Kirchoff moved half-way around globe to join Pride tennis team



Luca Kirchoff, recruited from Germany, is making a mark on Pride tennis.

Luca Kirchhoff has had an eventful ride leading up to his senior season of collegiate tennis. 

Born in Los Angeles to German parents, Kirchhoff moved around the country before ending up in his true hometown of Wiesbaden, Germany. 

“My parents moved to the U.S. because of work,” he said. “I lived there [Los Angeles] for two years so I can’t remember much. Then we moved to Richmond, Virginia, where I spent two more years of my life. Then when I was four, we moved to Germany.”

With the help of his father, it was in Richmond where Kirchhoff’s tennis journey begun, igniting a flame for the sport that would last till this day. 

“I kind of remember that moment… playing tennis with him,” Kirchhoff said. “ It was my first experience on a tennis court. When I was seven, I started lessons. Then when I was around 11 or 12, I started to play competitive tennis.”

As college years approached, Kirchhoff looked for ways to get his name out in the tennis world. 

In 2018, Kirchhoff posted an 11-minute YouTube video showcasing his skills. The last sentence of the video’s caption reads, “My dream is to get a scholarship in the United States and play college tennis”. 

“I sent the link to hundreds of college coaches,” he said. “I got into contact with some of them. Then in that summer, I was on vacation with my family in LA. I was playing in a [college showcase] tournament. I won that tournament.” 

His dream of playing in the U.S. became a reality when Kirchhoff committed to Newberry College in Newberry, South Carolina, for his freshman year in 2019. 

“I was very proud of myself,” he said. “Also to see my parents be proud, they supported me all the time, helped me write emails and prepare myself for Skype interviews. That moment was unbelievable.” 

Kirchhoff thought it was only right to return to the U.S. 

“Being born in the U.S., I always had that connection [here],” he said. “Of course it’s not easy to leave your family when they are so far away from you. [But] I always wanted to combine sports and studies and that’s not possible in Germany.”

But being thousands of miles from your American campuses is something the recruiting process could not prepare him for. 

To find out what to expect, Kirchhoff sought out athletes who he could relate to. 

“ “I talked to people, especially Germans on that team [Newberry], to just get a different point of view,” he said. “Sometimes the student athletes already on the campus have different perspectives.

After a season at Newberry, Kirchhoff began looking for a new athletic home in the U.S. Once again, he asked athletest he trusted for advice and information. 

“The same thing happened here before I came to PNW,” he said. “Leon Kah (’21), who is also German. I asked him hundreds of questions. That was very important for me to get a point of view from a player.” 

Kirchhoff also has formed strong relationships with the other international players coming through the program, especially with his fellow German teammate, Jonas Franssen. 

“When you are coming to a new place and you don’t know anything, it is very important to know people and have people around you who were in the same situation because they can understand you very well,” Kirchhoff said. “That was very important with Jonas being my roommate in my first semester. Since I’ve been at PNW, I always was rooming with my teammates from Europe. 

“We have all become very good friends and create a good team dynamic,” he said. “I think that is a big part of our success.