How many kids can say they’ve been around the world all before their eighteenth birthday? How many of those kids credit tennis for getting them there? One Laurel Springs alum thanks the sport and the school for helping to make his dream a reality.
Valentin Le Goupil-Maier has been playing tennis since age four, with Mom as his coach. Since then, he’s spent his high school years training at a tennis academy in Madrid, Spain. During this time, he’s “met some great people and had one of the best experiences of my life throughout all four years of playing local tournaments.” Tennis has taken him as far as Asia for the International Tennis Federation (ITF) tournament. He’s also played in the Spanish National Championships in Barcelona, and he’s even watched a fellow player win the US Open Junior Tournament.
The Love of Tennis
For some, tennis may only be enjoyable to watch or a joy to play on weekends. For Valentin, “Tennis is everything. It’s been my passion for as long as I can remember, and it has brought me so much.” In addition to the places he’s traveled, tennis has taught this young player many life lessons already. “It has pushed me to become the hard-working person I am today and has opened so many doors for me.”
Many of these doors have been opened by the coaches Valentin has had the honor of training with. “My primary coach in Spain was Felix Torres, and I can confidently say he has helped me change as a person and as [a] tennis player. There are very few coaches who will help a player on this level — they care about your progress as a tennis player and as a human, making me go through obstacles and not by giving me all the answers.”
Studying on the Circuit
So how does one find all the answers? Valentin found out how to volley school and sports by attending Laurel Springs. “It truly gave me the unique opportunity of training in Spain as a tennis player and continuing my school work to prepare for college.” And it certainly paid off, as he’s currently a freshman at the college of his choice, Adelphi University in New York, where he’s still honing his skills on and off the court.
Not only was Valentin prepared for higher education, but his familiarity with online classes made him better equipped to handle the current educational climate. “I haven’t been overwhelmed with everything transitioning online. With my experience from Laurel Springs, I already feel very comfortable and confident with completing my semester online for this year.”
While there’s still uncertainty in the world right now, Valentin is sure of one thing — tennis. “Right now I am very focused on college. I love where I am, and I have a great team with me. The coaching staff…truly cares about your growth and I feel like I can progress in these conditions. Furthermore, my teammates are so influential for me, they push me every day and they make it that much easier. I am grateful to play alongside them and embark on this journey!”