instead of playing on a Ridgewood High School team. No matter the motive, the advantages to playing club sports are plentiful.
Club teams are available in our area for a wide range of sports, including soccer, lacrosse, volleyball, hockey, baseball, softball, wrestling, basketball, and more. Typically, teams hold about two or three practices per week with various tournaments throughout the season on weekends. A downside to playing for a club team is not only that it is time consuming, but also expensive. With the cost of being on the team hovering around $1,000 to $2,000, plus booking hotel rooms or buying plane tickets to attend far tournaments, the expenses can quickly add up. However, most find that the price is worth it, as coaches are usually very well qualified and give each player individual attention to ensure they will strive.
Many teams allow for the opportunity to travel nationwide, competing in larger competitions that Ridgewood does not have access to. This is particularly important for athletes interested in getting recruited onto a college sports team, as many college recruiters attend these large tournaments to scout out talented players. Sarah Silvestro, a senior who played club for Metro Lacrosse, Tri-State Lacrosse, and AAU Basketball, notes, “Playing club jump-started my college search at a younger age and it was fun traveling with a team filled with girls from other towns you never would have met otherwise.”
For many, being a member of a club sports team provides a platform for lasting memories and lifelong friendships. Senior Jessi Schlicht, who played Cut Shot Volleyball for three years, explains, “Club sports are a great extra curricular that helped me make so many friends from outside of our town. It was fun to play volleyball, specifically, because we went to overnight tournaments and had practice every week with the people and coaches you grow so close with over the course the season.”
Brian Ayoub, a senior who currently plays on the Maroons club soccer team, has had a similar experience. He recounts, “It’s a great experience playing and bonding with friends and teammates from Ridgewood and other towns around us. I’ve met a lot of nice people and played against good competition which has prepared me to play on the high school team.”
All in all, club sports are a great way to stay active and involved in something you enjoy, while meeting new people and developing skills as a player. Additionally, they supply a unique network of connections with players, coaches, and colleges. With opportunities to take part in higher-level competitions and rival teams from across the United States, players diversify their skillsets and return to their high school seasons with new strengths for their teams. There are more benefits than one can count to joining a club sports team, an unforgettable experience to add to your high school memories.