Sometimes, all kids need is a chance!
 
 
Excellence Teams participants are National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) youth chosen based on their elite level of tennis ability, educational outcomes and commitment to the pathway to become student-athletes at the collegiate and professional levels. 
 
Excellence Teams ensure the best coaching and resources are available to those kids with the most desire, athletic potential and financial need. Local chapters are encouraged to generate outside funding for sustainability, and kids learn the importance of hard work, grit and graciousness.
 
As NJTLs embody the USTA Foundation mission to bring tennis and education together to change lives, Excellence Team events integrate tennis on-court activities and educational off-court activities. Our off-court has included group discussion and writing exercises on "Fitting In vs. Belonging – the Role of a Leader" and "Snitching vs. Respect & Loyalty to a Higher Cause" (balancing the threat and benefit of reporting the negative actions of a teammate that impacts the entire team.
 
Currently, the USTA Foundation has 14 NJTL chapters across the country that have identified close to 200 promising athletes. These athletes are identified and selected due to their hard work, talent, perseverance and grit. All Excellence Team coaches are USPTA/PTR certified. These Excellence Teams are provided additional resources designed to provide coaching, equipment and tournament travel at no cost to underserved junior tennis players from under-resourced populations who would otherwise never have the chance to even play. 
 
2019 USTA Foundation NJTL Excellence Teams
  • A’s & Aces – New Orleans, LA
  • Dallas Tennis & Education Academy – Addison, TX
  • Greensboro Tennis Association - Greensboro, NC
  • Harlem Junior Tennis & Education Program – Harlem, NY
  • InnerCity Tennis – Minneapolis, MN
  • Junior Tennis Champions Center – College Park, MD
  • Legacy Youth Tennis & Education  – Philadelphia, PA
  • Marty Hennessy Inspiring Children Foundation – Las Vegas, NV
  • Metropolitan Tennis & Education Group –  D.C., Maryland, Virginia
  • New York Junior Tennis & Learning – Bronx, NY
  • South Atlanta Community Tennis Association – Atlanta, GA
  • Sportsmen’s Tennis & Enrichment Center – Dorchester, MA
  • Tennis Memphis – Memphis, TN
  • XS Tennis & Education Foundation - Chicago, IL
The Excellence Team program includes a “playing pyramid” with mass community outreach at the bottom, a pathway of developmental programs in the middle and an elite group emerging at the top – possibly the next US Open champion! 
 
The statistics are astounding. Of the boys and girls who join an Excellence Team:
  • 95% have 3.0+ GPA
  • 7 players have been ranked Top 10 in the Nation
  • 96% improve their tennis skills
  • 98% continue to play tennis frequently
  • 100% report they will graduate from high school
All 14 NJTL Excellence Teams are required participate in various events, provide training opportunities for both coaches and youth and adhere to national program standards. 
  1. Coaches training – online training courses, face-to-face workshops, certified, work with a mentor
  2. Tennis Training – 30+ weeks of programming, tournament play, USTA Player Development Wild Card Playoff, USTAF NJTL Excellence Cup, USTAF NJTL Excellence Team Workout
  3. College Prep – track report cards, maintain GPA, Essay Contest, community service
  4. Marketing, Sponsorship, Fundraising & Communication

 

Currently, no additional Excellence Teams are being added to the program. If you have further questions regarding Excellence Teams, please contact us via njtl@usta.com.

 

The USTA Foundation is currently accepting nominations for the US Open Excellence Cup sponsored by American Express. 

This event will bring together twenty-four NJTL youth and their coaches to receive an all-expense paid trip to New York. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity will culminate with a round robin group play super tie-breaker session at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on Saturday, September 7th.

Held September 4 - 7, 2019, activities include attendance to the US Open women's semifinals; practice play at multiple professional facilities in the New York area; attendance to the USTA Foundation Pro-Am on September 6th; meet and greet and photo opportunities with Grand Slam champions; and special sightseeing events.
 
ELIGIBILITY
  • Players must be 16 years of age or under by August 1, 2019.
  • Each USTA Foundation NJTL chapter may nominate up to 4 players (two females, two males) for consideration.
  • The mission of the USTA Foundation is to bring tennis and education together to change the lives of under-resourced youth.  Within your NJTL programming, it is permissible and encouraged to have a fully inclusive training program with student-athletes from all socioeconomic backgrounds. However, for the use of all USTA Foundation funding and for USTA Foundation-funded special opportunities, like this one, all participants must be under-resourced who require either free or need-based scholarship access to your tennis programming.

To nominate a NJTL player fill out this form.  The deadline is July 22, 2019 and notification of those players selected will occur by August 2, 2019. 

 

Other Excellence Team Opportunities

College Pathway Program

"Strengthening American Tennis from the community to college"
 
The College Pathway has been introduced to Excellence Teams, as we now support players ages 15-18, within the NJTL Excellence Teams program. The program has two annual events for this age group. The USTA All-American College Combine, presented by Adidas in collaboration with the USTA Collegiate Department, allows players to be nominated to participate in the combine that is attended by top college coaches from all divisions of college tennis. The College Pathways Training Camp provides an elite group of 16 Boys and Girls the opportunity to participate in training with USTA Player Development.     
 

Individual Player Grants

The USTA Foundation Individual Player Identification Grant provides support to under-resourced players, ages 12-18, who are excelling academically (minimum 3.0 GPA) and in competitive tennis. To be considered for this opportunity, a player must be training and competing in tournaments year-round.

 

Coaching Education Grants

The USTA Foundation provides coaching education grants for elite coaches within the NJTL network to participate in the USA High-Performance Coaching Program and the USA Continuing Education Program. This program allows for NJTL coaches to receive continuing education for them to be able to provide the highest level of tennis instruction to their home programs. 

 

If you are interested in donating to the Excellence Teams program, please click here and help our NJTL youth become more competitive tennis players and more dedicated students.

 

 
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