The United States Youth Volleyball League opens up registration for its fall youth leagues on the Central Coast

Photo courtesy of Veronica Sanchez
PLAYING AND LEARNING: The United States Youth Volleyball League recently opened up registration for Central Coast recreational volleyball programs where kids ages 7 to 15 can play volleyball against kids in their neighborhood and play against teams across the Central Coast.

If you’re looking for a new sport for your child to try outside of school hours, the United States Youth Volleyball League has been on the Central Coast for 20 years, Executive Director Veronica Sanchez said.  

“We’ve been in Santa Maria for quite a few years, at least 15 years,” Sanchez said. “There was a person, who has since passed away, [that was] a volleyball player who had kids in the area, and he had reached out for starting a league in Santa Maria.” 

The United States Youth Volleyball League (USYVL) has served communities across the nation since 1997 and sees 10,000 to 15,000 kids in its 250 programs. The coed recreational leagues for children ages 5 to 15 recently opened up its registration for Santa Maria, Arroyo Grande, and San Luis Obispo, she said 

“Our programs are instructional because you don’t need to have any previous experience,” Sanchez said. “Our programs are made up of kids who have never played, who come back season after season, and who know how to play but want more practice and community-based sports programs.” 

The program runs from September to November, but dates vary depending on the location. Upon signing up, kids are divided into teams based on age, and all have practice once a week and game days on Saturdays. With registration, kids receive a team shirt and will earn a medal at the end of the season; coaches get a red shirt, whistle, and a curriculum that will help support their coaching abilities.

“One of the things we really focus on is structure, learning the fundamentals correctly so that the kids are learning to get along with others and teamwork through positive reinforcement and feedback,” Sanchez said. 

Having an atmosphere that’s fun and a place where they can learn at the same time is important, Sanchez said, because volleyball is not an easy sport to learn. 

“We keep it positive so kids can meet new friends and it’s very family-oriented. It’s a fun place to go for a couple of days a week to coach, learn volleyball, play games, and all that fun stuff,” she said. 

The Santa Maria, Arroyo Grande, and SLO leagues are large enough where the kids will scrimmage against one another, but there are game days where the teams will play against other sites on the Central Coast, she said. Coaches and team members are carefully divided and selected so the teams are balanced with beginner and advanced players.

“We put a lot of intention in how we teach volleyball and that makes a huge difference,” Sanchez said. “We want to teach the skills correctly, and I know for a fact we have so many people who are phenomenal and talented.” 

USYVL programs are all volunteer-based, and families only need to pay a registration fee to participate. Coaches are all volunteers, who are either parents or high schoolers who have participated in the program in the past; however in order to be assigned to a team, all coaches have to go through an interview and training process, she said. 

“It’s a program for the whole family. We want mom and dad, aunts or uncles, or neighbors coaching the kids. We reach out to local high schools to get high school volunteers,” Sanchez said. “A lot of kids who have older siblings come out and get volunteer hours. We have a lot of high school volunteers that come out and do a good job.” 

By going through the vetting process, coaches have to demonstrate that they are not only skilled or have some background knowledge, but are comfortable coaching kids, she said. 

“At the end of the day, they have to show up, expend energy, and they have to do it. Even with our high school volunteers we interview them to know why they’re doing it and if they are comfortable working with the kids,” Sanchez said. 

Sanchez said she hopes kids sign up for volleyball because it’s a great way to spend time outside during the week, spend time with family, and learn or enhance new skills. 

“I love volleyball, I think it’s one of the best sports. It’s a lifelong sport that promotes a healthy lifestyle. You meet a lot of people perhaps you wouldn’t have had the opportunity otherwise,” she said.

Santa Maria’s program runs from Sept. 14 to Nov. 4 with practices on Thursdays and Saturdays at Maramonte Park—620 Sunrise Drive. Arroyo Grande’s program runs on Tuesdays and Saturdays from Sept. 12 to Nov. 4 at Elm Street Park, and SLO’s program runs on Wednesdays and Saturdays from Sept. 13 to Nov. 4 at Johnson Park. Weekday practices run from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and Saturdays run from 10 to 11 a.m. across all programs. 

Visit, call (888) 988-7985, or email [email protected] for more information on registration, programs, or locations.

Reach Staff Writer Taylor O’Connor at [email protected].

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