Year after year they are ranked as one of the top teams in the country and among the best in the DMV. Even on their off years they crack the national top 25 and have been a mainstay in virtually every DMV top 5 ranking. The team is the Riverdale Baptist Crusaders, nicknamed the Swagg Team. Players have graduated to be college All-Americans, been selected to college all-conference teams and some former Crusaders went on to be college coaches themselves. What's the formula? Well having previously spent some time in the program myself as a coach, I can attest first hand to the early emphasis on skill development. While many programs subscribe to some sort of skill development program, the Crusaders, however, march to their own drum. They operate under their own set of rules, allowing players to not actually attend the school to play, and accepting transfer students that may not be eligible to move to other privates because the strict and sometimes unfair transfer rules. While some players head to RBS as an escape, most line up to attend for the national exposure offered.
For those looking for national and even international exposure RBS has it. Playing about 60% of it's schedule outside of the DMV boundaries, the Crusaders have even played outside of the US in the Bahamas and Germany. They also have several so called "national championships" in Texas, Indiana, New York, Tennessee and other places while playing quite a few games on national television. One may ask, "why travel so much when there is so much competition locally in the DMV?" Well most of the to DMV teams refuse to play RBS. Why? That's the million dollar question that has been answered many ways, but the center to each answer is fear. Answers range from fear that RBS will try to steal their players to fear that they will lose to them and causing their rankings will drop and even fear that the Crusaders style of play is too rough and may hurt their players. Whatever the true reason is, most of the top local teams will not play RBS, which jacks up local rankings when RBS loses to a nationally ranked team from out of town.
Now, after the critics predicted yet another "down year", the Crusaders reload replacing the graduating "big three" as Chantelle Gross replaces Chania Ray, Alexus Willey replaces Chloe Jackson and Zion Campbell replaces Khaila Prather. With the lone returning starter, a much improved Lena Niang, the Swagg Team with undoubtedly enter the season on someones national top 25 list and locally top 5 again.