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home : sports / outdoors : sports/outdoors Saturday, November 25, 2017

8/10/2016 10:27:00 AM Email this articlePrint this article 
St. Paul Urban Tennis Program

By Amy Doeun

Surena and Vunnisa
SPUT group of kids
With summer just around the corner, many parents are looking for activities to get their children involved in throughout the summer months. Kong Pheng Vu and Dara Yang started putting their daughters in tennis classes through St. Paul Urban Tennis Programs. Little did they know that their daughters would progress to a national championship, Kong told Hmong Times.

"The St. Paul Urban Tennis and the Minneapolis Read Sweat Family Tennis Center both have helped our kids to get started with tennis several years ago, and have made it affordable as well, otherwise, we won't be able to afford it. We took advantage of this opportunity, and it had benefited our kids in tennis skill development and social skill development. In regards to social skill development, the kids seem to be more responsible in managing their daily living, schedules, and balancing it with their sports activities. They understand that education is the number one priority in this society; so maintaining a good grade in school is mandatory. However, since continued education such as college is very expensive, they try their best to develop their sports skills so they can perform well to meet the college scholarship expectation, to help cover some of their college tuitions. Playing tennis or any other school sports is not just for fun. It's a learning process and a journey for the kids toward high school and then college. Once a kid has shown interest and commitment to do their best in what they like, the community will recognize them, and support them with equipment and financial [aid] to reach their goals. Last year our kids have received over $2,000.00 to support their tennis. This year Minneapolis Read Sweat Family Tennis Center and Wells Fargo Bank have contributed $1,000.00 for Vunnisa Vu toward her tennis training. We as their parents want to thank everyone for your interest, support, and contribution toward our kids' tennis and success. This summer there are a lot of affordable tennis programs out there for kids of all ages and level. It's never too difficult or too late to enroll your kids."

Surena and Vunnisa both excel at tennis they told Hmong Times.

Hmong Times-- When you first began tennis did you think that you would be progressing to a competitive level?

Surena Vu (13) --No, at the beginning when my parents introduced me to tennis with the SPUTS summer program, I didn't know what to expect from it other than just to go there each day to meet my friends and have fun. Competition didn't come to my attention and interest until a few years later when I was about 10 years old, I joined the U14 USTA team and won the regional tournament and advanced to the national in South Carolina in 2013. From that point on it's more about competition than it was for recreation. Our U12 SPUTS tennis team had won the Northern Regional tournament two years in a role, 2014 and 2015.

Vunnisa Vu (11)-- When I first played tennis I didn't expect anything beside just being with other kids, having fun, and following the coach's instruction around the tennis courts. Competition didn't come to my attention until I started to play the USTA tournaments and begin to train harder. I developed the tennis skills and knowledge quickly, and I was able to compete against other USTA players in my age group and higher. I got better fast and I started to win tournaments within the state, the regional, and national level. I have played once in the international level in Florida when I was about 10 years old, and it was very competitive. Now that I am older, bigger, and have more experience; we are planning to go back to Florida to play in the International Orange Bowl. This is a tournament for players that planned to become professional tennis players.

Hmong Times: Where do you hope tennis will take you?

Surena - I just want to play tennis for my Roseville High School varsity team and try to see if I can get a scholarship to play for the college that has my major.

Vunnisa - I am hoping that tennis will take me to national and international level so I can get a college scholarship, and then become a professional tennis player after I graduate from college. I am currently the top three players in this region, and the top 100 players in the US.

Hmong Times: How did the tennis league help you achieve your goals?

Surena - The tennis programs have helped me to achieve my goals by 1) making the registration and trainings affordable, 2) it teaches me to be responsible and focus on what I am doing, 3) it helps develop my skills and knowledge to achieve my goals.

Vunnisa - It helps me to reach my goals by teaching me to be responsible and commit to what I want to achieve. The tennis program figures out what I need, supports me, and guides me toward the right direction.

Hmong Times: Any advice you would like to share with other students?

Surena - Yes, everyone should give it a try although it's difficult in the beginning, eventually you will get it after awhile, then you will like it because there is no contact involve and it's very clean, and you get to wear a very nice uniform.

Vunnisa - Everyone should try it because it is fun and you get to travel around the country when you play tournaments. It is hard work, but it keeps you in shape and healthy. When you practice hard and win, you will receive medals and trophies to show it to everyone.

St. Paul Urban Tennis Program (SPUTS) - Director, Becky C. (612) 382-6060: Offering over 30 plus sites of tennis lessons during the summer for kids of all ages, levels, and incomes around the St. Paul areas.

Mpls Read Sweat Family Tennis - Education Coordinator - Song Thao (651) 210-9715: Offering tennis lessons and leadership programs for youths.

St. Paul, MN



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