ALBANY PARK — After more than a decade's absence, women's tennis is returning to North Park University as a varsity sport, the school announced Wednesday.
The Vikings' squad will begin competing in fall 2014 under head coach Karl Clifton-Soderstrom, who was captain of North Park's men's tennis team as an undergraduate and coached the women's team in the 1990s as a grad student.
Clifton-Soderstrom is in the process of recruiting players among North Park students, as well as from local high schools.
"I want to establish among the players a culture of discipline, excellence and joy in the game," Clifton-Soderstrom said in a statement. "I also want to establish the group of players as a team that not only push one another to improve, but support one another through an inaugural season against tough competition."
North Park withdrew from women's tennis after the 2002 season after several years of finishing near or at the bottom of the standings in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin.
Clifton-Soderstrom has higher aspirations for the program this time around. His short-term goal is to qualify for the conference tournament as one of the top four teams, he said.
And his long-term goal: "A highly competitive team on a national level."
Those interested in learning more about becoming a part of the women's tennis revival at North Park can visit the team's recruiting page.