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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Loudoun Freedom?
The Loudoun Freedom is an independent 501(c)(3) Non-Profit girls basketball organization that has existed since 2004. It provides opportunities for girls to play basketball at a highly competitive level. The Freedom has existed and grown steadily for 12 years.

What is AAU (Amateur Athletic Union)?
The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) is one of the largest, non-profit, volunteer, sports organizations in the United States. The AAU is dedicated exclusively to the promotion and development of amateur sports and physical fitness programs. AAU/club basketball represents an elevated level of competition from recreational or "local" travel basketball. While teams may vary in ability, they are typically comprised of players who develop skills and compete beyond the recreational or middle school level.

What is the philosophy of the Loudoun Freedom?
The Loudoun Freedom seeks to develop girls from around the region into highly skilled and knowledgeable players who can compete at a high level. Our approach includes bringing quality players together to play with and against other quality players, thus challenging them to excel. We develop strong players and strong teams. The Freedom promotes player effort and growth, not just "results". The organization supports competitiveness while avoiding a "win-at-all cost" mentality.

What is the culture of the Loudoun Freedom?
First, the Freedom is an organization for girls and about girls. We emphasize cooperative relationships, the team concept, positive mindsets, confidence, and competitiveness. Overall, the Freedom promotes a culture of chemistry and unity and mutual support among our members. We also strive to promote individuals with strong moral character by stressing the fundamental values of sportsmanship, selflessness, a team-first mentality, hard work, respect, integrity, loyalty, self-control, self-confidence, and leadership. The Freedom promotes a family type of atmosphere that grows great relationships and sees members supporting each other's daughters on the team, supporting the coaching staff and supporting the organization.

What are some benefits of playing for the Loudoun Freedom?

  • Girls are the top priority
  • Team play at a highly competitive level
  • Members of the Loudoun Freedom typically develop advanced skills, knowledge, and understanding of how to play
  • Developed many of the top players in elementary, middle, and high school over the last 12 years and prepares players to compete at the high school and college level
  • Experienced, quality coaches
  • Advanced training opportunities outside of team practices
  • Opportunities to play year round
  • Promotes confidence, teamwork, character
  • Members develop great relationships with teammates and other families

    How is the Freedom organized?
    The Freedom operates under the direction of a chairperson and board of directors. The chairperson provides leadership, oversees all the activities of the Freedom, and runs the day-to-day operations of the organization. The members of the board of directors provide roles that support the chair person and the organization. Each Freedom team has self-governing structures such as a team manager, treasurer, and other coordinator roles that assist a coach and families. You can find the information on volunteer roles.

    What age groups does the Freedom support?
    The Loudoun Freedom will support girls' teams from 2nd grade through 11th grades. Support for specific ages may vary depending on the season. For example, high school-age AAU teams are not typically active in the winter due to high school seasons. 2nd grade groups are developmental teams.

    Does the Freedom support high school age teams?
    Yes. The Freedom sponsors high school age girl teams especially in the spring-summer season. There are no Freedom high school teams during the winter season. The ability to support high school-age teams in the fall depends on interest. High schools themselves typically field informal teams in fall leagues. Freedom high school age team may have schedules that include exposure and showcase events during the summer that support the college recruiting process.

    Does the Freedom support boys' teams?
    The Freedom is a girls' basketball organization and does not support boys' teams.

    How is the eligibility for each team determined?
    Teams are based on school grade. See the age determination rules on the Tryout Information page.

    When are tryouts?
    The Freedom holds open tryouts once a year in February to start the spring season. Check the Freedom Tryout Information page for specific dates and times. When the dates and times are set, information will also be listed in sports information listings in local newspapers. There will be two tryouts for each age group spread over 2 weeks.

    How do I register my daughter for tryouts? Is there a fee involved?
    All interested players should register for tryouts by registering on-line before coming to the tryouts. While we encourage parents to register their daughters online in advance, they can register at the time of tryouts by bringing a printed hardcopy registration form (pdf). All potential players must pay a $25 non-refundable fee at the time of the tryout.

    Does my daughter have to attend tryouts?
    Interested players are expected to make at least one tryout if they wish to be selected for a team. No player is guaranteed a spot on a team. All current players must re-earn spots on teams. The Freedom will schedule separate tryouts for high school players taking into account that their teams might participate in conference or state playoffs.

    Does my daughter have to attend both tryouts?
    All players are encouraged to attend both tryouts to give them the best opportunity to be evaluated by coaches. Attending both tryouts gives players more opportunities to demonstrate their abilities to the coaches. Please notify us with the reason if your daughter has to miss a tryout so that we know you remain interested in your daughter being considered.

    What if my daughter cannot attend either tryout?
    There are times when a player cannot make either tryout for the grade due to vacations or other conflicts. Your daughter can attend a tryout for a different/appropriate age group if possible so she can be evaluated. If your daughter cannot attend any of the scheduled tryouts, please communicate this to the Freedom organization. Every effort will be made to schedule a make-up tryout session for players who cannot attend the tryouts.

    Can my daughter play up?
    Players interested in "playing up" should register for their correct age group and attend at least one tryout in that age group. Contact the Loudoun Freedom regarding how the organization will handle this situation. The ability to play on older teams is more than about skill level or physical ability; it is also about placing players where they may experience success. Final decisions on requests to play up will be made by the Freedom organization.

    Can my daughter play down a grade?
    Typically players participate on teams within their own grade. There are rules that allow for a player deemed to be young for their grade to play down a grade if they meet certain age requirements as of August 31 of the upcoming year. You can see requirements per grade on the Tryout Information page. Contact the Freedom organization if you have questions about the specific requirements.

    Can my daughter play for a Freedom team if I do not live in Loudoun County?
    Interested players from bordering AAU districts can play on Freedom teams. A team that intends to participate in AAU qualifying tournaments can have a maximum of 3 players from bordering AAU districts.

    What do players do once they arrive at the tryout?
    Upon arriving at the tryout location, parents should check their daughters in at the registration table to confirm or submit registrations. Players will receive an identifying number. Players should not bring their own basketballs to tryouts. Players can shoot around until the tryouts begin.

    Are parents able to watch tryouts?
    Parents are welcome to watch tryouts but we ask that parents refrain from coaching from the sidelines or distracting the prospective players. Seating in gyms may be limited. Parents should stay off the court

    How are teams selected?
    Each player has an opportunity to make a team. Coaches and staff will evaluate players based on their basketball skills, knowledge, athleticism, attitude, potential role or ability to contribute, competitiveness, and other criteria. No player is guaranteed a spot on a team. Players are encouraged to make all tryouts so that the coaches can evaluate them fairly. The goal is to build viable, competitive teams. There are a limited number of positions on teams.

    How many teams are there in an age group?
    In general, the Freedom will seek to have 2 teams per age group. The ability to have more than one viable team in any grade depends on player turnout at tryouts, having coaches in place for teams, and having practice space to support the team. However, the Freedom will form multiple teams in an age group only if the teams are viable and can compete. If there is more than one team in an age group, the Freedom will place players on teams where they will experience the most success.

    How many players are placed on teams?
    The majority of teams typically have 10-11 players though this can vary depending on turnout at tryouts, player talent, injuries, or other factors.

    Can my daughter tryout for a specific coach's team?
    All players in an age group or grade attend the same tryouts for that grade. Players cannot expect to request coaches in the event that there is more than one team.

    How will I be notified if my daughter is selected for a team?
    All registered players who attended tryouts will be notified of their status by the Freedom organization - whether they are selected or not. Registered prospects will be sent an email informing them of their status. We try to inform players of our decisions as soon as possible but team formation and communication can take time.

    My daughter has been offered a spot on a Freedom team. What happens next?

    1. Upon being offered a spot on a Freedom team, families will have 24 hours to accept the offer. Accepting a spot on a Freedom team includes paying season administrative fees as an official indication of acceptance of the offer. If a family does not take this step, the offer will be revoked.
    2. Parents will provide a copy of their daughter's birth certificate.
    3. Parents will sign and return the "Freedom Liability Waiver and Medical Release" form before their daughter can participate in team activities.
    4. Parents will read the Commitment Statement and be willing to sign up for a Volunteer Role on their daughters' team
    5. The Freedom or team managers will communicate with parents about uniforms, practices, fees, preliminary schedules, and other available information.
    6. Teams will start practicing as soon as gym space allows.
    7. The coach will hold a team meeting for parents and players where the she or he will discuss their approach, expectations and plans.
    See the Tryout Information page for more information.

    What is the commitment involved with the Loudoun Freedom?
    The Freedom involves seasonal play. Spring teams play in 6 to 9 weekend tournaments between April and June, though some may extend their spring season to include tournaments in March or July. Tournaments may be local or may involve some travel, depending on a particular team's schedule. Tournaments generally involve 3-4 games over the tournament weekend. Teams do not play every weekend. Schedules for teams that play in fall and winter involve a combination of league games and tournaments. It is expected that a player will make games and practices as much as possible.

    How often do Freedom teams practice?
    Freedom teams practice twice a week as gym space allows. There may also be clinics, training sessions, and open gyms available during seasons to give players extra opportunities to develop. Players should be prepared to practice on the days and times, and locations the team is assigned.

    Where do Loudoun Freedom teams practice?
    The specific practice locations or gym sites are based on gym space availability. The goal is to have Freedom teams practice in consistent, centrally located locations because the organization draws players from all over the county. However, gym space availability may dictate practice locations that are not central. Players should be prepared to practice on the days, times, and any locations the team is assigned.

    Where do Freedom teams play? How much do they travel?
    The Freedom is not a league. Spring teams play in at least 6 to 9 weekend tournaments between April and June, though some may extend their spring season to include tournaments in March or July. Tournaments generally involve 3-4 games over the tournament weekend. While most tournaments are local (Loudoun County, Fairfax County, Montgomery County, Winchester, Prince George's County, Washington, DC, etc.), schedules could involve an element of travel or potential overnighters. The coach will be responsible for laying out a proposed team schedule at the beginning of season so parents know what to expect.

    Do Freedom teams play year-round?
    The Freedom is a year-round playing program for our non-high school age groups. Teams are active in some capacity in the spring, summer, fall, and winter. We believe that the Freedom, as a highly competitive level of basketball, represents the best option for players in all seasons - including winter. Playing and competing with quality teammates and against tough competition has high value and makes players better. We encourage our players to play year-round. You can see the comparative growth in skills and knowledge in players who are active. We build in breaks so that players and parents remain fresh as well. Teams are active in some capacity in the summer. Summer is not meant to be heavy given vacation schedules and other activities. It may involve some light combination of practices and a tournament; it is not intended to be heavy and primarily focuses on players working in the gym to improve themselves. The program also involves summer camps and group training clinics in the summer.

    Do Freedom teams play in the winter?
    As part of the year-round program, our teams (excluding our high school age teams) do play in the winter. The winter season runs from December through tryouts in February. We encourage Freedom players to continue to play with the Freedom over the winter in order to benefit from the high level of their teammates and the competition. Families may opt to play for both Freedom and the local programs. Freedom teams will play some combination of league games and tournaments over the winter. They typically do not play every weekend and often do not play on Sundays. Freedom teams will still practice twice a week. Talk to the Freedom leadership if you want more details about winter scheduling.

    What is my daughter misses a lot of practices or games?
    It is expected that players make as many games and practices as possible. There are always potential conflicts. There are normal and natural consequences if players miss events due to choosing other activities (versus having other required events that must be attended). Absences disrupt the team, coaches planning, teammates, and the ability of players to function on the court. Parents should communicate with the coach in a timely manner regarding potential absences so the coach can plan accordingly.

    Can players play for both a Freedom team and another basketball organization?
    We recommend that players do not attempt to play for other basketball organizations. Playing for a Freedom team represents a commitment to the Freedom. Other organizations are typically competitor organizations and will attempt to recruit players. There are also potential conflicts and this could present situations where players end up playing against Freedom teams.

    Is playing time guaranteed if my daughter makes a team?
    The Loudoun Freedom represents a highly competitive level of basketball. There is no guaranteed playing time for any player. Coaches weigh a number of factors for each player and for each game when it comes to starting, distributing playing time, substitution patterns, and game situations. If a parent has questions about playing time or roles, you should not approach a coach right after a game. The best approach to having a productive conversation is to schedule an opportunity to talk to the coach outside of the heat of the moment of a game. The conversation should revolve around what players need to do to improve their ability to contribute. Note that we want all kids to develop and this starts in practice.

    What are the costs associated with playing for the Loudoun Freedom?
    Freedom fees are divided into administrative fees and team fees. Administrative fees include gyms fees, uniforms, and fees associated with running the organization. Team fees include league and tournament registration fees and other costs specific to individual teams. If a team travels to non-local tournaments then there are travel, room and board, etc. All payments are due after the team selection and by the first practice. Note that other or optional costs may include registering with AAU organization or spirit wear (i.e. warm-ups, gym bags, sweatshirts, etc.).

    Note: Gym space costs influence the fees in each season. The Freedom has access to public schools in the spring at a typical rate of $15-30 per practice. However, sports organizations have to use private schools in the fall and winter due to lack of available public school space. Private schools have higher rates making the typical practice session cost in the fall and winter in the $95 range.

    Does the Freedom offer training, clinics, and camps?
    The Freedom's philosophy is that players who want to excel need to work outside of the 2 team practices per week. The organization offers seasonal clinics and training opportunities, open gyms as well as summer camps. Open gyms allow players to get significant playing time in a pressure-free environment. The fees for clinics are typically modest or included in season fees. Information on summer camps is usually released around January so families can plan the summer vacations. We highly recommend that players take advantage of these opportunities in order to further their development.

    Does the Freedom have a college recruiting program?
    Yes. The Freedom provides players who are prospective college student-athletes with resources and a program that will assist them in the college recruiting process. You can find more information and important links on the Freedom College Recruiting webpage. The Freedom also hosts the East Coast individual showcase event.

    What do we need to know about Freedom-sponsored Tournaments?
    The Loudoun Freedom offers two tournaments a year: The Freedom Challenge the last week in April and the Fight Like a Girl tournament the third weekend in October. The FLG tournament is held to raise funds and support for women diagnosed with breast cancer. All Freedom teams play in these tournaments. It is expected that all families support the Freedom and their daughters' teams by volunteering their time to help make these tournaments successful.



    For information, contact the Loudoun Freedom at loudounfreedombball@gmail.com

  • Spring 2016 Tryouts will be held Feb. 14 and Feb. 21. Stayed tuned for more information and registration details.

    Contact loudounfreedombball@gmail.com if you are interested in the Freedom.

    Register Online or submit the Registration Form (PDF)

    Fall 2005 Team Photo