Middle States

Reunited Through Tennis

“If it wasn't for tennis, we would have never reconnected.”


Today, Rosie Tran and Emily Clark are best friends. Last year, they were reunited through tennis.


Tran and Clark moved to the United States after the Vietnam War in 1975. They originally met and grew up in the same Vietnamese community in the 1980s called the “Vietnamese Youth Organization” in West Philadelphia.


They learned English, organized dance events for their Vietnamese New Year, and in their spare time they learned sports like tennis, track, soccer, swimming, ping pong, and volleyball. But since their younger days in Philadelphia, they moved away, got married, had kids and lost touch for almost 30 years. Until 2020.


In 2020, Tran and Clark both started playing more tennis. Tran, originally a volleyball player, picked up tennis to pass the time. Clark had been playing tennis for years. One day, they both arrived at the courts at Louise Moore Park in the Bethlehem, Pa. area.

“She was playing on the court next to me and we exchanged phone numbers, but didn’t realize we had known each other before,” Clark said.


They had both changed their Vietnamese names to American names and did not recognize each other at the time. Until they bonded over something else they shared a love for: Vietnamese food.


“We started talking about our past, present and future,” Clark said. “And that’s when it clicked. We screamed, hugged and cried. We just couldn’t believe that we had known each other years ago.”


Now, they are inseparable.

Rosie Tran (left) & Emily Clark (right)

“I’m very grateful for the reconnection with Emily. She’s my long lost sister that I’ve lost for over 25 years,” Tran said. “We bond over so many things such as hiking to National Parks, Vietnamese food, sports, especially now…the love of tennis!”


Clark and Tran now talk or text every single day. They strategize before and after almost every USTA match, and get together after they finish playing. They both now play out of Winning Touch Tennis in Allentown.


“We laugh until we cry,” Clark said while trying to hold back more laughter. “We just love each other so much and enjoy each other’s company. There are times that we laugh so hard on the tennis court that I start crying and I can’t see the ball.”


“Best of all, we can sit and eat and never leave a restaurant as we can’t seem to stop laughing,” Tran said.


Clark recounted that she had always looked up to Tran growing up, as she was a star volleyball player in their Vietnamese community.


“She was my idol,” she said. “Rosie was five years older than me and the cutest girl in the community. I wanted to grow up to be like her and now I am so proud of her.”


Almost 30 years later, they are not going to let each other out of their lives again. Tran mentioned they lost such a great amount of time being apart that they cannot let that happen again.

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