18 Apr 2023
How Howard became the driving force behind volleyball in the West
Huddle Up! is a ‘drop in’ style program that creates a safe and welcoming environment to increase participation in sport and recreation activities for young people aged 12-25. As a part of the Huddle Up! Senior program, The Huddle have been running different sports programs at Eagle Stadium since (2017). Young people can attend on Friday nights to play in a social round robin volleyball competition and practice their skills.
There are very limited options for Wyndham residents to play volleyball in a competitive environment outside of the program. Based on this need in community, long-time Huddle participant Howard and his father Joe have started their own club, Melbourne Volleyball Club. Howard capitalized on both a need in the community, and the large attendance numbers at Huddle Up! at Eagle Stadium (380 registrations in 2022), and after much consultation with young people in the area, hatched the plan to start Melbourne Volleyball Club.
Since I had migrated to Australia, the area in which I live doesn't locally offer any sports aside from conventional sports such as footy, cricket, and football. Though I will soon grow out childhood and progress to adulthood, [my dad and I] still aspire to provide kids in a similar situation with the opportunities that I had lacked.- Howard
Howard is 15 and has participated in Huddle Up! Senior at Eagle Stadium since May 2021. He has also been involved with three Huddle Holidays volleyball tournaments and one basketball tournament. In 2022, Howard was also invited to Wyndham Council Sport Leadership Breakfast through The Huddle.
Our aim and objective with MVC is to enrich the Western suburbs with a strong volleyball culture and to provide local players with the opportunities they would otherwise have to travel a long distance for.- Howard
MVC train on a regular basis and enter volleyball competitions against other clubs all around Melbourne and Victoria. A number of these young people involved with MVC have been participating in Huddle Up! at Eagle Stadium for several years and have built great friendships with Howard (who they affectionately refer to as ‘Coach Howard’) and other likeminded young people through the program. At the time of writing, 17 young people have become the founding members of MVC and are taking the next steps of their individual volleyball pathways. Howard and his father hope to, in the future, expand their audience to include primary school aged children in the hopes that they can foster a volleyball culture and inspire new passionate players.
…the sense of duty to improve the community and provide the children with more opportunities has inspired and continues to motivate me. The Huddle has greatly influenced the making of our club. Huddle Up! has brought to our attention that there is great interest and initiative for volleyball in the West of Melbourne.
Howard gave a special shoutout to Huddle volunteer Eli, who has been a great help in the foundational stages of MVC.
Howard stands out in ensuring everyone feels welcome and has a team to play in. He is well respected by the participants and is always seen giving coaching tips to other young people. Howard has always been a strong advocator for the Huddle Up! program and shares the voices and needs of other young people in the community.
Interested in getting started with your own volleyball journey? Huddle Up! Senior at Eagle Stadium runs every Friday night from 4:30pm-6:15pm and 6:15pm-8pm on Court 12. Register via the link here.
Melbourne Volleyball Club is actively recruiting new players. Register your expression of interest here.