HARLINGEN — University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Harlingen Collegiate High School’s Ethan Silva signed his letter of intent to join Clemson University’s NCAA Division I tennis program.
“I am super excited to get up there,” he said. “The team’s culture is unmatched, the coaches there really care about their players and they have something going on there for the next couple of years. I am excited to get up there and get to work.”
The five-star recruit has played in United States Tennis Association-sanctioned tournaments at the state and national level for 14 years. Silva is ranked top five in his class in the state and top 50 in the nation.
A reason for Silva’s success is his personal coach, Ramiro Cuevas. The two train together at Harlingen’s Victor Park for 15 to 20 hours per week. Cuevas admitted to having to learn things himself to keep up with Silva as the Clemson-bound athlete developed.
“Ethan worked super hard,” Cuevas said. “He is not only working hard, but doing it with half the resources. The coaches of the athletes he competes against are all ex-pros or former all-Americans and have coached super good kids for a long time.”
Silva thanked his coach for his dedication to him.
“(Cuevas) has been coaching me since I was 8 years old, so he has been there with me every step of the way,” Silva said. “I also want to thank my mom and dad for being there for me, providing everything and the sacrifices they made to get me here.”
Because of the lack of adequate competition in the area, it was imperative that Silva competed across the United States. The nationally ranked junior tennis player has competed in California, Arizona, Oregon, Michigan, Georgia, North Carolina, Alabama and Florida.
All of the traveling would not be possible without his parents, David and Laura Silva.
“We are extremely proud of him,” Laura Silva said. “We are proud of his hard work, dedication and perseverance. Ethan has had big wins and tough losses as well as emotional ups and downs, but we are so proud that he kept his head down and did not quit. We are blessed that Clemson has committed to giving Ethan this major opportunity.”
Because of all the traveling, Silva needed to be excused from school to compete. Harlingen Collegiate High School, in coordination with HCISD, accommodated the athlete’s unique talents by allowing him to miss classes because of the competitions, something his parents cannot thank enough.
Calvary Christian Academy, where Silva went to middle school, also helped support his talents by allowing him to travel and compete. Silva spent some time being home-schooled, but the social butterfly became burned out and was welcomed by Harlingen Collegiate High School.
Academically, Silva will graduate with 47 college hours under his belt as he pursues a degree at Clemson in professional health sciences, with aspirations of becoming a dentist.
“I worked really hard to get here,” he said. “I have been doing this since I was 3 years old, practicing every day, 15 hours a week, so it has been a long time coming. I have put a lot of hard work and sweat into this, I am pretty pumped.”
The tennis stud will not only be representing the city of Harlingen but the whole Rio Grande Valley as he embarks on his NCAA Division I career.