Reinaldo's story is one that makes everyone at USP very proud. We met Reinaldo when he was 16 years old, a junior tennis player, dreaming about playing in college. We helped him achieve his goal, he played for Belmont abbey University and then transferred to finish his degree in his hometown at Florida International University. From the moment we started working with Reinaldo we realized he was special. Now as a USP Certified Advisor, he will help student-athletes secure their future.
This is the ninth interview of a series showcasing all our staff members. We want you to really get to know us, understand who we are, where we come from and why are we so passionate about college athletics and helping young students and athletes secure their future.
USP: Tell us about your background. Where are you from? Where did you grow up?
Reinaldo: I grew up in the beautiful city of Caracas in Venezuela. Since a young age, I played multiple sports including baseball, soccer, and tennis. There was something about individual sports that I loved and that’s why I developed a passion for the sport of tennis. When I was 12 years old we decided to move to the US and that is where my tennis career took a jump. Florida is a perfect place for high-level tennis, the weather, the strong competition, and the great academies all make it an ideal place for a young player to develop.
USP: Where did you go to college?
Reinaldo:I was able to receive a tennis scholarship to play at Belmont Abbey College.
USP: Who have been your strongest influences in life?
Reinaldo: I would say on the personal side without a doubt my parents, they have shaped me into the person I am today. When we talk about tennis there are a couple of people that had a strong influence in my tennis career: My junior coaches: Luis Brest, Carlos Porfirio, and Fernando Valencia, and my college coaches: Michael Salomon and Tanner Stancil
USP: What led you to this career? How did you end up at USP?
Reinaldo: I had the privilege of being a USP client, the work I did with them was extremely helpful for me during my recruiting process. After my great experience playing college tennis, I decided to mix my passions of tennis coaching with guiding young student athletes to find their perfect school, where they will be successful in the future.
USP: What is your personal experience with college sports?
Reinaldo: My time playing college tennis was one of my favorite experiences of my life. The friendships you develop with your teammates, the connection you build with your coaches and the ability to challenge yourself with a group of guys who are all aiming for the same goal is something that you cannot replicate anywhere else. College Sports teach you values that are fundamental aspects of life, and you develop a mentality that separates you from the average person.
USP: Tell us one or two unforgettable stories from your time as a college player and then college coach.
Reinaldo: When I think of unforgettable stories this one comes to mind: Having the opportunity to play in the conference finals during my freshman year was something truly special. The emotion of playing such an important match in our school's history was a feeling that I will never forget. Even though we did not get the win, It was so special to have all the support of my teammates during such an important match. It made me value the importance of team culture.
USP: What tips would you give a student that is preparing for college?
Reinaldo: I believe that it is never too early to start preparing for college! The more prepared and organized that you are during the recruiting process, the more likely you are to find your perfect school. Also, I would recommend being open to all options, it's not about the name of the school, it's about what the right fit is for you to be successful in the future.
Thank you, Reinaldo!