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New Florida High School Launches Tennis Programs with Grant from USTA Florida Foundation

Opening a new high school and launching its boys’ and girls’ tennis programs is a daunting task — even before you throw in the tail-end of the COVID-19 pandemic, no tennis courts, and no racquets or tennis balls for the players. But Don Soffer High School, with help from a grant from the USTA Florid Foundation, is now serving tennis to children of the Aventura community just north of Miami.

“We have very, very limited resources,” said Eduardo Perl, tennis director of the nearby Strength Tennis Academy, which became the free-of-charge designated training facility for the teams. “We are also not collecting any money for training the high school tennis team at all.”

Perl reached out to the USTA Florida Foundation, the giving arm of the USTA Florida Section that supports non-profit tennis organizations across the state, and was awarded a $2,500 program grant to supply basic tennis equipment in addition to equipment for training. The team practices at the Strength Tennis Academy and, with no courts of their own, plays their matches at Ives Estates Park in Miami.

“With this program we are giving the students the opportunity to be a part of the great sport, as tennis is,” Perl said. “When we introduced the program we received tons of applications for tryouts and the excitement of the parents and kids contacting me was very encouraging.”

The USTA Florida Foundation in its grantmaking prioritizes youth tennis programs, including school programs that have suffered over the last three years due to decreases in funding for sports and physical activities, along with the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Perl, who is PTR (Professional Tennis Registry) and SafePlay (the USTA’s program for instructors working with children) certified, took up the cause to help launch the Don Soffer High School tennis programs as the school struggled through the COVID-19 pandemic. He also worked with school officials to open a small budget at the school level for future tennis funds.

“This is the only tennis program for free offered in Aventura and is benefitting the students of Don Soffer High School which is the only high school for our City of Aventura,” said Perl of the school that gives parents the option of keeping their children in Aventura rather than sending them to Miami schools. “The lack of resources has been a problem but is something we are overcoming with the help of the USTA Florida Foundation.”

While grants for schools currently fall under Program Support Grants, the USTA Florida Foundation is currently considering a specific Schools Grant category to provide further support for struggling boys’ and girls’ tennis programs across Florida. To learn more more or to apply for a schools grant, go to

To apply for a USTA Florida “Play Tennis” specialty license plate, where 90% of all proceeds assist school and other tennis programs throughout Florida, go to

About the USTA Florida Section Foundation

With a mission of “Changing Lives through Tennis,” the USTA Florida Section Foundation provides financial support to organizations that help people of all ages and abilities improve their health and quality of life through the great game of tennis. To learn more or to apply for a grant go to