For more than a decade, Five Seasons Family Sports Club in Northbrook has gained increasing acclaim as one of the region's top developers of youth tennis talent.
The club at 1300 Techny Road has helped produce a steady stream of high school state tennis champions, nationally ranked players and athletes who have gone on to play collegiate tennis.
This month, by designating the club as a USTA Certified Regional Training Center, the United States Tennis Association applied an exclamation point to that stellar reputation.
In the process, Five Seasons becomes the state's only such regional training center, or RTC. Other facilities in Illinois have received USTA certification in the past, though none others currently can make that claim. Five Seasons is now one of only two RTCs in the Midwest, with the other being The Smiths, LLC in Indianapolis.
Under a three-year agreement, the club will partner with the USTA in its "mission to cultivate the next generation of world-class American players," according to a news release issued by USTA Player Development.
That player development comes via "a clearly defined training structure and competitive pathway as well as through the implementation of a comprehensive coaching philosophy and structure," the USTA stated.
In order to receive the certification, Five Seasons needed to demonstrate that its junior development program's training philosophy is aligned with that of the USTA. In addition, the USTA stated it factors in the club's proven track record of producing high national level junior players.
"This certification is an honor and a great responsibility that we take very seriously," said Chris Sheldon, Five Seasons' Director of Racquet Sports. "We are committed to providing the same quality instruction that prompted the USTA to make the designation."
The facets of USTA Player Development includes coaching education, player identification and development, sport science, strength and conditioning and player services.
The certification helps junior players in and around Northbrook because those players and their families can enroll in the USTA Player Development program close to home and don't have to travel hundreds of miles to attend USTA camps, according to the organization.
Nationally, there are 17 USTA Certified Regional Training Centers spread across four regions.
Patrick McEnroe, former captain of the U.S. Davis Cup tennis team and younger brother of tennis legend
"As we continue to see positive results out of players who train at USTA Certified Regional Training Centers, we are excited to be working collaboratively with these programs and their coaches to develop future American tennis stars," McEnroe said.
The USTA is the national governing body for the sport of tennis in the U.S. and the leader in promoting and developing the growth of tennis at every level, from local communities to the highest level of the professional game. The not-for-profit organization has more than 770,000 members and owns and operates the
In addition to continuing their existing programs, training centers such as Five Seasons will host USTA Player Development camps for players ages 8-13. These players will be selected in conjunction with the USTA National coaching staff and their respective USTA Section Player Development Manager and Coaching Commission.
The Centers will also run 10-and-Under Tennis programs and host 10-and-Under Tennis tournaments.
The camps will be staffed by coaches at the USTA Certified Regional Training Centers and sectional coaches from throughout their respective USTA sections with additional assistance from the USTA National coaching staff.
Debuting in 2008, the USTA Certified Regional Training Centers expand the USTA Player Development program's reach throughout the country by partnering with academies, clubs, tennis centers and coaches that have a proven record of identifying and developing tennis players.
Five Seasons features 16 tennis courts, including outdoor hard and clay courts and indoor hard courts. The club offers a three-level junior progression through competitive tournaments, or through recreation and high school play.
In addition to Sheldon, other key leaders at Five Seasons include Casey Clagett, junior development director, and lead coach Jacek Dabrowski. The facility is one of seven Five Seasons Family Sports Clubs throughout the Midwest, including one at 6901 S. Madison in Burr Ridge that also has a highly regarded tennis program.