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14U Transition to Club Ball

14U Transition to Club Ball

Where did my 14U team go?  As players age up to 14U a “Natural Attrition Rate” usually happens.  Some players lose interest and decide not play, some player’s friends decide not to play so they decide to move on, some players move to a different school and want to play on a club with their friends that may be linked with their high school team, some players want to focus on a primary sport (ie. basketball, swimming, volleyball, etc.), some players want a more challenging environment...whatever your daughter's decision might be for moving on or continuing to play, we want to provide you with information to help you decide what is the best option for your daughter and your family.  Club ball might be an option.  Similar to basketball as a comparison.  After 8th grade travel is done, a lot of kids go to AAU.  It’s very similar.  

 

For the greater 12U audience that doesn't know it, up to this point in time and the foreseeable future this is how it's been done, just a fact of life.  It does not mean that you cannot have great experiences playing for an ongoing association team, but it's a very atypical route to keep city association teams together at higher levels.  As a point of reference there may be at most 2 or 3 association teams in the larger tournaments.  At 16U, it’s nonexistent.  

 

Many former EGFA Players and current EHS Players play for club teams.  Some of the teams they are currently rostered for include: MN Starters Softball, MN Riptide, Clutch Hitters, MN Speed, MN Force, MN Vortex, MN A’s, MN Bombers, Mission, MN Elite, and MN Renegades.

 

Is Club ball right for my daughter?

In general, Club level teams are geographically based.  Commitment is all year round with 3-4 tournaments played in the fall, 2 tournaments played in the winter (dome ball), and 5-6 tournaments played in the summer.  There may be more or less depending on the commitment level.  There is a dark period from February through May where there is no club activity due to High School league rules.  Some club teams encourage you to play other sports while others expect softball to be your life.  During the season when you’re not playing tournaments you are practicing and during the off-season you are training up to 3 times a week.  Some more elite clubs require more travel to out of state national tournaments and showcases.  Most club teams play in the Top Tier organization that sponsors tournaments and showcases.  As a point of reference “80% of all players that were recruited in Minnesota to play college ball played in Top Tier.”  This is not a league.  Games are organized by individual clubs.  Pricing varies amongst clubs from $1,100 to $4,400 (specific teams and fees are listed below and travel costs are not included).

 

Some clubs may have a lower level team which may have an affiliation with the Big West League.  They may play in Big West A or MN Softball Gold League.  Even some of the higher level teams will play in Gold League for organized games and Gold State in order to play in USA Nationals in Sioux Falls, SD. 

 

Club Tryouts this year are in early August for the following year.  The  2022 club tryouts are August 1st-3rd at multiple locations depending on the team you would like to tryout for.  There is a pre-registration that you will need to complete.  Some clubs have non-refundable tryout fees ($0 - $50+).  After tryouts if they offer a spot for your daughter you usually have 24 hours to accept their invitation.

With tryouts on some clubs there are limited spots especially for 2nd year teams.  At 2nd year 14's (if you haven’t already joined a club team) the better programs are generally looking for 1 or 2 athletes, with 50 to 100 girls trying out for that spot.  It can be very important to get on the team your daughter wants to play for as a 1st year 14. Some players MAY be offered spots prior to tryouts and WILL NOT have to try-out. Some players outside of a club may be invited to tryout.  While some current club players may be asked to go through the tryout process to properly evaluate where that player would be best suited to play.

It is highly recommended that your athlete tryout for their top choice on the first day/session.  Available spots on the club will be given to players during the tryout or immediately after the tryout.  A club team could be filled after the first few tryout sessions on the first day! 

Before having your daughter tryout for a club make sure you do your research and ask questions:

What questions should I ask myself?  What level of play do I want to compete at?  High School Varsity? Or do I want to play in college? DI, DII, DIII?  What is my budget?  How much time can my daughter commit?  How much travel can my daughter commit?  Are these my goals or my daughter’s goals?

What questions should I ask of a club team?  What are your fees and what does that include (uniforms, dome ball, training, paid coaches, tournament fees, etc.)? Do you have payment plans? Do you offer scholarships? What if my daughter decides not to play after joining the team? What is your refund policy? How often is training? At what locations is training held? How many tournaments are you playing this year?  How many out of state tournaments are you playing this year? What type of commitment is this for my daughter?  Can my daughter play other sports?  How many open spots are there and at what positions?  If your daughter is a pitcher...will she be the number one and get more opportunities to pitch?  What is your team size?  How many players are near me that I can have my daughter carpool with? How long have you been an organization?  What are your coaches’ background?  What is your culture/philosophy?  How many players go on to play college?  At what levels? Do you have a support system to navigate the college recruiting? What are academics going to look like (you’re going to be a Pro in something else other than softball)?

Here is a list of Club Team Links (in no specific order) to find out more information.  Not all club teams are posted here and we are not endorsing one over another.  These are posted as a resource for you to do your own research.

 

Minnesota Bombers (website: www.minnesotabombers.com )

Cost: $3,200-$3,500

Geographic: Burnsville / Bloomington

2022 Tryout Dates:  14U-18U August 1st and 2nd. Location and Times will be available on social media and our website.

Summary:  We are an elite National program that trains our athletes and provides the highest level of visibility available for optimal recruiting.

 

Clutch Hitters (website: https://www.clutch-hitters.com)

Cost: $2,275

Geographic: Metro/Bloomington/Savage/Eagan/Minnetonka

2022 Tryout Dates:  14U-18U August 1st and 2nd. Location and Times will be available on social media and our website.

Summary: Celebrating our 10th season one of the longest running softball clubs in the state.  

 

MN Elite (website: https://sites.google.com/view/mnelitefastpitch/home)

Cost: $1,000-$2,750

Geographic: Eden Prairie/Metro

2022 Tryout Dates:  14U-18U August 1st and 2nd. Location and Times will be available on social media and our website.

Summary:  Club encourages multi-sport athletes and pricing reflects that as the amount paid is dependent on a player's desire to participate in fall, winter, summer seasons - an a la carte approach.

 

MN Moose (website: https://www.mnmoosesoftball.com/)

Cost: $2,700

Geographic: Ham Lake

2022 Tryout Dates:  14U-18U August 1st and 2nd. Location and Times will be available on social media and our website.

Summary:  We train serious but flexible in the off season so kids can play other sports. We have had D1, D2, D3 and Junior College players come out of program but that is not how we measure our success. We want to appeal to families that “get it” and try to minimize any psycho situations that happen when clubs promise unrealistic outcomes.

 

MN Ice (website: https://lakevillefastpitch.sportngin.com/ice)

Cost: $2,500

Geographic: Lakeville

2022 Tryout Dates:  14U-18U August 1st and 2nd. Location and Times will be available on social media and our website.

Summary:  We are a relationship driven program that operates out of Lakeville and is supported by LFSA. We focus on quality training and building solid relationships as well as developing strong character along the way

 

Minnesota Vortex/A’s (website: http://www.minnesotavortex.org/Default.asp?org=minnesotavortex.org)

Cost: $2,500-$2,800

Geographic: West/Tonka/Chanhassen/Wayzata/Orono/Prior Lake

2022 Tryout Dates:  14U-18U August 1st and 2nd. Location and Times will be available on social media and our website.

 

Midwest Speed (website: https://midwestspeedfastpitch.leagueapps.com)

Cost: $4,400

Geographic: Northeast/East/North

2022 Tryout Dates:  14U-18U August 1st and 2nd. Location and Times will be available on social media and our website.

 

Mission (website: https://missionfastpitch.com)

Cost: $2,750

Geographic: Eden Prairie/Edina/Minnetonka/Chanhassen

2022 Tryout Dates:  14U-18U August 1st and 2nd. Location and Times will be available on social media and our website.

Summary:  Mission will challenge your daughters potential and help her increase it in a supportive and fun environment.

 

MN Starters Softball (website: https://www.starterssoftball.com/)

Cost: $3,500

Geographic: South

2022 Tryout Dates:  14U-18U August 1st and 2nd. Location and Times will be available on social media and our website.

Summary: It's a serious program.  Specialty coached time included with a notable coach.  Seasonal combines with rhapsodo/timed events in all of the areas that are "graded" if you want to move to the next level (progress is measured).  

 

Arctic Blast (website: http://www.epfastpitch.com/Page.asp?n=53391&org=EPFASTPITCH.COM)

Cost: $1,100 to $1,500

Geographic: Eden Prairie based

2022 Tryout Dates:  14U-18U August 1st and 2nd. Location and Times will be available on social media and our website.

 

TC Blitz (website: https://www.tcblitz.com)

Cost: $2,395

Geographic: Twin Cities based/Lakeville/Edina

2022 Tryout Dates:  14U-18U August 1st and 2nd. Location and Times will be available on social media and our website.

 

MN Waves (website: https://www.mnwavesfastpitch.com)

Cost: $2,800

Geographic: South/Savage/Prior Lake

2022 Tryout Dates:  14U-18U August 1st and 2nd. Location and Times will be available on social media and our website.

 

MN Magic (website: https://magicsoftball.org)

Cost: $1,700-$2,000

Geographic: East

2022 Tryout Dates:  14U-18U August 1st and 2nd. Location and Times will be available on social media and our website.

 

MN Force (website: https://www.minnesotafastpitchacademy.com/page/show/842618-minnesota-force)

Cost: $3,500-$4,000

Geographic: Northeast

2022 Tryout Dates:  14U-18U August 1st and 2nd. Location and Times will be available on social media and our website.

 

MN Renegades (website: https://minnesotarenegades.com)

Cost: $3,500

Geographic: Hopkins

2022 Tryout Dates:  12U-18U August 1st and 2nd. Location and Times will be available on social media and our website.

Summary:  There are many out of state tournaments so it's a big commitment. They encourage multi sport athletes.   Multiple options for off-season training which is included in yearly fee as well as helmet, jerseys, bag, and socks (pants not included). Winter training is held at Hit Dawg in Plymouth and Batting Cages in Farmington.  

 

Finally, if club ball isn’t in the plans there are still Association based teams which are also part of the Big West League.  Levels of play are Gold, A, B, and C.  They can play in out of state tournaments, nationals, and Big West State Tournament.  These teams are still tied to the association and are a mix of competition with some players brand new to fastpitch.  As players move to club teams there may be holes to fill in positions (ie. pitcher/catcher) and you would need to recruit other players who are just looking for an association to play for.  If Edina didn’t have enough players to field a team you would receive a waiver to play for another community based association.

Commitment: By season.

Cost: $350-450 Spring/Summer.  Fall $100-$150.