I was getting ready to write my article for Florida Tennis, when I thought that rather than giving you advice on different topics on college recruiting, it would be great to interview a college coach, who at one point was a junior player looking from the outside in. What a better person for this than German Dalmagro the Associate Head Coach at the University of Illinois.
German, attended our first USP College Showcase in 2001, where he was offered a full scholarship to play at Abraham Baldwin, later transferred to West Florida where he became an All American and member of the National Championship Team. From there, his career skyrockets.
You can get great learning information from this interview. Enjoy!
When did you make the “click” from switching your professional tennis dream to playing college tennis?
As I was playing some futures and challengers, I got injured and had to stop for a few months. I lost my sponsors, and traveling week in and week out can be expensive, my family and I decided that coming to college would be a great idea.
What was your greatest fear when you began your college tennis recruiting campaign?
My biggest fear was not knowing what schools offer, and what they were about. I didn’t know English very well at the time. There’s so much that goes into the recruiting process with NCAA papers, grades, tests, and then trying to find the right fit and coaching for you.
What was your biggest hurdle?
It was definitely my English. When I decided to come to college I was not prepared like I should, and I also took a few years off after High School, so I lost to opportunity to play at some universities.
What was your biggest upside that allowed for you to be recruited?
There were a few factors that I believe helped me. At the time I was living in Paraguay with my family, we are all from Argentina and I got to be the number 1 player in the country throughout all the junior divisions, but because I wasn’t a citizen, I didn’t get a lot of financial help. It was difficult to travel and play tournaments to get my ranking up. I was always very athletic, and had a strong serve and volley game. I went to Florida to play in the USP Showcase that you organized, and I got to show my game to coaches, and they could also see my personality. I always been lay back and easy going. I think a combination of my game, athletic ability and personality got me offers from a lot of schools.
Was the level in college tennis what you expected to be?
The level was much higher than expected. A lot of people that doesn’t know much about college tennis told me it wasn’t good, or your game cannot improve. That is not true, the level is very high, and if you are in the right environment and right coaches that will help your game develop, your game will improve more than you can imagine.
What would you have done differently in your recruiting?
I would start considering college earlier in life, and also get the process started sooner. There is a lot that goes into the process, learning well English before your junior year in High School is important, and getting familiar with all the rules as well.
Thomas E Anderson
President & Founder of University Sports Program.