Gould, Ma named to USTA
Junior Leadership Team
May 18, 2018
Stevie Gould and Connie Ma have been named to the third annual USTA Junior Leadership Team, which recognizes America’s finest junior tennis players who exhibit leadership, sportsmanship and character on and off the court.
Gould, a resident of Corte Madera, Calif., and Ma, of Dublin, Calif., are among more than 30 players nationwide named to the USTA Junior Leadership Team. Each player was nominated by his or her USTA section for their excellence in tennis and in the community.
“These players are our future leaders, and the values they’ve shown to embody both on the court and in the community are evidence that our future will be in good hands,” said Lew Brewer, the USTA’s Director of Junior Competition. “They are the perfect role models that represent out nationwide Net Generation efforts, and they truly deserve to be recognized with the USTA Junior Leadership Team.”ADVERTISEMENT
Gould, 17, has been ranked in the Top 60 of the USTA Boys’ 18s national standings and No. 1 in the NorCal section. He’s been a sectional doubles champion in the 14s, 16s and 18s age groups and won sportsmanship awards at USTA Summer Sectional, Zimmerman/Johnson and Intersectional Team events in 2017.
“It’s really hard to put into words the impact the sport of tennis and all the people I’ve gotten to know because of it have had on my life,” Gould said. “The sport is continually challenging me in countless different ways, but the most important lesson tennis has taught me is how to deal with both success and failure and all that comes with it. I’ve had my ego swell with great wins, only to be popped by a brutal loss numerous times, and it’s this ability to learn from the rollercoaster ride of a tennis career that is the greatest lesson I’ve learned.”
Ma, 14, has been ranked in the Top 5 nationally in the USTA Girls’ 16s standings and has been the No. 1 player in Northern California in the 16- and 18-and-under age groups. She finished third at the USTA Girls’ 16s Championships in 2017 and also won the tournament’s sportsmanship award. In addition, she won the Girls’ 16s singles title and sportsmanship award at the USTA Zimmerman/Johnson tournament at Stanford University in 2017.
Each year, more than 120,000 players compete in USTA junior tournaments. Players compete in levels of competition through earned advancement in the 10s, 12s, 14s, 16s and 18s age divisions. USTA junior tournaments help kids take their game as far as they want – high school, college or pros – or just have fun competing.
In her own words...
Connie Ma: Tennis was a sport I started around the age of 7, and I’m still playing it to this day. It’s a huge part of my life, devoting two to three hours to it every day. I love sports and started out playing a few, but tennis was one of the ones I was the best at. I wasn’t good at swimming, basketball or ice skating, but somehow tennis stuck out. I’ve learned a lot through all the hard work that goes into practicing a sport and then going out and competing. No one, except yourself, knows exactly how much effort you put in, and that effort pays off when you win a match or a tournament. Everyone loves the feeling of competing and then being the winner, but even more important is sportsmanship.
Good sportsmanship means being fair to your opponent and respecting the sport and its rules. Being fair is a huge part of sports because you get that satisfaction of winning fair and square, instead of having to remember and maybe even regret the memory of cheating. Having sportsmanship also reflects upon you as a person, regarding your morals and ethics. Your opponents, knowing that you didn’t cheat and lie, will come to respect you over time, and this could lead to many friendships and happy moments off the court. I am proud of all my tennis achievements, the tournaments I’ve won, but I am also equally proud of the sportsmanship awards I have received. Tennis has taught me that nothing comes easy in life.
Everyone has put lots of effort and time into this sport, but sometimes we can’t always come up on top. Some put in more time than others, and that’s why they win. Some just have the natural ability to be better. But everyone shares the passion of playing and competing, which makes sports so exciting. Tennis also teaches patience and time management. I go to a public school, so juggling between tennis and education can be difficult, but playing a sport teaches you to be time efficient. Tennis is the sport for me because I love competing, but at the same time, I get to hang out with friends before and after matches. That’s the reason why I absolutely love team events. The feeling of unity is an amazing feeling, and everyone on the team cares for one another. The memories that are made from these events are priceless.