Travel leagues expose athletes to high level training and coaching

Kaylanie Saldua, Staff Writer

For some athletes, playing in a league outside of school just makes sense- extra practices, stronger competition, and more exposure help the athlete excel in the sport.

But for others, one league just isn’t enough- they are known as “interleaguing,” those who play in multiple leagues.

Youth sports is a $15 billion industry, according to “Time.” Many athletes choose interleaguing because they are more focused on specializing in one sport rather than participating in many.

Interleaguing is more diverse than local leagues because it doesn’t just pertain to students from certain areas. Interleaguing helps athletes make new connections and bonds, too.

“My teammates are my second family,” junior Asia Valenzuela said of her Spark Volleyball club. In addition, it offers athletes a level of unprecedented coaching and training. They are able to get the extra help they need to excel since many of these athletes are often looking to play at a higher level. It gives them the exposure playing against different kinds of talent from different areas. They are able to have more opportunities to compete in front of college recruiters, which is a huge benefit; athletes who interleague often have a goal of getting a college scholarship, which recruiters can help connect them with.

Despite the benefits of interleaguing, it does have its downsides. Athletes who play for more than one league at a time are often at a higher risk of injury, burnouts, and depression. It is often stressful because of the pressure that is placed on them by parents and coaches. Parents invest a lot into travel sports because they want to be able to get a free college tuition for their child.

“My parents invest over $10 thousand for travel ball,” junior Wilbur Berrios said. Due to the amount of money invested and the desire to earn free college tuition in the form of athletic scholarships, student athletes often to put their youth on hold. They may miss school and family events because their sport is their number one priority.

“I miss a lot of family events and school activities and thing like that but even though I might be frustrated, I know it will be worth it in the end,” senior Brandon Preap, who plays in Bercovich 24, said.
Many athletes are grateful for these opportunities because they have helped shape them into the athlete they are today. Interleaguing gave them the

chance to discover their talents and help make a name for themselves.

“It’s definitely made a name for me,” Preap said. “All the coaches I’ve played for liked me and always ask me to come back or refer me to other coaches.” Not only does the athlete benefit, but parents who have spentt countless hours sitting in the bleachers, driving to games, and investing resources also freel rewarded when their child makes it to the next level of play.

“I believe that my parents are proud of the athlete I have become, but they know I still have a lot of work to do to play at the next level,” Berrios said.