Join the club


Schyler Davis, Web Master

Written and Compiled by Aaron Carter and Leola Eko

Photos by Chanel Vidal

The student section supports athletes that sport green and gold, but would they recognize the school stars in their club uniforms? Club sports allow athletes to keep practicing their sport of choice in all seasons. Jessie Harder ’16, starting pitcher for the softball team, believes that being in a club sport gives an advantage to an athlete. “Club sports have numerous advantages. You are able to stay on top of your game, [play] year-round and also get to meet a lot of new people that you don’t necessarily go to school with,” Harder said. Harder pitched a complete 13-inning shutout last year for her team, which can be attributed to her work ethic. During the season, Harder practices three hours on off-days and practices one hour before games, not including her practices in club sports with the Southeast Iowa All-Stars. “I usually get more attention from colleges playing club,” Harder said. “But if we make it to state, scouts really pay attention to that as well.” Conor Zielinski ’17 believes that playing club increases the chances of an athlete performing well at the highest level possible. “Playing [club sports] allows us [as players], to stay in the best form we can until high school season comes around.” Zielinski said. Zielinski plays for the Iowa Soccer Club (ISC), and according to Zielinski the teams for both club and school consist of similar players. “I know for soccer, a lot of the guys that are on the school team are on the same club team.” Zielinski said, “This makes it easier [for club players] when school season comes around because we know how to play together.” Some students who participate in a club sport know that there is a specific club they need to play for in order to be adequately prepared for the high school team. One example of this is Emily Halverson ’17.

Emily Halverson ’17

“You have to play in the right club. If you’re in a good club, you’ll [have a better experience] and get training from more educated coaches,” she said. Another benefit of being part of a club sport is that it can increase the chance of being scouted for a college team. “If you’re on a club team that goes to a larger tournament, you’ll likely get more attention from scouts,” said Halverson.

Volleyball player Madi Ford ’17 has a similar experience. “My club goes to Power League, which is in Illinois, and there are a lot of scouts there,” she said. Alex Henderson ’16 also travels frequently for basketball, on the Iowa Barnstormers. “I get more attention from scouts because I am playing against better players, who usually draw more scouts there,” he said. According to Henderson, it is also advantageous to play both to gain different perspectives on the game. “ [Club and school sports] teach you different thing,.” Henderson said. “They give you an opportunity to play different styles and with different players.” Heelah Nadler ’16, forward for the West girls soccer team and the Iowa Soccer Club, enjoys her time playing both on her club team and the West team, but for very different reasons.

Kevin Delaney ’16

“The West team has a short season, and I still get close to my team, and club is a long-term team. I’ve really grown up with my teammates,” Nadler said. Kevin Delaney ’15, practices twice a week with his club team and five times a week during the school season, but he believes that practice alone isn’t sufficient. “In my opinion, you can practice as much as you want, but if you aren’t out there on the field in a game, you aren’t doing everything you can do get better,” Delaney said. According to Delaney, school sports are more important. “With school sports, I feel like it has a bigger impact on the community,” Delaney said. “It serves more of a purpose to us as players.” Delaney believes, along with his teammates, that when athletes play for something more meaningful, they will play harder for that cause.

School Uniforms vs. Club Uniforms

Jessie Harder ’16
Madi Ford
Madi Ford ’17