The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Looking beyond borders

Recruitment of international athletes at Lafayette
Junior midfielder India Ralph, who came to Lafayette from New Zealand, prepares to drive the ball. (Photo courtesy of GoLeopards)

With a commitment to establishing a global community within the student body, Lafayette recruits many international students each year. Some of these students make the trip to Easton specifically to participate in athletics.

Junior field hockey defender India Ralph knows firsthand about the recruitment process for international student-athletes. Originally from New Zealand, Ralph has had a successful career at Lafayette, from making the Patriot League Championships as a first-year to becoming co-captain as a junior. 

Ralph heard about the Leopards through her club coach, who played against former assistant coach Amy Tran-Swensen in the 2008 Olympics. 

“The previous Lafayette field hockey assistant coach got in contact with my coach asking if he knew anyone interested in playing field hockey in America,” Ralph said.

Coincidentally, Ralph was planning on reaching out to her club coach for a field hockey reference to be able to play collegiately in the United States. She quickly jumped on their offer and was led to Lafayette’s program.

Lafayette frequently hosts official campus visits for domestic students as well as international recruits, but for these international students, it proves difficult to cross the globe to visit a school. Ralph’s recruiting experience with the field hockey team entailed many Zoom meetings.

“I instantly fell in love with how [head coach Jennifer Stone] described the culture of the team at Lafayette,” Ralph said.

For Ralph, her first experience at Lafayette was also her first experience in the United States.

“My recruitment process was unique because my first introduction to America was the field hockey preseason report date,” Ralph said. “I literally jumped on a plane and came here with no idea if I would like it or not.” 

When it comes to being recruited, international student-athletes are held to the same standards as their domestic counterparts. According to first-year men’s soccer defender Nikolas Hadjimitsis, “the coaches and the school made everything straightforward.” 

Coming from Cyprus, Hadjimitsis was excited at the opportunity to play soccer collegiately in the United States.

“I first heard about Lafayette from two other Cypriots who graduated,” Hadjimitsis said. “Evidently, I liked what I heard. I can go on and on about the reasons why I chose Lafayette.” 

Hadjimitsis said that when looking at schools, competitive academics and athletics were both important in his decision.

“The two most important factors for me were, firstly, the fact that Lafayette is a prestigious school with a top-notch engineering department, and secondly, the fact that the coaching staff presented me with a plan that I fell in love with on day one,” Hadjimitsis said. 

For both student-athletes, the international recruiting process was ultimately a great success.

“To be honest, I’ve been here for a little over a month and it already feels like home,” Hadjimitsis said.

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