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PAUL closes in Western Market
By Ella Mitchell, Staff Writer • April 22, 2024

Amateur sports leagues around D.C. to join for community, physical activity

Phebe Grosser | Staff Photographer
The District has several amateur rowing clubs that offer memberships for everyone from experts to interested beginners.

With most of GW’s club teams on hold for the time being, consider joining one of D.C.’s many amateur sports communities. 

Sports communities around the city would allow you to build camaraderie, establish friendships outside of Foggy Bottom and get active outdoors. While D.C. regulations currently limit organized sporting events, many clubs and leagues are still recruiting for future seasons starting in the summer and fall.

Here’s a rundown of different groups you can check out if you’re interested in soccer, basketball, rowing or running.  

For soccer lovers:

Washington Area Women’s Soccer League

Since 1982, Washington Area Women’s Soccer League has sought to promote women’s fitness and well-being through an international favorite. It is the only amateur women’s league in the area, and its teams are open to players of all athletic abilities. While there are currently no activities, trainings or tournaments scheduled, you can take part in some socially distanced events to get to know other players. 

Teams negotiate fees for a nine- to 10-game season, which has not yet been determined because of the pandemic. Around $60 to join a tournament as a free agent per event.

DC Premiere League

With nearly 8,000 players training at places like St. Albans School and Gallaudet University, you’re bound to find new friends at the Premier League. The association is also prominent in community efforts, raising more than $75,000 for D.C. youth sports programs in 2019. Spring registration is closed, but you can still sign up online as a new player interested in future seasons.

Teams negotiate fees, usually between $100 and $150 for a seven-game season. 

Federal Triangles Soccer Club

Besides different teams, clinics and tournaments, this LGBTQ club has all-gender competitive and non-competitive events. While there are currently limited training clinics and socially distanced outings, the club’s website indicates it hopes to return to normal operations in a “reasonable” amount of time as more and more Washingtonians are vaccinated. 

Yearly membership fee of about $50. 

For basketball fanatics: 

DC CityBall 

Whether you’re looking for women’s, men’s or co-ed competitive groups, DC CityBall offers various opportunities throughout the spring and winter seasons. If basketball isn’t your calling, the club also offers flag football, softball and volleyball leagues and competitions to join. All spring events are currently on hold, but you can still register online as a prospective player. Teams consist of a maximum of 30 players, and the total number of teams depends on how many players are interested each season. 

Teams negotiate fees per season, between $95 and $125 for a nine- to 10-game season. 

DC Gay Basketball League

Becoming an official association in 2019, DC Gay Basketball League is a “safe space” for any LGBTQ individual, according to the league’s mission statement. In addition to open gym days, you can expect several social outings with different league teams, like card game nights and bar crawls. There are currently no trainings or tournaments scheduled for the spring, but you can email [email protected] to join its mailing list and receive the registration link for future seasons. 

No price set for future seasons. 2019 winter season ranged between $100 and $120.

For rowing geeks:

Capital Rowing Club

Take advantage of the Potomac and Anacostia rivers with the Capital Rowing Club, which offers both men’s, women’s and co-ed competitive and recreational groups. If you’re a newbie, the club also has beginner’s classes to get you up and going. Up to four people can simultaneously use the club’s indoor rowing machines at the Anacostia Community Boathouse, and outdoor team training is available for up to 12 people at a time, according to the club’s website

Annual membership fee set at $100 for students. 

Rock Creek Rowing

This adult amateur group also has classes for beginners, and it offers special rates for coxswains – or boat leaders – if you are an experienced rower. For the time being, you can also enjoy virtual Zoom training with the club’s coaches. 

Annual membership fee set at $275 but is lowered to $150 for coxswains. Additional fees apply for those who join competitions. 

DC Strokes Rowing

One of only five official LGBTQ rowing associations in the world, DC Stroke Rowing’s goal is to “empower” queer athletes, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. The club also offers sculling and sweeping specific training programs, and you can register for private classes with the group’s coaches. 

Annual membership fee set at $40. Additional costs apply for those who join competitions or private classes.

For running enthusiasts:

District Running Collective

Open to anyone living in the DMV, District Running Collective’s mission is to build a dedicated fitness community, according to the group’s website. In addition to virtual training sessions, membership grants you access to Wednesday and Saturday group runs as well as team competitions around the DMV. 

Annual membership fee set at $199. 

The November Project

D.C.’s chapter of the November Project – an international running association with 52 chapters worldwide – is a fitness social group for early birds, with virtual zoom workouts, Monday at 6:30 a.m. If you’re looking to explore more of the city, the routes for Saturday runs change every week, which allows members to explore different neighborhoods. 

No membership fee.

DC Front Runners

With more than 400 members, DC Front Runners is a running club primarily tailored for LGBTQ individuals, but any person regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity is welcome to join. The group is currently limiting group runs to a maximum of 40 people. Perks of membership include access to East Coast races, virtual happy hours and special LGBTQ social events with other queer organizations. 

Annual membership fee set at $10 for students.

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