By Andrew Zuker | firstname.lastname@example.org
Expanding recruitment globally creates opportunities for Division II tennis programs, such as Flagler College, to compete at a high level. According to Thomas Hipp, director of tennis at Flagler College, international recruitment is projected to be a large factor in the future success of Flagler College’s tennis program.
A combination of recruitment and development must occur in order to harness a team’s potential to be talented and competitive. In the past, it was possible to recruit athletes who were close to the professional skill level; but now in DII tennis, it is becoming harder to attract talent from the United States.
Hipp explained that the current trend is for Americans who play for DII schools to be recruited and signed by a Division I team. They are then able to develop their skills by facing higher levels of competition.
He went on to express that in order to assemble a competitive team, the ability to recruit internationally is key. Hipp’s philosophy holds true, for when he coached at Barry University, his team won the title with a roster that did not include any Americans.
In many cases, Americans who have the level of talent to compete for titles are exposed to the tennis world at a young age. Talented tennis players are involved in tournaments by the age of 10 or younger, where they are scouted by various programs throughout the country. This creates a difficult situation for a Division II program, because when these players have been talked to and scouted by Division I schools, they tend to steer away from what Division II has to offer.
Because of this trend, DII schools partake in international recruitment to help put together competitive teams. By expanding the recruiting pool to intercontinental waters, programs are able to find young and talented players. Many international tennis players’ goals are to play professionally, and if they cannot secure sponsorship right away, collegiate tennis becomes the alternative to help develop their skills.