The Idea That Became Matrix Basketball
The idea for what ultimately became the Matrix Basketball program was the 2002 sixth grade Arlington Travel tryouts for FCYBL teams. More than 35 girls showed up for tryouts, but only one team was formed. Even though his daughter did make the team, Matrix founder Jim Butler looked around the gym and thought, “I’ll take the next 12 girls and form a second team” and then he set about a plan to do just that.
The initial idea was to give a larger group of Arlington girls the opportunity to play select-level basketball and the first step was to build a team to compete during the spring and summer to make a case the next fall to form an additional travel team.
The chance to create more opportunities for Arlington’s girls to play select-level basketball was the major motivation to the idea that became Matrix Basketball.
Formation of the Matrix Program
After spending the 2002-2003 Arlington Rec season coaching the Fiery Dragons and following up with many of those same players cut from travel tryouts in October 2002, 18 players were selected in the Spring of 2003 and the first Matrix team was formed. The team’s first practices were held on outdoor courts at local parks and schools.
In a team vote, the players voted to select the name "Arlington Matrix" for the team and the black and green colors from the Matrix movie were adopted as team colors.
The Matrix played .500 ball during summer league, laying the groundwork for forming a second 7th grade travel team in the fall.
2003-2006: Pre-AAU Years - "All-Arlington" Teams
When initially formed, Matrix Basketball was known as the Arlington Matrix, and all Matrix teams were "All-Arlington" teams, meaning only Arlington residents were rostered on the teams. With an initial objective of supplementing and later growing the Arlington Travel program, this All-Arlington policy made perfect sense.
2007-Present: AAU Years and Program Expansion
Beginning with the 2007 season, the Matrix program began to form AAU teams with non-Arlington County residents. The program quickly expanded, going from six Matrix AAU teams in 2007 (for Grades 4-7 only) to fielding two teams in most age groups in Grades 3-11 by 2010. Since that time, Matrix AAU teams have performed well regionally and nationally, earning numerous Potomac Valley District medals at the D1 and D2 levels, and many Top-10 finishes at AAU Nationals.
2014 featured a particularly unique achievement, an all-Matrix AAU National Championship game, as the Matrix 2019 Black (7th Grade) team faced off with the 2018 Black (8th Grade) team in the 8th Grade DII AAU Nationals title game.
Throughout the club's growth and expansion, the Matrix Board of Directors has strived to ensure that the club maintains the same core principles that it had at the club's founding: to provide more girls basketball opportunities to girls of all ages, and grow the game in Northern Virginia and beyond.
The Matrix program has been proud to assist hundreds of girls in their personal and basketball development over the years. For more information about some Matrix alumni that have gone on to play college basketball, please visit our alumni page.