Player Profiles: Jordyn Lee and Caitlin Cass
WESTBOROUGH, MA- Jordyn Lee and Caitlin Cass, both 16-year-old rising high school seniors, are the newly appointed co-chairs of the New England Player Council. Jordyn is from New Canaan, CT and attends New Canaan High School, and Caitlin is from Newcastle, ME and attends Lincoln Academy.
The council was formed in June and is comprised of 10 young leaders from all areas of New England. The goal is to give young athletes an opportunity to have a voice in decisions that affect their game.
The Player Council members will have the opportunity to work with and learn from players in other USTA Sections, receive volunteer credit hours and have the chance to help shape the council’s role within USTA New England.
We caught up with Jordyn and Caitlin to learn a little bit more about them and what they’re looking forward to most in their roles on the Player Council.
What is your home facility(ies) and who is your coach(es)?
Jordyn - Intensity Tennis Academy in Norwalk, Connecticut, Coach- Adam Altschuler
New Canaan High School, Coach- Catherine Walker
Caitlin - Midcoast Recreation Center in Rockport, ME, Coach- Seth Meyer, and the Central Lincoln County YMCA in Damariscotta, ME.
What tennis programs do you participate in?
Jordyn - I participate in USTA tournaments (singles and doubles), and I also play on my
high school tennis team.
Caitlin - I play USTA Junior Tournaments, Junior Team Tennis, high school tennis and local MTA tournaments.
What are your tennis goals/aspirations beyond New England junior tennis?
Jordyn - I am really enjoying my time within junior tennis and I would love to continue playing tennis at the collegiate level. In addition, I am also very interested in joining any USTA council initiatives as an adult.
Caitlin - I am hoping to play competitive tennis in college.
What has been your most memorable moment thus far in your junior tennis career?
Jordyn - My most memorable moment within my junior tennis career was during my high school end-of-season tennis banquet during sophomore year. My high school tennis team has a fun tradition of bringing a small box of Matchbox cars to each match. Before each match, every player on the team has to touch each Matchbox car. We do this because we feel it brings us good luck.
Every two years, the graduating captains choose a new "holder" (aka security guard) of the cars. This player is the one who is responsible for keeping the box secure and bringing it to/from each match. They remain the holder of the cars until they graduate from the team. In the spring of 2019, I was chosen as the holder for my team. This was such a memorable moment for me because I was nominated by my peers who I respect so much! Being an integral part of this tradition was so exciting for me and is just another example of how fun it is to be part of a team.
Caitlin - My most memorable moment was when my high school team won states for the first time. It was my freshman year, and I had a deciding match, playing first singles. The support I got from my team and the crowd was amazing. That was our high school’s first tennis state championship, which we went on to win again the following year. I think the most memorable part was how much we supported each other, which made it even more meaningful when we won.
What is your impression so of the New England Player Council (NEPC) so far?
Jordyn - I have been truly impressed with the NEPC's organization and structure. Each month we meet as a group, and there is always an agenda set, minutes taken, and lots of brainstorming. The flow of ideas is endless and inspiring. We have already created a mission statement, reviewed the junior newsletter, and we are developing ideas for a special group project.
Caitlin - It’s a really great group of people who are also really good tennis players! Everyone has been really willing to work together and appreciate everyone’s ideas.
What's the excitement level been amongst the council members?
- Jordyn Lee
- Caitlin Cass
- Jordyn Lee
- Caitlin Cass
Jordyn - All of the NEPC members have been really excited to be a part of this inaugural initiative. At each meeting, council members are eager and ready to participate and present their ideas. The level of enthusiasm has remained high since day one.
Caitlin - I think everyone’s excited to have a say in junior tennis, and I am especially excited for when we can start volunteering in person for events.
What do you expect to get out of it personally and for your fellow New England juniors?
Jordyn - Being part of an inaugural Council is an invaluable experience because we will all get the chance to see what it is like to build and lead a committee from the ground up. I look forward to learning how to effectively and efficiently work as a group to create and monitor NEPC's goals and initiatives. On a personal level, I have already been so inspired by my fellow council members and I am excited to work with them on empowering junior tennis players across New England.
Caitlin - Since there are only 10 of us representing all of New England, everyone has lots of responsibility, and is placed in a leadership position.
Do you know many of the council members already?
Jordyn - I already knew three of the council members through my tennis academy and/or competing with them at USTA tournaments. I was very excited to work with these players because I know their level of commitment and dedication to the sport of tennis is high.
Caitlin - I’ve met a few of the council members and played them in junior tournaments. I am really excited to work with these players because it is already clear how nice they are, and also how much they love tennis.
Are there any areas within junior tennis that you have your eyes on and are seeking change?
Jordyn - I think anything we can do to get more juniors out there playing tournaments would be key. Since USTA New England is one of the smaller sections of USTA, it would be great to build more communities with the neighboring sections (Eastern, Mid-Atlantic, etc.). On a more regional level, I would also like to find ways to encourage more high school players/teams to play in tournaments. Lastly, I would also love to see more USTA-sponsored college showcases in the future to help support junior players that would like to compete at the collegiate level.
Caitlin - One of the things I already have in mind is providing increased tournament access to players in rural areas, and players who struggle to find equipment, programs, or competitive play. I think the Net Generation has begun to help that issue. Coming from Maine or New Hampshire, often the only tournaments will be three or four hours away, and that is not easily accessible for many families.
To learn more about the New England Player Council, click here.
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