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Tips for Tennis Players Currently Selecting Universities by Coach Cary Cohenour

Posted: July 23rd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Athlete & Artist Visas | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

Friend of the firm Cary Cohenour was recently published in Florida Tennis Magazine.  His article gives important advice to tennis players currently selecting a university to attend.

Cary Cohenour is Head Coach at the Celsius Tennis Academy in Sarasota

Cary Cohenour is Head Coach at the Celsius Tennis Academy in Sarasota

“Finding the right university for both tennis and the best education can be the most important decision in a student-athlete’s career.  There are no guarantees you will find the perfect fit in both areas.  It’s very important to weigh out your options.  For example, decide first if you are looking for a program that’s going to aide you in improving your game, if so, do a ‘background check’ on the coach.  Find out what kind of relationship he or she has had with past players.  Rarely will you find a coach at the lower ranked schools that spends a lot of time working to improve a players technical skills, but he or she might be a good motivator, which can be a huge asset if you arrive with a solid base in your game.  If you are looking to go Division I and you have the ranking to back it up, there are more talented coaches out there (in my opinion) than we have had in the history of college tennis.  Coaches such as Bryan Shelton, women’s coach at Georgia Tech and Mario Rinson, men’s coach at University at Miami, just to name a few.  These coaches are building players not just programs.  However, the majority of you should, and are thinking education first. It is very important that you don’t limit your options.  Remember, the coach is looking out for his or her job, so they might have their own reasons for not giving you a scholarship or helping you get in to the school.  Move on and start the process early.  If you wait too long it could be too late.  Make a long list, make a video and continue to be persistent, eventually you’ll find what you are looking for.

Tip: Meet with your high school counselor frequently and be realistic about where you can get in with your grades.”

Cary also tells us that Celsius has recently teamed up with the renowned Elevation Academy Basketball on McIntosh Rd.  Elevation has its own school and boarding facilities and many of its students come from abroad.

To read more about Coach Cary and Celsius Tennis Academy, check out our previous blog post.

For more information on sports immigration visit our SportsVisaAmerica website.

Immigrant Athlete Resource: John Newcombe Tennis Academy

Posted: July 22nd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Athlete & Artist Visas | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

The Newcombe Tennis Academy motto is TEAM-FAMILY-TEAM.  This Texan Tennis Academy is more than just a training ground for dedicated and talented young tennis players.  It is a family of players, professionals, and mentors, unlimited in their goals, becoming one unified team striving for excellence.

Newcombe Tennis Academy Logo


To develop the entire person.  To impact each child’s life through the sport of tennis.  To unleash a player’s potential.


One of the world’s finest tennis academies, John Newcombe’s world class tennis program uses every aspect of tennis training to develop a player’s full potential with a strong emphasis on match play and tournament competition.  Coaches travel with players to tournaments to observe them and then return back to the Ranch to work on areas in need of improvement.

The Tennis Academy offers 24 hard courts, 4 hydro clay courts, a recreation room with computer access, pool/spa, state-of-the-art weights and fitness center, and full-time expert trainers.  Newcombe’s staff utilize sports psychology to work on the mental aspects of the game as well as video analysis for the technical aspects of the game.

Newcombe Tennis Academy Athletics
One of the Academy’s strongest areas is their vigorous and intense fitness program.  Phil Hendrie, Director, is one of the top fitness experts in the United States.  He conducts a variety of footwork, speed and endurance training, as well as a weekly weight training program.

Newcombe Tennis Academy Academics


New Braunfels High School is repeatedly recognized for academic excellence with SAT scores that surpass both state and national averages.

There are also several private schools nearby or on campus that provide excellent educational opportunities for Tennis Academy students.  Going to school while training is one way for an immigrant athlete to qualify for a visa.

The Academy offers an onsite tutor and study room.

Newcombe Tennis Academy


The Tennis Academy staff is in constant contact with college coaches and often plays host to coaches and recruiters.  They are dedicated to finding a university that fits the students’ academic and tennis standards.

They guide the students through the NCAA registration and clearing house process, take them to SAT and TOEFL tests and well as develop college recruiting videos.

In the last decade they have had 100% college placement success.

Newcombe Tennis Academy students have attended:

UCLA Ohio State University
Vanderbilt University US Air Force Academy
College of William & Mary Texas A&M
Purdue University University of Texas
Colorado State University University of Georgia
Boise State University Georgia Tech
US Military Academy at Westpoint University of Tennessee
Furman University DePaul University
University of Michigan Florida State University
Harvard University North Carolina State University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Rice University

and many more!


The John Newcombe Tennis Academy offers generous scholarships to eligible students.

For more information on their year-round tennis training program, please contact Mariel Tinnirello:

For more information on sports immigration visit our SportsVisaAmerica website.

Accomplished Bradenton Immigrant Builds Team, Tennis Academy

Posted: April 29th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Athlete & Artist Visas, Sarasota Immigrants | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

The Sarasota-Bradenton area enjoys a preponderance of very high-quality athletic training facilities.  For this reason many foreign athletes come to this area to train and pursue careers as professional athletes.  Maria Sharapova, Anna Kournikova, Tommy Haas, and Boris Becker are just a few of the names of top-notch immigrant athletes who trained in the Sarasota-Bradenton area.  The presence of so much athletic talent in this area would not be possible without equally talented coaches and trainers to support and mentor it.  Denis Pelegrin is one of those coaches.

Denis Pelegrin

Denis Pelegrin

Denis Pelegrin is a Sarasota-Bradenton immigrant from the Dominican Republic.  He played tennis as a young man and found his true calling as a coach.  He coached for the ITF, becoming internationally known, and in 2004 he was hired by IMG Academy to coach tennis there.  IMG helped him obtain an O-1 visa.  The O-1 visa is for aliens with extraordinary ability and is issued for up to three years.  To qualify, the athlete or trainer must show he or she has received sustained national or international acclaim and recognition for achievement in the sport.  Denis qualified and worked for IMG for 5 years.  In the meantime he obtained his green card and began outsourcing himself, becoming a contractor for IMG.  In 2010 Denis left IMG completely and establish his own academy, ProTennis Academy, in Bradenton.  He reformed his old team of coaches, including his partner, Rodrigo Vallejo.

ProTennis Academy

ProTennis Academy

Today Denis Pelegrin and his fellow coaches offer private and semi-private lessons at an athletic facility he rents on 33rd Avenue Dr W in Bradenton.  Including Denis there are 4 tennis coaches and 1 fitness coach.  The facility includes hard and clay courts, a gym, and an Olympic sized pool.  Denis and his coaches are currently working with up to 20 students.  They concentrate on providing truly personalized training, only allowing two players per coach while other academies often place 4 or 5 students with each coach.

Denis plans on holding more clinics and traveling to coaching seminars in the future.  The clinics would be  3-day quick courses on tennis, personalized to each athlete’s needs.  The author is hoping to participate and report on one in the near future.  Further ahead, Denis is developing plans to buy some land and set up his own, independent, athletic facility.  We wish him all the best!

To contact Denis Pelegrin you can visit his website,, or call (941) 580-7794.

Lakewood Ranch Becoming Sports Tourism Destination

Posted: November 20th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Athlete & Artist Visas | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

As seen on Bradenton Herald Website:

LAKEWOOD RANCH — Lakewood Ranch is rapidly becoming a world renowned sports destination, and several Manatee and state-wide sports officials say the East Manatee community may become a premier magnet for sports tourism.

Aided by the attention brought to the area by IMG’s Sports Training Academy in Bradenton and the Florida World Aquatic Center at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch can host national and international events in soccer, football, golf, lacrosse, cross country, polo and non-mainstream sports like Ultimate Frisbee, all of which

equate to millions of dollars spent in the sports tourism industry.

During the past 18 months, Lakewood Ranch has hosted national and international events at its $2.5 million, 22-soccer field facility sitting on 75 acres near the intersection of State Road 70 and Lorraine Road. Officials with Schroeder-Manatee Ranch, the developer of Lakewood Ranch, say the events have brought more than 100,000 visitors this year to the Manatee-Sarasota area and generated $65 million in economic impact.

Opened in April 2011, The Premier Sports Campus at 5895 Post Blvd., Lakewood Ranch, has already been used by U.S. Soccer, the national governing body of soccer, Major League Soccer’s DC United and several youth and minor sport organizations. When U.S. Soccer returns to the campus this month for a week-long showcase, it will be aired on FoxSoccer, a specialty channel owned by Fox Entertainment.

If things go as planned, similar events scheduled at the campus, as well as the Sarasota Polo fields, will be broadcast to millions around the globe.

“We’ve been receiving interest from the NCAA and other college divisions, and because we will have a stadium, those events will be televised as well,” said Tim Mulqueen, director of sports at Lakewood Ranch.

Officials at SMR are planning to make improvements to accommodate large events that will solidify the sports campus as an international, multi-use facility for training and sports events.

For the past year, Sarasota-based GoodSports Enterprises LLC and SMR have been in talks about building a 55,000-square-foot indoor multi-use facility and 115-room hotel with dormitory-style lodging at Lakewood Ranch. The indoor facility could be used for basketball, volleyball, martial arts, cheerleading, gymnastics and other indoor events. SMR officials also say additions to The Premier Sports campus will include permanent bathrooms, concession areas, stadium seating, a locker room facility, indoor strength and conditioning training facility, outdoor track and a scoreboard.

With these changes, sports officials around the state say Lakewood Ranch can become a hub for sports.

“The sports complex, for lack of a better word, was a game changer in terms of Florida, the Southwest Coast and the Manatee-Sarasota area,” said Joe Picket, Manatee’s sports commissioner. “It has the potential, and will be an epicenter going forward.”

“Those multi-use fields can be used for a variety of things,” said Nick Gandy, director of communications for the Florida Sports Foundation, the official sports promotion and development organization for Florida. “There’s a lot of opportunity for this complex. There is a big demand for those kind of facilities.”

That demand includes Lakewood Ranch becoming an offseason training destination for college and professional athletes.

A Canadian Football League team has inquired about using the facility, and there have been discussions between SMR and Pirate City, the spring training complex for the Pittsburgh Pirates, about housing visiting athletes at the Bradenton complex for events in Lakewood Ranch. In turn, there is potential for baseball players to use the campus for performance training.

“It definitely has huge potential, not just attracting events and visitors to the area,” said Trevor Gooby, senior director of Florida Operations for the Pittsburgh Pirates. “It’s a great asset and complements what we have here with the Pirates. It makes us a destination that stands out among other counties.”

This past February, the campus was used to train several college football stars in preparation for NFL combines, an evaluation of draft prospects. Mike Gough, owner of Lakewood Ranch’s Athletic Edge, an 8,500-square-foot athletic facility on Main Street, trained more than two dozen college athletes, including 15 who were either drafted or signed as free agents. Gough also trains pro baseball players, pro golfers and even 10-year old tennis prodigies at his facility and the sports campus.

“With the addition of more housing in the area, we’ll see professional and national teams use our facility as a national training center,” Mulqueen said.

Though SMR will not shy away from working with professional markets, SMR does not want to compete with facilities like IMG in Bradenton, which is regarded as one of the top athletic training facilities in the world, or the Olympic-style rowing facility in Sarasota, which is the first 2,000-meter course in the U.S. capable of hosting national and world championships as approved by FISA, the international rowing federation.

Instead, the campus will primarily cater to local and amateur events that will bring families to the area.

“That will spur the relationship into the tourism, the hospitality, and the restaurant business,” said Rex Jensen, president and chief executive officer of SMR.

Unable to compete with hotels near the area’s beaches, sports events have given Lakewood Ranch hotels a new source of customers. This past Labor Day weekend, more than 19,000 people converged on Lakewood Ranch for a youth soccer tournament at the campus that resulted in a $13 million economic impact.

“Our entire business mix has changed from a majority of corporate, to corporate, leisure and sports,” said Rob Ferguson, director of sales for the Holiday Inn and Fairfield Inn in Lakewood Ranch. “Our weekends have done so much better since we’re not at the beach. We probably can attribute 5 to 10 percent of our occupancy to the sports campus alone. It’s not only benefiting owners, but employees because they’re getting more hours.”

The sports industry is better shielded from the still-weak economy, industry experts say.

“Sports tourism has shown it remains strong when other tourism numbers have declined or fallen flat,” Gandy said. “With an indoor facility, people from up north would want to come down and get away. They might want to come down early and have some vacation time.”

“It’s going to start, No. 1, with additional business opportunities,” Picket said. “Businesses are starting to purchase leases and training space. You’ll see other sports and camps come around and they will buy real estate in the area. Then we’ll see a housing boom. It will help sell residential and commercial in that area.”

Picket’s statement is backed by a recent analysis by the Manatee Economic Development Corp., which shows the sports performance industry has a large impact on county employment.

The sports industry in Manatee employs at least 1,969 workers through 156 business establishments, which include manufacturing, sports instruction, sports promotion, sporting good stores and spectator sports. According to the analysis, for every job added in sports performance, at least another 1.5 are created in different industries that in some way benefit. That multiplier peaks at spectator sports, which creates an additional 1.71 jobs for every position.

The potential to spread Lakewood Ranch marketability as a sports destination will only be amplified with its golf offerings. Lakewood Ranch is home to championship courses and has hosted PGA and LPGA events.

The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort is rated one of the best in the world and has hosted several U.S. Open regional qualifiers and this year, co-hosted the Florida Open.

The West Florida Golf Tour, a development tour, frequently uses courses in Lakewood Ranch. During its two years of existence, several PGA Tour winners have played on the tour.

“It’s a great area,” said Christian Bartolacci, West Florida Golf Tour director. “This area is ready to boom and golf is the next best thing. It’s only a matter of time.”

Nick Williams, East Manatee reporter, can be reached at 941-748-0411 ext.7049.

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