Mason is a place of diversity, which can be seen and heard every day with a simple walk around campus.

A great deal of international recruiting is done to bring a diverse range of players to the school.One team taking advantage of international recruitment is the women’s volleyball team.

Ever since two girls from Hungary were recruited in 1993, there has been at least one international player on the team. Coach Pat Kendrick continues to bring great opportunities to international recruits.

The first big thing that all of these girls and every international recruit must go through is meeting NCAA eligibility, along with the countless paperwork. Just like every student at Mason, they must have certain SAT scores and meet certain standards. However, for international students, extra things like at least a 6.5 in English as a second language exams must also be obtained to attend Mason.

These requirements can be very intimidating to international recruits. Sometimes, they cause other schools with fewer requirements to recruit players who would not be eligible to play at Mason.

Kendrick explained that high school and collegiate level sports in other countries are not as established as they are in the United States and Canada. Athletes usually play on club teams that they had to seek out and join. These teams have players ranging in age and availability. Players and coaches may have other full-time jobs, with the club teams coming second.

Once players turn 18, they are too old to play on youth leagues and intense competition for the country’s pro league, if there is one, begins. If players are recruited to schools in the United States, they have the chance to pursue their sport, education, and travel at the same time, which is an opportunity they would not have in their home countries.

However, a major downfall of international recruitment is that players cannot go home for holidays and breaks, which can bring issues with adjusting and staying focused.

It is a top priority that players and coaches create a support system for anyone that is far from home.

“Anyone that is far from home needs to know they have people here. We create a family away from family,” said Kendrick.

Creating a second family is very easy to accomplish here at Mason, whether it is with other teammates or someone from the over 100 countries represented at Mason.

“When people ask me if I have kids, I say, ‘Yes, I have 14,’ said Kendrick.

The experiences international recruits have span beyond their place on the team. For example, Australian players on the women’s volleyball team were able to travel to Chicago with fellow teammates, and were able to see snow for the first time.

Mason sports all have a budget; it is up to the individual teams to figure out how they would like to spend it for the year. They may decide to only recruit from the U.S. and take referrals for international students or they may decide to take recruiting trips.

Coach Kendrick has done both of these during her time at Mason. She has had great players referred from overseas by other coaches, but has also made trips to places like Brazil for recruitment.

With the amount of international recruits increasing all throughout the country, Mason is sure to see many more smiling faces arriving from all corners of the world.