Missouri Valley / Missouri

USTA Missouri to Host Carl Alcancia Memorial Tournament

Josh Sellmeyer | January 05, 2023

As Phil Barber describes, Carl Alcancia was the type of man who was always there for others. Alcancia was a loving husband and father of three young children. He volunteered with Big Brothers Big Sisters and was an active leader in his Catholic church community.


After Alcancia passed away in December 2021 at the age of 54, Barber knew he wanted to do something to keep Alcancia’s selfless legacy alive. Barber — one of Alcancia’s many tennis friends — approached a couple individuals about helping him run a tennis tournament that would double as a fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters. The result is an event for both adults and juniors that will take place April 1-2 at Springfield’s Cooper Tennis Complex. Learn more about the tournament and register here.


“Really, the thing that actually inspired me to want to do this was he had three young children,” Barber said. “It was absolutely devastating. His void is huge here in Springfield. He was involved with charities, his business, all of that. It’s left a void for a lot of people. We thought, ‘Hey, having the tournament might keep his name alive every year.’”


Barber has run tournaments previously in Stockton, Missouri, which Alcancia participated in. Barber asked USTA Missouri Executive Director Leslie Echols as well as Huong Doan and Alex Wiley to assist him in creating and marketing the tournament to honor Alcancia.


“I approached those three and said, ‘I don’t want to do this myself because I think this is going to be big enough that it’s going to require all of us,’” Barber said. “We were all friends with Carl, and we loved Carl. We all have groups of players we play with. It’s bringing all those groups together to make a successful event. That’s what we’re trying to do, and I think that’s going to happen.”


The trio initially considered hosting the inaugural tournament in December but ultimately determined an April weekend would be preferable. Barber said the outdoor tourney will feature “the full gamut of divisions” and include brackets for juniors and adults. Singles, doubles and mixed doubles adult divisions at multiple NTRP/age levels will be offered.

Barber, Echols, Doan and Wiley have also tossed around the idea of a family-oriented component to the tournament. They may include a father-son, father-daughter, mother-son or mother-daughter division, though that is still being determined. Barber said individuals seeking more information about the April 1-2 tourney can reach out to Echols at ustamissouridirector@gmail.com.


All proceeds from the event’s entry fees will be donated to Big Brothers Big Sisters. Barber said the organization may provide ball kids for the tourney. Big Brothers Big Sisters is also coordinating having a child who Alcancia worked with attend the tournament. Big Brothers Big Sisters will sell T-shirts at the tourney, with revenue from sales going back to the charity.

“In our minds, this first tournament is huge,” Barber said. “If you do the first one right, this is going to spawn off into a yearly event. That’s what we’re thinking.”


Barber said Alcancia was an “incredible tennis player” whose unorthodox style, agility and fitness level made him difficult to defeat. Alcancia grew up playing tennis and was a four-year competitor at Saint Louis University. He cherished playing the sport and chipped in to help when called upon.


“He was one of those guys when you needed another player for a team or you needed another player for a late night, he was the guy,” Barber said. “He would do it. Even if he didn’t have time, he did it. He loved tennis.”


Alcancia worked as an office manager in his father’s medical practice before moving onto other career ventures in 2002. He was passionate about volunteering with charities such as Victory Mission + Ministry as well as World Vision, where he sponsored a young boy from the Philippines. Alcancia is survived by his wife, Katherine Alcancia, and children Eva, Elena and Ian.


“He was there to sponsor anybody involved in tennis, baseball, anything. He was just that kind of guy,” Barber said. “If you needed some kind of sponsorship, he was there to do that. He did that for me in tennis and baseball. He was a real caring guy. He was involved in the Catholic church quite a bit, involved in a lot of charities. I don’t know how he was doing it all, but he was trying to.”



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