NET GENERATION ACES
LEADING BY EXAMPLE NATIONWIDE
Ashley Marshall | October 3, 2019
The inaugural Net Generation Aces program, launched at the 2019 US Open, identified athletes between the ages of 13 and 17 who are making a positive difference in their local communities through creative and impactful tennis programs.
These Aces attended the US Open as part of a four-day VIP trip that included a suite experience at Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day and a working session with USTA senior management and professional players, where the Aces provided feedback on current USTA initiatives and discussed ideas for future programming. They also had an opportunity to meet Net Generation ambassadors Venus Williams (pictured above) and Mike and Bob Bryan.
“To me, being a Net Generation Ace means being part of a new world, said Clare Plachy from the USTA Missouri Valley section. “I’ve always been in my little Nebraska, Missouri Valley world, and coming here has been so amazing, so big. ADVERTISEMENT I didn’t realize the world was so vast.
“When I got this really amazing opportunity, I was just so excited to meet new people within the USTA. I thought it was so crazy to be thought of out of thousands.”
Today, the Aces are representing the USTA by showcasing positivity, sportsmanship and leadership in their local communities, providing continuing feedback, collaborating with fellow Aces on Net Generation projects and participating in quarterly video webinars.
“We are honored to recognize these young leaders and athletes who are inspiring positive change in their local communities,” said USTA Chief Executive of Community Tennis Craig Morris.
“Some of the noteworthy contributions these outstanding individuals have made include creating community-based programs, bringing awareness to adaptive tennis play and implementing tennis ball recycling initiatives. The USTA plans to work with the Net Generation Aces to learn more about the impact tennis has on young players’ lives. We feel reaching young athletes through their peers is a powerful and effective way to continue growing the sport.”
Take a look at what the Aces are doing to promote the sport.
Madeleine Au of Honolulu (USTA Hawaii Pacific): Madeleine started playing tennis at eight years old and is passionate about the sport. She currently plays Junior Team Tennis in addition to competing on her high school team. Madeleine loves to help others and is engaging, enthusiastic, genuine and well-spoken.
Brooklyn Bindas of Rochester, Mass. (USTA New England): Brooklyn is compassionate, a great sport and a champion for other players—especially other girls who play tennis. She plays regularly at a local NJTL and competes on her high school team. Brooklyn utilizes her Instagram account as a platform to spread positivity, encourage others to play tennis and share her love for the sport. As an Ace, she hopes to work alongside the USTA to feature tennis players of all levels and showcase their respective stories and love for the sport.
Maeve Cassidy of Monroe, N.Y. (USTA Eastern): Maeve is a passionate young player who shares her love for tennis with everyone around her. In 2018, she received the Section Sportsmanship Award. In addition to playing tennis, Maeve is involved in her community, organizing Family Day events and, most recently, a fundraiser to support the victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting. Maeve enjoys working with young children at her local club. As an Ace, she hopes to continue to grow the game of tennis by inspiring the next generation to fall in love with the sport.
Sophie Davidson of Greenwood, Ind. (USTA Midwest): Sophie is a young, vibrant player who is dedicated to giving back to her community by sharing the sport with local young players. Sophie is the No. 1-ranked singles player on her high school team and holds an outstanding record as an incoming freshman. She also plays for a Junior Team Tennis team and has great relationships with her peers both on and off the court.
Angelina "Gaila" Fosbinder of Charlotte, N.C. (USTA Southern): Gaila is an active participant in the Charlotte ASAP Wheelchair Tennis program. With a deep love for tennis, she aspires to encourage more children with disabilities to play the sport and bring awareness to the ongoing support of adaptive tennis from the USTA. Gaila participates in yearly charity tennis events and tournaments and is an active participant and volunteer for the Orthotic and Prosthetic Activities Foundation. Her positive attitude about life and tennis is an inspiration to her community.
Jack Garchik of Highland Beach, Fla. (USTA Florida): Diagnosed with autism at a young age, Jack worked hard to overcome many obstacles through early intervention. Tennis has played an integral role in helping him interact and develop friendships, so he consistently shares his experience with other kids to provide hope and inspire them to not give up on their dreams. As an Ace, Jack is on a mission to encourage more kids to play tennis by driving awareness of the different programs and teams available to kids of all levels and abilities.
Kyle Garner of Eagle, Idaho (USTA Intermountain): Born and raised in a tennis-loving family, Kyle has developed positive relationships with his peers and adults in his community through tennis. He is recognized for his laser focus and work ethic on the court, which serve as an inspiration to those who watch him compete. Off the court, Kyle is an academic leader and gives back to his community in many ways, such as delivering meals to homebound seniors during school breaks, volunteering to hit with young players or stringing racquets and cleaning courts at his local tennis club.
Eli Gilbert Susser of Corpus Christi, Texas (USTA Texas): Eli began playing tennis when he was eight years old and has loved the sport ever since. After enduring a 15-month injury, he recently returned to the court to begin competing again. Eli enjoys community service and has arranged two tennis tournaments to date, with a mission to raise money for cancer research. As an Ace participant, Eli hopes to help other players navigate the ranking system.
Kane Kelley of Tarzana, Calif. (USTA Southern California): Kane began playing tennis at four years old and strives to maintain a strong work ethic both on and off the court. He is an active volunteer, partaking in a program at his school that prepares lunches for people in need. As an Ace, Kane hopes to work with the USTA to develop free clinics at public parks where he could volunteer to teach others how to play tennis.
Ethan Lee of Tucson, Ariz. (USTA Southwest): Ethan embodies outstanding sportsmanship and is recognized as a role model for other tennis players in his community. He actively volunteers and always looks out for others, developing genuine and long-lasting friendships with his peers. As an Ace, Ethan aspires to work with the USTA to provide all kids with a safe environment where they can enjoy a sport that can last a lifetime.
Brooks Lerfald of Eugene, Ore. (USTA Pacific Northwest): Brooks has demonstrated a great heart for the sport of tennis, competing on his high school tennis team and playing in USTA tournaments. One of his favorite things about the sport is the opportunity it has presented to make new friends. As an Ace, Brooks looks forward to working with the USTA to bring additional tournament offerings to his community.
Santiago Montgomery of San Jose, Calif. (USTA Northern California): Santiago has been recognized by his peers, tournament directors and coaches for his sportsmanship and leadership on multiple occasions. As a player, he has participated in USTA Early Development camps and programs, as well as Junior Team Tennis. Santiago has also volunteered alongside his parents at USTA junior tournaments. As an Ace, Santiago’s goal is to provide additional development opportunities and greater tournament access to rising players.
Andrea Pérez Díaz of Guaynabo, P.R. (USTA Caribbean): Andrea began playing tennis when she was six years old. She competes in local tournaments while representing the Caribbean Section and credits tennis for teaching her about sportsmanship and respect. As an Ace, Andrea wants to inspire other kids through tennis, her commitment to her school work and her responsibilities as a Girl Scout.
Clare Plachy of Lincoln, Neb. (USTA Missouri Valley): Coaches have recognized Clare as one of the kindest, most gracious and outgoing players. She has competed at numerous tournaments, clinics and team events, positioning herself as a great competitor who maintains a positive attitude, no matter the outcome of her match. Clare strives to make a difference in her community both on and off the court each and every day.
Saige Roshkoff of Haverford, Pa. (USTA Middle States): In 2017, Saige was named to the second USTA Junior Leadership Team, which recognizes junior tennis players who exhibit leadership, sportsmanship and character on and off the court. Saige is most recognized for her environmental work, keeping an average of 35,000 tennis balls out of landfills by recycling them to donate to schools and animal shelters in her community. She’s also led fundraising efforts for Israel Tennis Centers, which provide tennis and life skills to underserved youth. As an Ace, Saige aspires to partner with the USTA to expand her recycling program across the country.
Derek Yan of Potomac, Md. (USTA Mid-Atlantic): In order to make tennis more accessible and affordable in his community, Derek founded Linx Tennis in March 2016, which helps local junior tennis players find their own tennis buddies. Linx Tennis currently has more than 380 players across Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia. The program hosts local junior tennis team events, serves as a charitable sponsor to local nonprofits and offers fun activities for youth athletes. As an Ace, Derek hopes to partner with the USTA to continue to promote tennis to both competitive and non-competitive groups, ultimately contributing to the growth of the sport.