Rockville Athletes Compete in Club Leagues to Stay Active


Sam Brami

Rockville athlete, Sam Brami steps up to bat in club league game.


Despite being one of the smallest high schools in Montgomery County, Rockville High School has a reputation of fielding competitive sports teams in nearly all of its varsity sports. But, often overlooked is the participation of many RHS students in club sports programs that hone their skills and pit them against tougher competition. 

Club sports teams are typically formed outside of school and have no connection to MCPS except for the players competing in the games. The little known secret is that it allows student-athletes to battle competitively with schools twice the size of RHS when competition returns to campus. Club sports have been a great outlet for students who have been unable to play due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although it has been a rough transition, coaches at RHS have done their best to adapt. They have been reaching out to their teams to ask about player interest in club teams.

Girls soccer and boys baseball are just a couple of the varsity sports who are fielding teams at the club level. Coaches and players both feel that, while not ideal, it allows athletes to continue to hone their skills, stay in game shape and have an outlet and social connection that is missing in our current online learning environment.

“We practice where we can locally. The kids are excited to be out there working out. There actually isn’t any connection to the high school at all, and that’s part of the new experience,” girls varsity soccer coach Neil Gottleib said.

The girls soccer team plays their games in Howard County where they compete against other high school teams that have joined club leagues as well. Fortunately for most players, their club coach is the same as their high school coach. The team rosters aren’t identical to their high school teams though, as players from different schools or programs are welcome to join the team. Some players believe it’s a great way to compete against schools and programs from neighboring counties that they may never see unless they are matched up against them in the state playoffs.

“What’s great about the club team is that it comprises kids from all over. Many I’ve met for the first time, some from other high schools and clubs. Friends of players or people just heard we were putting a team together,” Gottlieb said.

Gottlieb, now in his second year, has also been communicating with players and encouraging them to stay in shape and stay connected.

“I have been in contact via text and phone calls with players from previous year’s varsity and JV [teams], and had a huge focus on keeping up on their skills and fitness; not knowing when they would be on the field,” Gottleib said. 

“The club team is a great channel for team bonding and development. It has helped the soccer team immensely” girls varsity soccer captain Emilia Webb said.

Unlike girls soccer, boys baseball is staying in Montgomery County for their club league play. In addition to a change in location, boys baseball is being coached by Gerry Blackwell for their club league, rather than their usual high school coach, Farron Riggs. The point of their games is to have fun and keep players’ skills up, junior baseball player Sam Brami said. 

“We don’t really practice; maybe every once in a while at Rockville. I think the club league is a really good experience for the team. It’s been great for team bonding. Everyone gets along so well,” Brami said.

Brami believes that if MCPS orders the continuation of sports for high school in the spring, this club league should prepare the team perfectly.

“Usually in the beginning of our season we are really rusty. With the club team, I think we’re going to be fully prepared and ready for the season ahead of us,” Brami said.