Aaron and Giulia Martin Honored with Founder’s Award

What began as an innocent introduction to a new sport for their daughter, became a commitment that has kept Aaron and Giulia Martin tied to their volleyball community for 36 seasons. As a couple, this dynamic duo has grown the Goleta site from an initial 23 players, to a consistent 65-75 players, which makes it one of the most successful USYVL programs in its 20 year history.

The USYVL is very happy to honor the Martins with its fifth Founder’s Award. The USYVL Founder’s award is awarded annually to the individuals who have provided leadership to the USYVL for the greatest amount of time and made an impact on the organization.

Aaron Martin was a recreational volleyball player, mostly beach, when approached to coach his stepdaughter, Aja’s, team. His wife Giulia had volunteered to be site director so, like most good dads, he said, “sure.” After a couple seasons he was promoted to Clinician, and has been sharing his (considerable) knowledge and enthusiasm to thousands of young athletes – and their parents too – ever since. “One of my favorite parts of USYVL,” says Aaron, “is watching kids get inspired by the program and fall in love with volleyball. And then running into the kids or their parents years later and hearing that they still love volleyball!”

Aaron and Giulia both work at UCSB; he is a systems administrator for the Earth Research Institute and she in the Business Office for the Technology Management Program. Aaron’s technology background has been solicited in developing several USYVL platforms over the years – for scheduling, workflow tracking, website building, mobile access, etc. Always willing to help make the program better, he has donated almost as many hours off the field as on.

When asked why she keeps coming back, Giulia’s answer was simple: “Even after 36 seasons we still feel like each season is the best season ever. The kids and parents are amazing and feel like an extended family.”

The Martin family’s youngest daughter, Malia, continues to enjoy USYVL while also playing club volleyball. “She found a passion for the game a little over a year ago,” says Aaron, “and her skill levels have increased dramatically.”

The passion for the game is what keeps this family playing. And their volunteering has kept many other children and families playing too – for over 18 years!

Extravaganza in Natomas

It was a USYVL-style spectacle in Natomas, California. Over 500 players on 32 courts were serving and passing for over 2 hours as teams from Elk Grove, Folsom, Sacramento and West Sacramento came together in Natomas on Saturday, May 19. The colorful red, white and blue t-shirts were a sight to see, as was the phenomenal volleyball played, according to clinician Kristine Spencer. “Seeing all the kids and families having fun was Awesome! But what I love the most about USYVL is that the program doesn’t emphasize winning or losing – it’s about learning how to pass-set-spike. And I saw some really good rallies on every court – they were playing real volleyball!”

Over 100 coaches and assistant coaches were on hand to help Kristine with the event. “Everyone was there early to set up and we started right on time. It was a real group effort to make sure the kids had a great experience.” But it was Kristine’s organizational skills, and love of volleyball, that pulled it off. She estimated it took about 20 hours of work in the two weeks leading up to the day, that made the event happen without a hitch. Along with some help from the office staff at USYVL. “They do all the leg work with permits and scheduling – I just had to organize the material and distribute it to the different sites. And set up cones for the courts and stuff like that. But again, everyone was pitching in to help!”

Kristine is a former collegiate volleyball player who owns and operates the Olympus Sports Coliseum in Sacramento. The multi-sport facility offers volleyball skill training, speed/agility training, and summer clinics in several sports, including volleyball. “But I would never try to run a league like USYVL – they do such a good job I just enjoy being a part of the organization.”

Kristine and USYVL – another great Volleyball Team!

Advanced Juniors Spring Tournaments this Weekend

This weekend USYVL’s Advanced Juniors programs will have spring tournaments (June 9th).  Teams from Camarillo, Fountain Valley, Irvine, Long Beach, Moorpark, Saddleback Valley, Thousand Oaks and Torrance will participate in the tournament at the VELO Sports Center in Carson, California.

Also on June 9th are tournaments at the Olympus Sports Coliseum in Sacramento, California.  Teams from the Northern California area participate, including Elk Grove, Sacramento and West Sacramento.

For teams in the Bay area, tournaments on June 9th will be at City Beach in  Santa Clara.  Teams from  Cupertino, Los Gatos and Santa Clara are participating.

During the spring season, our Advanced Juniors program hosts three weekend tournaments as part of the volleyball schedule. This is a great opportunity for several of our intermediate volleyball programs to meet at the same venue and enjoy fun and volleyball together. The tournament will feature games with a six-player format.

USYVL’s Advanced Juniors program is for intermediate and advanced players to prepare and assist their transition from four person instructional leagues to competitive indoor competition with a six-player format. The goal of the Advanced Juniors program is to create a pathway for players to advance to a higher level of competition such as High School or Club volleyball. The Advanced Juniors is a co-ed program and is open to boys and girls ages 12-16 with two age divisions, 14-Under and 16-Under. To learn more about our Advanced Juniors program visit us online. For boys and girls looking for an advanced volleyball program, Advanced Juniors offers a more competitive environment in contrast to our instructional leagues.

Advanced Juniors Highlights:
  • • Designed for players that have mastered fundamentals of volleyball.
  • • Co-ed, boys and girls ages 12-16.
  • • Instructor with experience coaching at the club, high school or higher level
  • • Indoor 6-on-6 format.
  • • 10-week program.
  • • Two 90-minute practices per week.
  • • Three Saturday tournaments.
  • • Uniform t-shirt provided.
  • • Skills assessment prior to the season or on the first meeting.
  • Join the Fall League – Registration is Open!

    The United States Youth Volleyball League is excited to announce that registration for all 2018 Fall leagues is open! Come join us this fall for volleyball in your local community.

    Our leagues are open to all children ages 7-15 who want to learn and play volleyball. Interest and enthusiasm for volleyball are the only requirements for playing with USYVL! All programs are eight weeks long and meet twice per week. One day is for practices while the other day is for games (two 25-minute games).

    To locate a league in your area try our zip code finder or use our city and state list to see if there is a program in your community:.

    Why should you sign up for USYVL?

    Each league follows a handful of guiding philosophies that ensure the success of USYVL programs.

    Open Registration
    Our leagues are open to all children ages 7-15 who want to learn and play volleyball. Interest and enthusiasm for volleyball are the only requirements for playing with USYVL! All programs are eight weeks long and meet twice per week. One day is for practices while the other day is for games (two 25-minute games).

    Every Child Plays
    Our goal is for each child to learn and play volleyball. Our programs ensure that each child has the opportunity to actively participate as a member of the team. No prior volleyball experience is required. A volleyball instructor is on site for each practice and game.

    Balanced Teams
    We require that every site at the beginning of each season create teams that are evenly balanced. It is more fun when teams are constructed with equal ability. Our four-person format allows kids to play every position. Teams are grouped by four age ranges: 7-8, 9-10, 11-12, and 13-15. Ages are defined according to how old participants are on November 1st of the current year. All teams in the league are coed.

    Positive Coaching
    Positive coaching generates a great spirit to help each child learn and develop volleyball skills. We train and encourage our coaches to make the extra effort to understand the needs of each player and offer positive instruction to participants rather than negative criticism. Instruction includes learning the basics of the game including: serving, setting, passing, spiking, and blocking.

    Good Sportsmanship
    We create a positive environment based on mutual respect rather than a win-at-all-costs attitude. Our programs are designed to instill good sportsmanship in every facet of USYVL.

    Register for fall youth volleyball today!

    Three-day Instructional Summer Camp Registration Opens!

    The United States Youth Volleyball League (USYVL) opened registration for three-day instructional youth volleyball camps this summer. Summer camps are located throughout Northern and Southern California at locations including  Huntington Beach, Irvine, Laguna Niguel, Long Beach, Los Gatos, Moorpark, Sacramento, Thousand Oaks, and Torrance.

    Camps are available for boys and girls ages 7-15.

    USYVL Summer Camp programs focus on skill development to improve and enhance all aspects of player’s technique and proficiency on the court. Our summer camp program is for beginner, intermediate, and advanced volleyball players. To register or to learn more about the program, visit our summer camps website.

    At our summer camps, participants learn in smaller groups according to age and skill level. These smaller groups allow our experienced instructors more time for individual coaching and instruction within a team environment. The player to coach ratio for USYVL Summer Camps is 8:1, which permits more flexibility and time for coaches to work one-on-one with participants.

    Best of all, summer camps are fun! We work to create a positive environment based on mutual respect, rather than a win-at-all-costs attitude. For information on USYVL Summer Camp registration, locations, schedules or volunteer opportunities, visit www.usyvl.org or contact us at 1-888-988-7985 or [email protected].

    About USYVL
    Founded in 1997, the United States Youth Volleyball League is a non-profit youth sports organization that hosts more than 15,000 participants annually, nationwide. USYVL’s mission is to provide every child between the ages of 7 and 15 a chance to learn and play volleyball in a fun, safe, and supervised environment. One of the main tenets of the program is to encourage children to do their best with their abilities. With an emphasis on positive reinforcement, the program seeks to build confidence and self-esteem in each child.