Women’s tennis bolsters ranks by increasing recruitment of international students

For Seton Hall women’s tennis coach Kevin McGlynn, recruiting international students has been the running theme for the team since the 1990s.

“The process of international recruitment was not something that just happened,” McGlynn said. “It naturally progressed that way. Even back in the ‘90s, the ratio of international to domestic was 50-50 but now it’s 80-20.”

The group for the 2020-21 tennis season is dominated by international students, with just one of the nine players being from the United States. It’s a style of recruitment that’s worked for the Pirates for over three decades, but there have been many challenges.

Photo via SHU Athletics

“The biggest challenge is to trust what I see on video because when I am comparing an international student to a U.S. student, I get to see the U.S. students play in person, so I want to see how well the international students perform under competition and stress in the match,” McGlynn said.

From a skills standpoint, McGlynn said he noticed that international students tend to play a bit stronger than domestic students, but their different backgrounds are what brings the team together, allowing them to learn and appreciate each other.

According to McGlynn, certain types of services made available to Seton Hall have helped the team with the international recruitment process and branding themselves overseas.

“Those services introduce student-athletes to us because tennis is a global sport and once you get that connection with different countries, there is a level of confidence that develops,” McGlynn said.

Photo via SHU Athletics

These services act as intermediaries between the recruit’s tennis abilities and their desires from the university they attend. While McGlynn does not directly partake in these services, they have led to him getting in touch with many of the current players on the team.

When recruiting international students, McGlynn has paid close attention to their ability to perform on the court and in the classroom.

Once the athletes have been recruited, McGlynn said the team should be able to buy into a common goal as a collective and still advance its own game.

Although most of the team consists of international students, McGlynn said he has been actively recruiting U.S. students every day and wants to get the best quality student-athletes. 

Ashley Howard can be reached at ashley.howard@student.shu.edu.

Author: Andrew Byrd

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