Iowa Junior Team Tennis Coordinator excited to give back to the sport
Originally from El Salvador, Astrid Araya first picked up a tennis racquet at seven years old. Soon after, she realized how much she loved the sport and all the opportunities it provided her. She was able to represent her country in multiple tennis tournaments over the years, and was part of the national team when she was a teenager.
“I come from a single-family home and we did not have much money,” she said. “I was able to play tennis because the Federation provided me with a scholarship. Through this I was able to play and fall in love with the sport.”
At 14 years old, she joined the High Performance Program in addition to the national team, and had the opportunity to play in the ITF Junior Circuit.
“I reached the top 400 in the world as well as representing my country in multiple events including Fed Cup qualifiers,” she added.
In 2013 she was a freshman tennis player at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls and broke many records during her time there. When she graduated in 2017, she moved to the Quad Cities to become a full-time coach at the Quad Cities Tennis Club. She moved to Des Moines in 2018 to start her master’s degree in Sports Management at Grand View University and was also the assistant tennis coach there.
Astraya is now the Iowa Junior Team Tennis District Coordinator. USTA Iowa asked her a few questions about her job, her responsibilities and future goals.
Q) Why did you decide to pursue this job?
A: Because it offers an opportunity for youth players to keep being engaged in developing their tennis skills. Even though many people like to think tennis is an individual sport, the players cannot develop and learn the sport without their team (teammates, coaches and parents).
Q) What are your responsibilities?
A: To promote the growth of tennis and provide a full understanding of Junior Team Tennis (JTT) in USTA Iowa, by connecting with coaches in different areas throughout the state. .
Q) What do you hope to accomplish?
A: I hope to promote and grow the USTA JTT program throughout Iowa. As well as helping coaches within the area to fully understand the benefits and how the program works.