East Valley Juniors Volleyball Club announces strategic acquisition of Instinct Sports
EVJ Volleyball expands its geographical reach with Gilbert acquisition
Phoenix, AZ – East Valley Juniors Volleyball Club, (“EVJ”), a volleyball club offering indoor and outdoor programs for girls and boys, and Instinct Sports (“Instinct”), a girls’ volleyball club, announce a strategic merger of their operations. The merger will take effect in time for the start of the 2014-15 girls club volleyball season.
The combined organization will operate as East Valley Juniors Volleyball Club, Inc. and will include girls, boys and beach volleyball programs. The Instinct girls program will merge into EVJ’s operations this coming club season. EVJ’s corporate headquarters and teams will continue to train at the Court One Athletic Complex in Tempe while adding the Inspire Courts Complex location in Gilbert where Instinct teams trained last club season.
Jen Leo, a 24-year veteran of club volleyball in the AZ Region, will remain as president and club director of the combined organization. Already one of the largest clubs in Arizona, EVJ makes the move to expand its girls’ program offerings in the east part of the valley, where it was at one time the only club serving the area. “As population growth continues to expand east, we needed to find a way to support those families in the far east valley who want to play for EVJ but cannot logistically make the commute to Tempe”, said Leo.
One of the first clubs on the volleyball scene in Arizona, formed in 1990, EVJ is entering its 26th season. Last year, EVJ housed more than 370 athletes across its 28 indoor teams and its beach program, representing more than 120 different schools throughout the Phoenix area. More than 200 of EVJ’s athletes have gone on to play in college on scholarship.
Instinct, led by Sonia Jones, was entering its 2nd year of operation, and experiencing tremendous success and growth. Jones currently leads the Seton Catholic High School girls’ varsity program and was recently hired at Benedictine University in Mesa as the Head Coach for the women’s volleyball program, which she is tasked with building from scratch.
As friendly competitors, Leo and Jones developed a relationship over the past year based on mutual respect for each other’s program. “Sonia’s energy and passion for volleyball were apparent each time we met. As a first year club director, I thought she did a great job getting her program off the ground. It was apparent to me the direction she was taking her program was parallel to EVJ in terms of culture and values. Her program was on the rise and I couldn’t be more thrilled to have Sonia and her team become part of the EVJ Family; this move makes our program stronger,” Ms. Leo explained.
“The chance to merge under EVJ’s umbrella came at an opportune time for me. It was an easy choice as the clubs’ cultures and values are extremely compatible,” said Ms. Jones. “We have capacity for expansion at Inspire Courts and the reputation and history of EVJ will bring athletes to our location. EVJ has an amazing coaching staff, track record of success, and resources that will benefit our current Instinct families. All of this combined made this an easy decision for me and for Instinct.”
Ms. Leo also added “Over the past three years, there have been several mergers at the girls-club level in Arizona. This is a good thing for our sport and community as there was some dilution in the quality available to families in the east valley. As club youth volleyball continues to mature, the demand continues to grow for higher quality programs with a strong track record of success. We are proud of the rich tradition and history at EVJ. We are excited to add Sonia and her team to continue the mission of EVJ Volleyball together with Instinct Sports.”
Jones will coach in the girls’ program at EVJ in the 18’s age group and will take on a level of a leadership in the organization. “We have several strategic growth initiatives that will impact the volleyball community in a positive way and we look forward to having Sonia’s extensive volleyball knowledge and passion as part of the team executing those initiatives” stated Ms. Leo.
Youth volleyball as a sport continues to grow explosively in Arizona and nationally. The continued demand for high-quality volleyball training and competition is the driver behind this new partnership. With the two organizations combined, operating out of two locations, EVJ now has the capacity to serve additional families offering three programs without the limitation of court space or geographical hindrances. The club is planning for a combined 30 girls teams this coming club season between the two locations.
EVJ provides opportunities for girls and boys ages 9-18 (4th-12th grade) to play competitive and recreational volleyball on local and national levels, with travel, non-travel, and training teams, including indoor and beach volleyball. Through its affiliates, EVJ also offers a variety of player development (training) opportunities (indoor, sand and athletic performance) for both club and non-club players who are looking to expand and perfect their game.
ABOUT COURT ONE
EVJ’s corporate headquarters is at the Court One Athletic Complex in Tempe. Court One offers more than 45,000 square-feet with nine indoor volleyball courts, two sand courts and 11 high definition web cameras used as recruiting tools by college coaches around the nation to view practices. In addition, the facility boasts one of the best flooring systems in the country, made of solid maple, complete with a one-inch foam subfloor. Court One also offers athletic performance training in-house along with camps and play opportunity for the volleyball community at large. The facility is located at 9100 S. McKemy Street, Tempe, AZ 85284.
ABOUT INSPIRE COURTS
EVJ will expand its training opportunities and select teams to train at Inspire Courts. Inspire Courts is a multi-sport facility located in Gilbert, Arizona with 52,000 square feet of gym space including 7 color coded volleyball courts. The facility offers basketball and volleyball to help INSPIRE kids of all ages develop winning habits that lead to success on and off the court. The facility is located at 1090 N. Fiesta Blvd., #101, Gilbert, AZ 85233.To learn more about EVJ or Court One please contact Rich Leo at (480) 220-9313 or visit the website at www.evjvolleyball.com.