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I keep hearing about Early Signing... what is this all about?

Certain Volleyball Clubs (not all Clubs) had the opportunity to send Early-Signing offers to 17U & 18U athletes starting (and not before) September 5th, until September 11th this year. This period of early signing is something that is set out by Volleyball Manitoba and it involves some very strict criteria which all athletes and parents/guardians should know.

Volleyball Manitoba (VM) is the one and only governing body for volleyball in Manitoba. They oversee the sport of volleyball for our entire province, which includes  regulating Clubs that operate programs for athletes. VM decides the rules around what Clubs can and can't do (which is a very important role for athletes), and they also review and approve (or sanction) Clubs after they've vetted them and made sure they fulfill certain requirements. Not all Clubs follow VM rules, but if they are not approved by VM, they may not be eligible to participate in VM sanctioned tournaments, Provincials, or even Nationals.

When selecting a Club for your athlete, it's really important to do your research to ensure that the Club has been checked and approved by VM

The process of Early-Signing (or pre-signing) Club athletes is strictly regulated by VM (for good reason), and can also be a little confusing. 

What is Early-Signing? 

It's basically a way for a Club to commit to you, and for you to commit to a Club long before Club season. It's an agreement between you and the Club that you have a spot on their team.

You get to skip the sometimes stressful process of trying-out for Clubs during the tryout period in December, and the quite often stressful period of waiting to see if you get selected. Instead, it offers you the peace of mind of knowing where you'll play and who you'll play for before school season is even really in gear in September. The Early Signing is in early September, long before Club season even starts. 

Who can be Early-Signed? 

For the 2024 Season, only 17U and 18U teams can early-sign athletes. This has changed from the 2023 Season! 

Can any Club Early-Sign Athletes? 

No. Only Clubs that have been approved by Volleyball Manitoba can offer Early-Signing to athletes. This is something that we encourage everyone to check into before accepting an offer as there are Clubs that may not be approved by Volleyball Manitoba. (btw, you'll see us on their approved list.)

Want to Know More?

We've copied the information from VM's site below and have underlined some of the points that are important to conisider before you choose to early-sign with a Club. Please also feel free to visit this information directly on their site

"2023/24 Club Volleyball Early Signing and December Tryout Procedures

Athletes who are interested in joining a Club Volleyball team for the 2023/24 season can do so in two ways, depending on their age category.

As previously notified and communicated, the Early Signing Period is only open for Athletes playing in the 17U and 18U age categories. The Early Signing Period will be in effect this year from Sep 5-11 and allows clubs to offer spots to players and formally receive commitments for the 2023/24 season.  17U-18U athletes who are not signed during the Early Signing Period will have the opportunity to try out for a team during the December Tryout Period.

For athletes who will be playing 13U, 14U, 15U or 16U, the first formal opportunity to commit to a team begins in December during the tryout period.  Athletes at the 13U, 14U, 15U or 16U age category should not be expected to make commitments to club teams during the Early Signing Window, or at any point earlier than the December tryout period.

A list of Approved Clubs, including Tryout Information, is available HERE and will be periodically updated as more clubs become approved.

For full Scouting and Recruiting Regulations, please check our website HERE.

Clubs and athletes are not obligated to use the Early Signing Period and may continue to use the tryout period in December to explore all options.

The following outlines the process to follow if clubs and athletes/families would like to formally offer and accept club roster spots (for 17U and 18U):

  • The Offer and Agreement Form is available on the Volleyball Manitoba website HERE in early September.
  • Any Club planning on utilizing the early signing window must be an Approved Club for the 2023-24 season. Instructions on the Club Approval process are posted HERE.

Clubs planning to utilize the Early-Signing Period will need to:

  • Create their teams in SportLomo;
  • Register (at least) their Head Coaches for those teams;
  • Ensure that those coaches have their PIA requirements completed and uploaded in SportLomo;
  • Add those Head Coaches to their appropriate rosters in the system;
    No later than August 31st

Only teams that have met the above requirements will be permitted to utilize the Early-Signing window.

Additionally, please note that athletes must be signed to a specific team within a club, they can not be signed to a club with the team to-be-determined later.

  • Offers can be made beginning September 5 and all early signed players must be formally submitted to VM by September 12 at 11:59pm.
  • Athletes may receive offers from a Club at any time during the Offer Period, however Clubs must allow athletes at least 3 days to consider offers. This means that clubs should not expect a commitment from athletes until September 8 at the earliest.
  • Once Clubs have a signed and accepted offer, they must submit this information to Volleyball Manitoba before the end of the early signing period.  Player Positions will also need to be included.
  • Please note that teams with Early Signed Players need a Head Coach assigned to the team at time of registration.
  • Clubs who have signed players will have team and player lists published on the Volleyball Manitoba website. This is in place to help provide unsigned athletes with some direction during the December Tryout Window, letting them know which Clubs/Teams have which roster positions filled already.
  • Athletes choosing not to sign an offer during the Early Signing Period may then enter the December Tryout Period. These athletes can try out for other club teams during this time.
  • No further communication or contact from other clubs can be made with an athlete once they have signed an offer.
  • Clubs can not hold Camps, Tryouts or any other programs during the early signing window.
  • No formal offers may be made to athletes between September 12 and the start of the December Tryout Period.
  • Clubs that have signed athletes through the Early Signing Period can maintain contact throughout the school season, however, clubs are still not allowed to train as a team during this season and athletes are not required to attend any club activity such as camps.
  • Clubs should avoid conflict with School programs and encourage athletes to prioritize their School Season.

When a club makes an offer to an athlete and the athlete accepts and commits during the early signing period in September, it is intended as a commitment by both parties for the club season, just as if the offer and commitment were made during the try-out period in December. Once they have signed and committed to an offer, athletes are considered signed until the end of the Club Season and any signed athlete may not be recruited by any other club (no further communication or contact from other clubs can be made).

Athletes who have committed to a team during the Early Signing Window are posted HERE (full info, including specific teams and playing positions, will be updated soon!)

Please note that if an Athlete is not listed here, they are not considered signed and are free to be recruited according to our regulations and/or attend tryouts in December.  If a Team is not listed here, they have not early signed any players.

Volleyball Manitoba will review the Early Signing Process moving forward to ensure it is meeting its intended purpose for the best interests of athletes and clubs."