Two local volleyball clubs, NU Breed and Pipeline, merged together last week to create the largest volleyball club in the area.
Job Lara, the director of the non-profit NU Breed club, reached out to Pipeline’s director, Pete Rasmussen, to make the merger happen. Both Lara and Rasmussen agreed this was the right move with COVID-19 limiting resources and the two clubs wanting to increase their competitiveness.
“It is something that I’ve been wanting to do for awhile because I think both Pete and I have some gifts in us that compliment each other,” Lara said Wednesday via phone. “And I always thought that together we could be stronger and serve the south Valley volleyball community better. And so, this provided a perfect scenario for us to work together.”
Lara sent out an email and posted on NU Breed’s website, www.nubreedvbc.org, about the merger and said he plans to have a ZOOM meeting with parents about the bigger club before tryouts begin on Sept. 26.
The new club is known as NU Breed-Pipeline and will have 12u, 14u, 16u, 17u and 18u teams. The club will also have a VolleyTots level that caters to players five to nine years old, and is something NU Breed always offered.
Lara, who is also Summit Collegiate High School’s head volleyball coach, said one of the greatest benefits athletes will experience with the merger is an increase of quality coaches.
“One of our greatest resources on both sides is our coaching. So it will bring all of our quality coaches in the south Valley together under one roof, training. So that will benefit the athletes,” Lara said.
The second thing Lara noted as an advantage to the athletes is that with more talent playing together, it raises the level of competition and training among players.
“It will bring energy in a competitive spirit because some of the great athletes in our area are going to be training under one roof,” Lara said. “And that raises the level of our training quality and also our athletes, that were with us, have access to their training because of their coaches and Pete is an excellent trainer. To have him and his experience is a great benefit.”
In regards to limited resources, the merging of the two clubs means all teams will train at McDermont X. Previously Pipeline trained at Porterville College where Rasmussen is the head coach of the Pirates’ volleyball team. But now all teams will have the ability to train at the same time on McDermont’s four courts.
Since Rasmussen coaches at PC and the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) has put a ban on in-person recruiting, he said he is limited in what he can do with the club from a coaching standpoint but will serve on the board of directors and help make decisions.
“Once we’re allowed to (recruit), then I can go in and watch the practices and meet the kids,” Rasmussen said. “That’s how I saw it. It lets me focus a little bit more on Porterville College.” The Pirates’ volleyball season begins in January 2021 with the first day of practice on Jan. 21. The high school season begins for Central Section schools in December with the first day of practice on Dec. 14.
The club season is expected to begin with Southern California Volleyball Association (SCVA) tournaments beginning in October then slowing down in December and early January with high school volleyball beginning. However with new rules this season, the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) is allowing students to play on both their high school and club teams at the same time.