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New ITA Program for College Players

Happy New Year and New Decade! The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) is off to a great start to the Roaring (20)20s with its newest initiative to #GrowCollegeTennis –  Tennis For America.

I first heard about the initiative on Twitter (where else?) and reached out to ITA CEO Tim Russell for more information. I am absolutely thrilled to see the ITA getting creative and offering an opportunity for recent graduates to give back and help spread the Tennis Love around the US!

One of my husband’s associates educated me on the Teach For America program which she completed before attending law school. Why shouldn’t tennis take the best from TFA by offering college players a chance to do something for the community at large while developing marketable skills and earning a stipend to help offset living expenses?

Tim Russell told me, “College tennis will be the first major sport to support national service by placing recent college tennis graduate into communities to help mentor vulnerable youth living in poverty with their physical, academic, and personal development.”

John Bridgeland, the 2015 ITA David A Benjamin Achievement Award laureate, who played varsity tennis at Harvard University and is now the CEO of Civic, a bipartisan ideas company specializing in innovative initiatives at the cutting edge of domestic, economic, and international policy, and the ITA’s partner in this initiative, conceived of the idea of this American Peace Corps.

Bridgeland remarked, “In every generation, Americans who have undertaken national service—in military and civilian capacities—have emerged more connected to their generation and more invested in our country. Service compels young people out of their comfort zones, connects them with others from different backgrounds, and cultivates in them a sense of duty and civic responsibility.”

Bridgeland is also the Vice Chairman of the Service Year Alliance, chaired by General Stanley McChrystal, which has a goal of providing one million full-time civilian national service opportunities for 18-28-year-olds, on par with the more than one million Americans who are on Active Duty in our Armed Forces.

ITA Managing Director of Community Engagement and Coach Empowerment David Mullins explained, “Preparing to be leaders of the 21st century, the corps members will spend a year after graduation as tennis ambassadors working to bring the benefits of tennis and wellness to a variety of community constituents, including, but not limited to, underserved populations.”

Russell added, “ITA Corps members will also support college varsity tennis on college campuses in their respective communities in order to increase the leadership profile of college tennis in the world of intercollegiate athletics. Service year fellows will work to create the new eco-system for growing tennis in America. While assisting with established programs they may run level-based events and institute metro leagues in local communities.”

Applications are open now through February 29, 2020, so get on it ASAP if you want to be considered for placement beginning June of this year! Click here to apply and be sure to follow Tennis for America on Twitter and Instagram @Tennis4America.

Here is the announcement as it appears on the ITA website:

The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) in conjunction with six nationally recognized partners, will work together in the years to come to help tackle poverty through tennis in the United States. Fourteen college tennis alumni will be placed throughout the country from June 1st, 2020 to May 31st, 2021* to utilize their elite tennis backgrounds and academic credentials to add significant value to the organizations who are making tremendous impacts within their communities.  [* Dates for Tenacity, Boston will be August 15th – June 30th, 2020.]

If you would like to be considered as one of the fourteen inaugural Tennis For America VISTA fellows we encourage you to read more about this exciting pilot project below and submit your application.

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Who are Tennis For America Fellows?

Tennis For America Fellows have demonstrated excellence both on and off the tennis court. They believe in serving their country and making a difference in the lives of other people. These fellows are curious by nature and have an entrepreneurial spirit. They seek challenges and recognize that any difficulties they face are simply life lessons. They tolerate ambiguity, change, and take initiative when needed within a team setting.

Why should I consider applying to be a Tennis For America Fellow?

The ITA believes that tennis can lead the way for other intercollegiate sports to create a national non-military year of service program. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play a major role in the establishment of a program that could go on to impact thousands of lives in a truly meaningful way. Whether you want to learn more about the nonprofit world, understand the tennis industry, make life-long connections, or you just want to give back to the sport and country that made it possible for you to play college tennis, we promise this will be a unique and challenging experience like no other.

Check out additional details here:

The ITA has secured AmeriCorps VISTA funding from the federal government to pay a monthly stipend to Tennis For America Fellows. Please note that you will need to apply through the ITA application process before moving on to applying to become an AmeriCorps VISTA. The ITA will walk you through the AmeriCorps VISTA application process should you be selected. Learn more about the VISTA program.

List of Benefits

  • VISTA Stipend – value dependent upon City (Range $1069.16 to $1720.00 per month)- please see PDF for individual site benefits
  • Housing
  • Mileage assistance or Bus/Train monthly pass
  • Orientation/Professional Development – Phoenix, Arizona June 1st to 5th
  • Continuing Education – ITA College Coaches Convention, Naples, Florida (Dec. 2020) – all expenses paid by ITA
  • Graduation Ceremony – US Open, (August, 2021) – all expenses paid by ITA
  • Individual Mentor
  • The development of a strong network of Tennis For America colleagues to offer support during the year of service and for many years afterwards
  • Exposure to and experience with critical 21st century skills, including: non-profit strategy, teaching, problem solving and communication skills
  • Networking opportunities and collaboration with a large range of stakeholders.

What are the requirements to apply?

  • Graduating from an ITA Member Institution in May, 2020 or have graduated form an ITA member institution anytime in 2019 or 2018
  • At least 21 years old by June 1st, 2020
  • Member of a Competitive Tennis Team at NCAA D I, D II, D III or NAIA ITA member program for a minimum of two years (current or former Tennis on Campus team members are eligible to apply)
  • A U.S Citizen, National, or Legal Resident
  • Available for a full year of service from June 1st, 2020 to May, 31st, 2021 or August 15th, 2020 to June 30th, 2021 (Tenacity, Boston)
  • Able to pass all necessary background checks and clearances to work with children under the age of 18.


  • Applications are open from January 2nd – February 29th, 2020
  • Tele-conference interviews will take place from March 4th – 13th
  • Official placement offers will be announced on March 16th
  • Those offered places will have until March 22nd to accept or decline the offer
  • VISTA applications will be due by April 17th, 2020 – ITA to help with VISTA application process
  • Successful applicants will be required to arrive in Tempe, Arizona no later than 5 pm on Monday, June 1st, 2020 to report for their orientation
  • VISTA’s transported to assigned locations on Friday, June 5th.

Be part of the Tennis for America Team.

Please direct any questions you have about the Tennis For America Program to Dave Mullins, ITA Managing Director for Community Service & Coach Empowerment at [email protected].


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