California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

    Impact of International Players

    iversity men’s tennis team boasts a roster of 13 players, with six of them being international students.

    They include junior Dara Kashani from Tehran, Iran; junior Dat Le from Sydney, Australia; sophomore Jesper Lunding-Johansson from Stocksund, Sweden; sophomore Fergus Scott from Wellington, New Zealand; senior Andrew Slater from Vancouver, Canada; and his brother junior Ian Slater, also from Vancouver, Canada.

    “It was a tough decision [in choosing where to go to play college tennis] but ultimately the game changer for me was the weather. It’s probably the biggest thing,” Scott said, who is in his second year at Cal Lutheran.

    Scott said he was looking at schools outside of California but eventually decided to go West.

    “I was looking at a few schools, mainly in the Northeast. Mainly Amherst College, Williams College and Brown University, and I settled on this one due to the prime academic atmosphere and obviously, for the weather,” Scott said.

    Andrew Slater however, knew he would be joining his brother Ian at Cal Lutheran from the start.

    “I was in a unique situation where my brother was a junior at the school already so I was able to come join him down here, be a doubles team together. The weather of course, is amazing compared to Vancouver. We get a lot of rain. From an educational standpoint as well, Cal Lu is really strong,” Andrew Slater said. “I wasn’t considering anything else. This was kind of the only option for me just because my brother was here so I didn’t really look around at anything else.”

    Kashani said he chose the Cal Lutheran tennis team for the coach and because of its location, but considered University of California, Santa Cruz and attended University of California, Riverside before attending Cal Lutheran.

    Kashami and Scott, being quite far away from home, find themselves in a place very different from where they have grown up.

    Kashani said California is “very different from Iran. It’s a lot more free.”

    For Scott, one of  the things he admires most about the United States is the amount of freedom.

    “I think  for me the biggest thing, the biggest difference between here and New Zealand, is the amount of freedom. It’s tangible and it’s great to be able to live in a country that has the kind of atmosphere that this one does. It’s really a pleasure,” Scott said.

    Every large change in life comes with difficulties and challenges, and the guys have had a bit of trouble adjusting to life in the States.

    “I come from a place where we play indoor. Indoor is basically year round, we’ve got maybe two months in the summer but when we come down here, we’re playing every day in the heat. It’s very windy, so to be able to practice that way for some of the international guys, it’s difficult but we’ve got to work hard,” Andrew Slater said.

    Scott has had a bit more trouble adjusting to life at Cal Lutheran, since he is over 6,000 miles away from his home in New Zealand.

    “For me, it’s been difficult. The culture here is a lot different [than] New Zealand. Obviously America is a much larger country than New Zealand. L.A. itself is three times the size of my entire country so I kind of have to get used to seeing people everywhere and not really having [my] own space and solitude, which can be really nice sometimes,” Scott said.

    The international students on the men’s tennis team have an example to look toward when they may be feeling homesick.

    Thomas Millet played at Cal Lutheran for two years as an international player from France and is now working as an assistant coach for the team. Millet loves the school, the weather and the tennis environment. He said everything is  better than France.

    “It’s more competitive here. In France, people are just not warriors on the court. And here in the U.S., no matter what sport you play, everybody is a warrior and wants to win,” Millet said.

    Millet’s view of American teams as warriors on the court was proven as the Cal Lutheran men’s tennis team took on the NAIA No. 9 Westmont in Santa Barbara, California on Feb. 11.

    The Kingsmen won with a 5-0 victory.

    In preparation for future games and the rest of the season, Scott said this year has been different than last.  Since many of the older players have graduated, there is room for growth and learning with the younger, more inexperienced players.

    “If we can get some of these younger guys tuned up and get them some experience out on the court in a college setting, it’s going to be extremely beneficial for their time at Cal Lutheran and on the college team. I think that if we can tap into that throughout the course of the season, that we can be really competitive on the top-level of this division,” Scott said.

    Andrew Slater said the win over Westmont was due to the team’s hard work and there is an exciting year ahead for Cal Lutheran men’s tennis.

    “Now we have a younger squad working a lot harder,” Andrew Slater said. “We know we have to work harder because we’re not the strongest here but we took down No. 9 yesterday which was a nice upset … but we keep working hard and the program is going to keep growing and growing for us so we’re really looking forward to the future here.”

    Amber Rocha
    Staff Writer
    Published February 18th, 2015