Two teams play on one of the many courts at the AAU Volleyball Championships

2,438 teams. 172 courts. Countless female athletes. (And thousands of whistles, of course). The AAU Girls’ Junior National Volleyball Championships is the world’s largest volleyball tournament – filled with teams from all over the globe. After talking with hundreds of these players, let me tell you – being a strong, female athlete knows no boundaries.

I sat down with 15-year-old Allie Trame and talked about about her future goals for college volleyball and what being a female athlete means to her. “When I step onto the court, I’m in the zone. I’m working my butt off because I know where I want to go and I’m here to work for that. I’m out there proving girls can put the ball down and be awesome,” Trame stated.

Allie Trame (Right) and teammate

That power and determination on the court translates into everyday confidence for these players. Trame stated, “Girls in school are sometimes self-conscious about their body image. But when I’m on the court I don’t care what I look like. It’s not about that. I’m not wearing makeup, I’m sweating, I’m falling all over the floor, and everyone else is doing it too. The court is a place where I can be myself.”

Beyond being volleyball players, these girls are role models. They’re out on the court showing their younger AAU club members, sisters, and all the other women watching that being a strong female athlete is important and something they should strive to be. “We showed them this is what it [looks] like to be an elite athlete here at our club. It’s great to be able to show other girls that [they] can do it too,” Trame said.

So what are these girls made of? Drive. Power. Strength. They’re dedicated young women with elite talent and big goals. Trame said, “I look at where I am and how far I’ve come with the hard work and time I’ve put in. I’m proud that I’m able to prove myself as a female athlete on the court.”