By Jake Chapman
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (UTC/The Loop) — A positive environment and enthusiastic coach drew three tennis players from all over the world to UTC.
Trent Cobb, a Melbourne, Australia, freshman, said the relaxing and multicultural environment of Chattanooga was one of the key reasons he chose to play at UTC.
“It’s great to be in a not-as-fast pace city like home,” Cobb said. “Melbourne is fast-paced all the time, but Chattanooga is more easy going and peaceful.”
Cobb said Chattanooga smaller population may be one reason.
“The population size here in Chattanooga is smaller and more spread out than Melbourne and I enjoy that,” Cobb said.
Cobb has played tennis since he was six years old. He is a computer engineering major.
It was friends from back home that attracted Rick van de Bovenkamp, Oud-Beyerland, The Netherlands, senior, to UTC. He said he started emailing coaches and visiting schools after his friends convinced him to come to America and play.
Like Cobb, Bovenkamp enjoys the relaxing area that is Chattanooga because he grew up in a fast-paced city.
“I enjoy the city life very much, but Chattanooga is more than just a decent sized city,” Bovenkamp said. “It has more to offer than the city life like the outdoor activities here are really enjoyable.”
Bovenkamp has played tennis since he was 10 years old. His major is Economics and plans on staying in the United States after he graduates.
Bovenkamp may have been drawn by friends from back home, but Roberto Vieria, a Bedfordview, South Africa, sophomore, said that his coach from the tennis academy he played at back home, Earl Langer, roomed with UTC head coach Carlos Garcia during his college years. Granger also worked for UTC early on in his coaching career before he went to South Africa.
“My coach told me that coach Garcia was a trustworthy man and he loved his players,” Vieria said.
Vieria has played tennis since he was four years old. He is a mechanical engineering and wants to go back to South Africa to help out his country.
Garcia’s love for his players not only drew Vieria to UTC, but Cobb and Bovenkamp as well.
“A coach that actually cares about his players is a big deal to us,” Vieria said. “Coach’s enthusiasm and energy when he first met me drew me to UTC and the rest of the team will agree with me.”