Her coach thinks she could turn pro. She has notions of coaching. In the meantime, she majors in Humanities, minors in Journalism, and is embarking on her final semester at Loyola Marymount University. But in speaking with LMU senior Jessica Perez, there’s no sign of pressure, no weight of burden.
“I like the competing,” Jessica says of her tennis career, which started as an 8 year old at tennis camp. She liked the game, but had no real aspirations. When coaches began convincing her parents that Jessica was exceptionally talented, her journey into competitive tennis truly began. By seventh grade, Jessica knew the game was calling and a collegiate career was shining on the horizon.
Now almost a decade later, the Laguna Niguel native will complete her fourth year at #1 singles as the leader on a young LMU squad – two-thirds of the team’s players are freshmen or sophomores. That makes Jessica a fine example for her younger contemporaries.
“She knows the game very well,” coach Agustin Moreno says, suggesting that a Pro Circuit experience would prove beneficial for his graduating senior. Travelling around the U.S. and the world on the Pro Circuit provides valuable insight that collegiate play doesn’t provide. “Try to make it on the Circuit,” he suggested, “then come back to school for a Master’s.”
Regardless of her chosen course, Jessica Perez has a wealth of opportunity ahead. First up? A strong finish to her undergraduate years, and one last chance to elevate LMU Women’s Tennis to new heights.
The LMU Lions head to Cal State Fullerton on Sunday at 11am. Visit the team website here.
Image: LMU Athletics