Tennis player makes the most of opportunity

College athletics has become second nature to people in the United States. Thousands of high school athletes have college coaches beating down their door to try and convince them to play sports for their teams. But Marta Romeo, a NKU tennis player who is from Spain, took a different path to become a college athlete.

“It is an awesome opportunity,” Romeo said. “I am to glad to be here because I love playing tennis and I’m really happy with my major.”

Romeo, originally from Zaragoza, Spain and graduate of Andalan High School, came to NKU to study psychology as well as to play tennis. In Spain, athletics are not sponsored by the university as they are in the United States, so it is difficult to play a sport and study at the same time.

“It’s just a building in the city,” Romeo said. “You have classes, and you go.”

Romeo is surprised she is even at NKU. Romeo did not know that she would be a member of the Norse tennis team until a few months ago. With recruiters in all parts of the world contacting him about potential recruits, head coach Geoff Crawford got a call from a recruiter about three women tennis players in Spain.

Crawford was in contact with the three players through the recruiter. They then got videos and made offers to all the women, with Romeo being the only one that accepted. Romeo had some of the key qualities that Crawford was looking for in a tennis player.

“Consistency was one of the things we were looking for,” Crawford said. “She looked like a solid player from the baseline, and that’s what we were looking for also.”

It was all made possible by Athletes Global Management Sports that Romeo received a scholarship. AGM Sports is a company that is based in Saragossa, Spain that gives international students assistance in finding scholarships to universities in the United States. This allows international students to study in the United States, while being given an opportunity to continue playing a sport at the collegiate level.

Coming to NKU, Romeo has had to adjust to being in a different country as well as speaking a different language.

“I think she’s adjusting very well, learning the English language,” Crawford said. “It was difficult at first, as she didn’t understand a lot of the things we were saying. The girls are helping her out a lot with the language.”

Even though it may be difficult, Romeo is enjoying her time being a NKU student as well as a Norse tennis player.

“I am doing everything that I want and I am learning English and meeting a lot of new people,” Romeo said. “It is a big experience that I will never forget.”

Story by John Minor