The Long Read: Life After ASH for Alumni Athletes

Our alumni community is rich and diverse in experiences, professions, passions and talents that can serve as inspiration for our current students to forge their own path in the world and follow their own inner voice. While most of our alumni choose to focus on academic pursuits post graduation, there are also many who take a gap year, embark upon passion projects, or for some, are lucky to be offered the chance to live their athletic dreams through sports scholarships or professional athletic opportunities. As this is a rarity in the international school circuit, we wanted to take the opportunity to spotlight just a few of our alumni who saw success in sports in their lives after ASH. 

Alex, Class 2015, took his passion for basketball from the courts of ASH to Division 1 level in the USA, through persistence in following his dreams. He always knew he wanted to play high-level basketball, but realized it wouldn't be an easy journey as basketball is not a popular sport in the Netherlands. While at ASH, Alex would play on 3-4 basketball teams at a time, alongside playing on our school team, to ensure his skills were competitive with the American market. By branching out, he made a connection with the Canarias Basketball Academy in Spain, playing there for a year after graduating from ASH. From there, he was scouted by coaches and ended up playing at the University of Colorado Boulder, to play in Div 1 NCA, which is just one level lower than playing professional in the NBA. While his passion for basketball certainly influenced his choices, so did his studies, as he balanced his academic pursuits in a degree in Mathematics. Alex shares “For me, both have been equally as important (basketball and academics). I knew I always wanted to play college basketball, and academically I took as many classes as I could to leave as many options open as possible. On your journey - figure out what do you want to do: in athletics, what kind of level it is you want to play at, and in academics, what you want to do or study. Along the way many people say you can’t combine the two together (athletics and academics) but (I think) it's important to do both and it is possible to do both if you commit yourself to it. Surround yourself with people who support you to help you achieve your goals.”

Conor, Class of 2015, was able to pursue his aspirations of being a successful student-athlete, with the helpful encouragement of a (former) ASH teacher who recommended him to reach out to a golf coach and apply to Pomona College, (which offers Div 111 athletics). As Conor's primary drive was academics and golf on the side, the university fit the profile perfectly with an academic offering that he loved, and the ability to play golf competitively. Now a PhD student at Yale University, studying chemistry, he reflects that a highlight in his golfing career was his selection to play in the NCAA tournament as an individual (only 5 golfers chosen nationally) during his sophomore (university) year. Conor shares “My advice for current students who are talented athletes and want to push themselves in their sport is to strongly consider playing at the collegiate level. It is important to start the recruiting process early — email coaches and send video tape (or compete in events in the US where coaches can watch in person). Being a collegiate athlete is a wonderful experience, during which you make lifelong friends and learn valuable life lessons (discipline, time management, social skills) that will serve you well even after you’ve finished your career.” Fun fact: Conor is good friends with Alex, and was able to watch him play a basketball game against UCLA in LA!

Erin, Class of 2017, was a keen volleyball player throughout her academic and athletic career at ASH, which continued as she pursued her post secondary studies. Currently Erin has just finished her senior year at Ohio Wesleyan University, where her skills on the volleyball court reached new levels each year with the Wesleyan Bishops - making top ranks in career blocks/game and hitting percentages in her senior year of the game. Her dedication to athletics and studies was recognized as she was awarded the Dale Bruce Top 50 Award, given to the top 50 student athletes with GPA’s reaching 3.84 and above. To our current students she reflects “I think looking into D3 athletics is a really great option. It consists of super competitive play, but does not dominate your entire life like playing at a D2 or D1 school would. I had opportunities at my school to join a sorority, travel abroad and join other clubs all while being a part of a varsity sport. In terms of getting recruited, I created a profile with NCSA, where I uploaded a highlights video and they have a ton of college coaches’ contact info so you can get your name out there!”

Brothers Paul and Mark, both Class of 2019, are swimming their way to success  on their scholarships for international student athletes at the University of Calgary (Alberta, Canada). The brothers are members of the university men's swimming the Calgary Dinos, staying positive for their third year of school and swimming next year, as this year's season was cancelled due to COVID-19. Notably, Paul also successfully qualified for the Olympic Trials for the Canadian team but the trials were unfortunately cancelled due to the pandemic. To our own future athletes the brothers recommend that “...students looking to play uni sports should reach out to coaches and try find athletes on the teams, reach out to them via social media. Canadian university sports are still really serious and get great funding, but are a less “hardcore” option than a D1 school in the US. Even if you aren’t sure if you want to pursue athletics in university you lose nothing by reaching out to the coach and seeing if playing for their team in the future is a possibility.”

Josh, Class of 2019 had the dream of being a professional wrestler since the young age of 9. He began wrestling in his elementary school years, as well as being very involved in theatre and performing. His family joined the ASH community for his grades 6 - 8, moving back to Texas in 2014. Josh continued to pursue his passion and wrestled on the high school wrestling team for 4 years, was captain as well as reaching 103 varsity wins during his career. Last year he joined The Lions Den Professional Wrestling and balanced professional wrestling career while going to Texas A&M. He wrestles under the name - Shimbashi The Canadian Dragon. Currently, he has been booked across Texas this summer in various productions - combining his love for wrestling and theatre. 

Sisters Emma, Class of 2021 and Sadie, Class of 2020, may have left ASH some time ago, but their time playing on ASH U12 and U14 volleyball teams helped solidify their passion for athletics. The sisters have also seen success in volleyball since leaving ASH at Frankfurt International School, which provided them the chance to play at top level in university in their post secondary studies. Sadie is currently playing D1 volleyball at University of Texas El Paso (UTEP), with Emma offered a scholarship to play D1 volleyball at the University of Rhode Island this year. Until now, she was playing on the German TG Bad Soden Volleyball team in Frankfurt, and on the Frankfurt International School team - so we would still have seen her as part of our international schools athletics competitors. 


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