For college students, Thanksgiving provides a break from school and living on campus while giving them a chance to go home and see family.
However, many international student athletes may not have a place to spend this distinctly American holiday.
Sports like basketball, baseball and football usually have fewer international players and a mostly American squad.
However, sports like tennis and soccer can be a different story.
“We have seven international men and three international women in our tennis program,” said Coach Kim Ketelsen, assistant coach for the TJC men’s and women’s tennis teams. “There’s no particular region or country. The past several years that I’ve been here, they’ve usually been from all over.”
The Women’s soccer coach Corey Rose had the same to say about his first year team.
“I’ve got six international players on my team. We’ve recruited three from England, one from Canada and one from Northern Ireland,” said Rose.
Men’s Soccer Coach Steve Clements also has international players on his team.
“I have about 12 international players. Over the past 17 years that I’ve been in the business, I’ve had recruiting contacts mainly out of South Africa, Jamaica and England,” he said.
The sports that are made up of mostly international athletes are all faced with the same question of where to send athletes during the fall and Thanksgiving breaks.
“We’ve been pretty lucky with the tennis players because they always usually go home with their roommate or teammate,” said Ketelsen. “If a player for some reason or another doesn’t have a place to stay, then we’ll make arrangements for them to stay in the dorms. We rarely ever have to make arrangements like these, though.”
One player, however, will be making such arrangements.
Fernando Pereira, a freshman TJC tennis player from Brazil, will be staying in the dorms over Thanksgiving break.
“I’d prefer to just stay in the dorms. It’s too much money to go home, and most guys are going with the other teammates. I’m just going to stay here. It’s my mom’s birthday…I can see her on webcam if I stay in the dorms.”
Clements and Rose also have a few players staying on campus through the Thanksgiving holiday, even though most international players go home with some of their local teammates.
“Whether it’s the players’, assistant coaches’ or my house, we make sure everyone has a place to go,” said Rose. “We’re fortunate that the players have good relationships and no problems, so everyone has a place to go.”