International Student-Athletes Bring Diversity to TAMIU
Thousands of miles away from home, international student-athletes at
Texas A&M International University must learn to adjust in order to
Since launching athletics in 2002, TAMIU has grown to sponsor nine athletic
teams. Sponsored sports for the 2004-05 academic year are men's and women's
soccer, men's and women's cross country, volleyball, men's and women's
basketball and men's and women's golf.
For its 2004-2005 athletic season, TAMIU has signed international athletes
from countries including England, Ireland and Kenya. (photos)
Philip Liversedge, men's soccer defensive midfield and a native of Darlington,
England, arrived at TAMIU through a scholarship agency. Adapting to Laredo's
heat has been his greatest challenge but his experience has been a solid
"TAMIU's Office of Admissions, my coaches and team members have
been really good to me. I'd like for there to be a bit more international
students. Although it is sometimes good being in the minority," said
Graham Lee, men's soccer goalkeeper and Sligo, Ireland native, heard
about TAMIU and the soccer program by contacting coach Arias via e-mail.
His first impression of Laredo was a friendly one.
"When I arrived to Laredo, one of the guys from the team collected
me from the airport and helped me move in. I've eaten Mexican food before,
but nothing like what I've eaten here," said Lee, "I'd like
to see a bit more international students to feel a bit more at home but
aside from that, the athletic program is excellent."
Lee mentioned the University's International Student Services orientation
also contributed to his positive experience.
Claudio Arias, men's soccer coach, said it is important to have international
student-athletes because they represent the principles for which the University
"I think there's always something beautiful in diversity, and in
sports it brings a different point of view of the game and also an academic
different point of view in learning. It brings out ideas a little different
than the ones we are accustomed to. There is richness in diversity and
an opportunity to understand a little bit of the world and different cultures,"
Currently 6 percent of 131 student-athletes are international at TAMIU.
Arias said he is working with the athletic program to help improve this
proportion in order to better represent the university and its international
"I would like to see more diversity by bringing more students from
Mexico, South America, and Europe, but at the same time not lose that
Laredo flavor of students that develops here," added Arias.
Arias also mentioned he would like to see the program help enhance TAMIU's
reputation of bringing and challenging students from all over the world
Most international athletes have not had much contact with the American
way of living, so once they make the big move they have a lot to get used
to, said Arias, but the majority of international students like the academic
and cultural experience they have received at TAMIU and Laredo.
Kyle Edwards, men's basketball center and Grand Freeport, Bahamas native,
transferred from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. He said it has
been somewhat challenging to get used to the culture.
"Just not being from Laredo or belonging to a particular race is
a bit difficult at times, but I have run into some nice people,"
Dan Lathey, associate director of athletics, said as international students
deal with change the University is bettered by their presence.
He noted that as it is not possible for coaches to travel overseas to
recruit players, the Internet and word of mouth have proven to be most
beneficial for TAMIU's athletic programs.
"It's not easy to get international students to come to Laredo.
The bottom line is to get players that want to come down here and contribute
to the team," said Lathey.
He said these players not only bring disciplined skills, but add diversity
and personality to TAMIU. Both American and international student-athletes
learn about teamwork, respect and understanding other cultures.
"Having international athletes gives us a greater view of the world.
Sports give students an idea that the world goes beyond the court or the
field," said Lathey.
For more information about TAMIU athletics, please contact Lathey at
326.2892, e-mail email@example.com
or visit the Kinesiology-Convocation Building, room 107.
University hours are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests
and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information
Services at firstname.lastname@example.org