Wave Volleyball is taking its game to new heights

It’s safe to say that Wave Volleyball suffers from an embarrassment of riches.

The Del Mar-based club boasts top teenage talent guided by dozens of elite coaches and alumni every year who ascend to the best collegiate programs in the country.

And now, they have the facility to go with it.

Three years after embarking on their vision to turn a 55,000-square-foot dirt lot on Jimmy Durante Boulevard into a cutting-edge volleyball operation, Wave at last put the finishing touches on their gleaming facility this spring to include offices and space for players to relax and do homework. Wave’s owners and coaches celebrated the milestone with a ribbon-cutting last week.

It was the culmination of a decade-old dream for Brennan and Kristen Dean, who bought Wave five years ago then partnered with their friends Doug and Rosanna Forsyth to take the club to a whole new level.

“Our goal was to make the best facility in Southern California,” Brennan Dean said. “One sand court had been the initial idea. Then we saw this space and realized we could do a lot more.”

So they turned the dirt lot across from the Del Mar Fairgrounds into a volleyball facility without rival in the San Diego region, with lighted sand courts, an on-site exercise facility tailor-made for volleyball training, and three indoor courts featuring Olympic-quality flooring.

That Teraflex surface is key.

“The wood floors will tear you up pretty good,” Dean said. “[Teraflex] still has the bounce that a basketball floor has but it feels like a yoga mat when you sit on it.”

The facility is fast becoming a regional hub for competitive youth volleyball. They’ve already hosted a tournament of 16 teams. In a few months, they’ll host a tournament of 32 high school teams.

When Wave was founded in 2000, Brennan and Kristen were on board as coaches. They’re now married, and Wave now draws top teenage talent from San Clemente to Temecula to the Mexican border. Demand the last couple years has shot through the roof, especially since the NCAA made women’s sand volleyball an official sport.

They start at kindergarten age — with the aptly named “ripple” program — and go up to 18 years old. There are 40 teams in all, totaling some 600 kids. Year in and year out, Wave is one of the top 10 clubs in the country, Dean said. Two of its coaches are former USA volleyball Olympians. The rest of the coaching roster is littered with current players at UC San Diego, the University of San Diego, Sand Diego State University and Point Loma Nazarene University. They have full-time staff dedicated to college recruitment, and nearly all the players go on to compete at a four-year college, Dean said —dozens of them on full scholarship.

“We really make sure that we’re preparing our athletes for the next level by giving them next-level coaches,” he said. “We’ve got great families coming to support this club. We work really hard to get scholarships for our kids and get them opportunities. Another thing that we’re proud of here is the life skills that we’re able to teach these athletes. We think it’s a very unique, special place to teach kids.”

And with the gleaming new facility, it’s not solely for the crème de la crème.

“Because of this expansion we’re now able to bring any level of volleyball into this facility,” Dean said. “Beforehand we were only an elite volleyball club that had to turn away, unfortunately, a number of families due to the space. But now we’re able to expand and bring so many more new kids of different levels, so it’s really exciting for all of us to work with them.”

Learn more at www.wavevb.com.

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