LPRT

Munoz receives scholarship at CSUP

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The Reaching Your Dream Foundation is extremely proud to congratulate one of its star players, Carla Munoz, for receiving a two year scholarship to attend Colorado State University Pueblo to finish her degree in business and accounting and to play for their nationally ranked racquetball program. CU Pueblo is a perennial contender for top colleges in the sport of racquetball.

Carla was one of four players selected by RYDF for a cash stipend in 2016 to help support her career. The other three were Jake Bredenbeck, Jose Diaz and Bobby Horn.

carla with her acceptance letter

Carla, 24, came to the United States from Chile three years ago to attend college and play professional racquetball. She continues to play for Chile in international tournaments and enjoyed a Silver place finish two years ago in the Pan Am Games. In July she will be representing Chile and RYDF at the World Games in Cali Colombia.

Carla is currently ranked #11 on the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) and plans to continue to play as she finishes her education. She enters CU Pueblo as a junior and must maintain a full academic load to qualify for her scholarship. Prior to being admitted and receiving a scholarship from Pueblo, she attended Las Positas Community College in Livermore and recently won first place in the National Collegiate Championships.

Getting to know Carla Munoz

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RYDF Athlete Carla Munoz is fresh off her Gold Medal performance at the 2016 National Intercollegiate Championships in Tempe, AZ. We decided to take this time to get to know a bit more about Carla on and off the court.

How did you get started playing racquetball? I started because of my dad, he used to play with friends and one day he signed up for a local tournament and he asked me to go with him, I always did a lot of different physical activities so I was really interested on what racquetball was. The same day I got inside of the court and I completely loved everything about it. After that day, my dad would take me to play and train twice a week and since then racquetball is my passion and my favorite thing to do by far.

When and why did you come to CA? After I had the opportunity to represent my country in Pan-American Games in 2011 I realize that I really wanted to become a professional player, however, I knew that I would need to move to USA because racquetball isn't a big competitive sport in my country. I spent two years coming for short periods of time until 2014 when I decided to settle in the bay area to continue my education and to be able to travel to more tournaments.

Carla and Kelani

Carla and Kelani

Now that you won the US National Intercollegiate Championships what is next on your list of racquetball goals to accomplish? My next goal is to get the top 10 LPRT ranking, and I'm also working hard to get a medal representing my country (Chile) in international competition, which is my biggest motivation.

Where do you go to school and what is your major? Estimated Graduation Date? I'm currently going to Las Positas College in Livermore, CA and my major is Business Administration. I'm planning on transferring next semester to the university to achieve my bachelors and become an accountant in two years.

What do you want to do after you graduate? At first I would like to dedicate some time only to train and play racquetball because being a full time athlete and full time student isn't that easy, and time to rest is very limited. After that I would like to have a job that allows me to play and train. On the future I would like to go back to Chile and develop racquetball and grow it especially among children. I would love to own a racquetball club where I can apply all that I learn at school, and teach people how to play racquetball.

 

I heard that you currently have an internship. Where do you intern at and what do you do there? I'm doing an internship at a company that gives services of interpretation and translation to workers who get injured at work and have to deal with health insurances, and don't speak enough English. My duties are mainly filing, scanning, and accounting work. Even though it hasn't been easy, I'm learning a lot about accounting practices and also how to manage my time.

Do you have a coach and if so whom? Yes, Pablo Fajre

Who are your sponsors? Gearbox racquetball, Reaching Your Dream Foundation, Comite olimpico de Chile, and Insituto Nacional del Deporte.

How has the Reaching Your Dream Foundation had an impact on your racquetball career? The foundation is helping me to achieve my dreams, because without their help I wouldn't be able to play many tournaments. They also help to become a better athlete in and off the court, teaching me ways promote myself better.

What does a weekly practice/training session look like? I train 6 days a weeks. The racquetball training consist on 3 days of playing and 3 days of court drilling where I practice things as rally situations, serves, return serves, and other. I also do a physical training session every day, where I mainly train strength, endurance, speed, agility and coordination.

Let's have some fun now..

What do you like to do when you're not playing racquetball/going to school or working? In my free time I like to be outside and as long as there is nature around I'm happy. I love going to the lake, to the beach, or to parks.

If you could go to dinner with three people alive or deceased, who would they be? Elvis Presley, Anybody from my family, and my boyfriend

What does your perfect day look like? My perfect day would start with some racquetball games, then some sushi for lunch, and then spend all afternoon at the beach with my family and boyfriend playing games or just enjoying the company.

If you could have any super power what would it be? I would like to be The Flash, I think that's the coolest super power ever.

RYDF: Our Mission Continues...

Mario Mercado

Mario Mercado

For us at the Reaching Your Dream Foundation, this first year has been a time filled with intimately learning the struggles young professional racquetball players face trying to make racquetball a life endeavor. The major goal of our foundation is to grow racquetball, and within that context, identify and raise the resources needed to address the unmet needs of players from diverse cultural and socio-economic backgrounds.

Throughout this year, we’ve engaged with many organizations and individuals to try and identify opportunities to enable players to pursue professional racquetball. However, our main operational strategy to date, to address the needs of these players, has been to help the World Racquetball Tour, in part, with their mission to facilitate a professional environment for young aspirational racquetball players. RYDF has provided support for players logistically with travel expenses and working to try and develop actionable engagement that help players make the most of their experiences on tour.

Our dedicated board most of which are from the Bay Area and who I will talk about in a later entry, worked bring the WRT to ClubSport in Pleasanton, California this past February. It was an endeavor to provide RYDF players another opportunity to compete for prize money, while allowing the local community to see and enjoy the players the community support.

The Mario Saga: One Player Pushing Us To Open Doors

One of the young players who came to Pleasanton was Mario Mercado age 19 from Bolivia. Mario is the 2013 Word Junior Champion. Mario had recently made the decision to leave Bolivia and play for Columbia. His decision found him with a few months of “free time”. He decided to stay in the Bay Area and was graciously taken in by a number of families, most of whom were board members of the foundation.

While in the Bay Area, Mario was closely befriended and mentored by Bobby Horn from Stockton, California and Carla Munoz of Chile, both RYDF supported players. Bobby plays primarily at WRT tour stops and Carla is a regular on the LPRT. Both train and teach racquetball to children and adults at ClubSport Pleasanton. Bobby and Carla spent a good amount of time with Mario working on his racquetball game as well as his cultural adjustment here in the States.

The mentoring Mario received was closely supervised by Pablo Fajre. Pablo is the coach of the Chilean Racquetball Team and president of the World Racquetball Tour. Also involved in oversight was Carlos Contreras, a Columbian born player who now lives and plays in the United States and is a citizen of the USA. Carlos is also the Treasurer and accountant for the RYDF.

Although all of these machinations dealt with the specifics of one player, it provided a good opportunity to explore educational opportunities and possible partnerships for players like Mario. The leadership of the foundation in conjunction with Pablo and Carlos decided to meet with some administrators of Las Positas College. We met with the Dean of Athletics and the Coordinator of the International Students Program to discuss the more general issue of understanding what is involved with assisting non-USA citizens with their desire to live, learn, train, and play high level professional racquetball in the United States, specifically (for now,) the Bay Area.

We are finding that there is much to learn and we feel very encouraged by our experience with Mario. The Reaching Your Dream Foundation has a mission of providing opportunities for players while facilitating growth for racquetball. Right now, we envisioned the Bay Area becoming a major training and education center for both American and non-American, young, elite racquetball players. We are currently learning that moving forward with our mission often involves investing in our players one at a time.

Cliff Swain to host racquetball clinics for RYDF

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The Reaching Your Dream Foundation is excited to announce that racquetball legend Cliff Swain will be in Northern California to play in the World Racquetball Tour (WRT) event to be held from September 5-7 and then spend the next few days providing his excellent and very popular lessons and clinics throughout the Bay Area. 

For more information about the WRT event visit R2 Tourney Link.  Join Cliff and other world class racquetball pros at the WRT Stockton even and sign up for a lesson or clinic with Cliff September 9th or 10th. More to come on these clinics in the next few weeks so stay tuned!