“They Roll Different”: International Division II Tennis Athletes’ Initial Transitions to the United States

Karina Gurgenyan Jolly – Georgia State University
Sarah Stokowski – Clemson University
Amanda L. Paule-Koba – Bowling Green State University
Skye Arthur-Banning – Clemson University
Alison Fridley – University of Southern Mississippi

International college athletes come to the US for enhanced educational as well as athletic opportunities. Despite the fact that the majority of Division II tennis athletes are international, the literature has ignored this population. This study explored Division II international tennis college athletes’ perceptions of transitioning to an institution of higher learning in the US. Informed by Schlossberg’s Model for Analyzing Human Adaptation to Transition, 12 international Division II tennis players representing 9 countries participated in semi-structured interview method. Four main themes emerged from the data: reason for coming to the US to play sports, transition to the US, transition through college, and impact of COVID. The results of this study provide unique insight into experiences of Division II college tennis athletes in hopes of designing programming to ensure this population receives the support necessary to thrive in a new environment.