For many TCU students, participation in club sports is a way to have fun and enjoy a sport they love.
For freshman business major Chris Ferrante, his time with the TCU Rugby Club was part of his preparation for the USA Under-19 National team, on which he mans the hooker position.
“Playing for the national team is definitely my biggest achievement,” Ferrante said. “I wasn’t very good when I started playing in high school but one thing led to another and here I am.”
James Wolfinger, Ferrante’s head coach at St. Thomas High School in Houston, said it was Ferrante’s focus and dedication that have helped him to make it this far.
“It is very satisfying to see Chris start as a freshman and to watch him grow and go so far,” Wolfinger said. “It is like watching one of your own kids succeed.”
Andre Ferrante, Chris Ferrante’s father, said his son’s achievements on the field have also helped him to grow as a person.
“My wife and I are very proud of Chris,” Chris’ father said. “I now see him playing with a whole new level of confidence, especially after he made the U-19 team.”
During the summer between his junior and senior year of high school, Ferrante tried out for the Texas All-Star team. At this tryout, Team USA scouts noticed the Houstonian’s ability and invited him to try out for the U-18 team in Elkhart, Ind.
“I got to travel to England last spring for my first national tour, and although we didn’t play very well, it was a really neat experience,” Ferrante said. “It is different playing overseas, because you are representing your country, family and friends, and always have the USA logo on you.”
Ferrante said his favorite part was being only one of two players from his U-18 team selected to return and compete for the U-19 squad.
“It was a real honor being chosen to return because it is very difficult to be chosen year after year and continue to play within the system,” Ferrante said.
The top 30 players for the U-19 team are selected through tryouts, and the season begins in July. From here the team meets four to five times a year for six days each time to compete in tournaments, which include The Freedom Cup, a spring tour in England and the World Cup, usually held in June.
“The Freedom Cup against Canada is one of my favorite competitions,” Ferrante said. “This past year we played against their U-20 team, so it was a great building block for the World Cup in the summer.”
Apart from these tournaments, the players, who come from all over the country, play with different club and school teams.
“Hopefully I will one day get a chance to participate on the USA Men’s Team,” Ferrante said. “It will take a lot of work, but it is something I could definitely see myself doing.”