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Pacific Northwest Advanced Diverse in Talent, Makeup

October 29, 2011 08:19 PM
USTA's Pacific Northwest's Marymoor Magic team is an ethnically-diverse, extremely talented team.
By Ayana Miller, special to USTA.com

Jr. Team Tennis, and by association the Jr. Team Tennis National Championships, are about camaraderie, sportsmanship, and building your game while building your team. It’s also about bringing people from different backgrounds together.

The Marymoor Magic, the 18U Advanced team from Redmond, WA, representing the Pacific Northwest Section is the perfect example of this. The Magic, coached by Jim Uyesugi of Redmond, Wash., has the most culturally diverse makeup out of any of the teams here at Nationals, despite representing a state with a relatively homogenous landscape. The state of Washington has a minority population of less than 25 percent; however Coach Uyesugi’s consists of players from various backgrounds such as Chinese, Indian, Vietnamese and Japanese, proving that the face of tennis is becoming more America.

Uyesugi, who is Japanese, is the founder of Northwest Sports Foundation (NWSF) and has been volunteering his services for junior sports for more than ten years in the Seattle area. NWSF is a non-profit community outreach organization that provides positive activities and opportunities for youth in a diverse cultural and ethnic environment through fostering teamwork, education and community awareness through sports. 

"My idea was to bring tennis to children who wouldn’t have played or might not have been introduced to the sport at all," said Uyesugi. "I like the diversity that my team brings, and even though they come from different backgrounds they still are able to come together to achieve a unified goal."

Pacific Northwest’s 14U Advanced team - who made it to Surprise last week themselves - is also ethnically diverse, showcasing the gradual diversification of the sport.

Since 2008, NWSF has coached and mentored junior teams in the Seattle area, as well as provided tennis opportunities for junior players at all levels. This is the second consecutive year that NWSF is bringing northwest junior tennis players to the USTA Jr. Team Tennis National Championships, and they hope that they can keep that streak going in the upcoming years.

"Being here at the JTT National Championships is a great opportunity for my players because it is non-stressful environment and they are out there having fun, which to me is the most important thing," says Uyesugi. "They are learning teamwork and meeting new people, experiences that they can take home and share with their friends and help encourage them to participate as well."

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