From Sweden to SPIRE!

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From Sweden to SPIRE!

Basketball players Amanda Rensmo and Julia Hanni have a passion for basketball. This summer, they decided to bring that passion to SPIRE Institute and take part in two weeks of SPIRE Academy Camp. Looking to take their game to the next level, both girls have been training hard at reaching their goal of playing college basketball.

Originally from a town about an hour north of Stockholm called Uppsala, Amanda and Julia met playing basketball at the same high school. After graduating in June, they both decided that they wanted to continue their basketball careers at the college level and ended up finding SPIRE Institute through online searches. “We began searching for camps on Google and came across SPIRE and wanted to sign up,” Julia said. With this being their first time in the United States, they were very excited to see what SPIRE Institute had to offer.

Julia Hanni on the court at SPIRE Institute.
Julia Hanni on the court at SPIRE Institute.

Their favorite part about SPIRE is, of course, all of the basketball and training that they receive throughout the week. “The trainers and coaches are very good,” Julia said. “Even if you are not at the same level as everyone else, they make sure that you can keep up and work on your skills.” Amanda was quick to agree that the training that the SPIRE coaches are helping them become prepared to play in college.

“They have done a unbelievable job at adapting to a diverse setting and we have been able to help them become more comfortable with the American game,” said John Kopcso, Assistant Director of Basketball at SPIRE Institute. “They train very hard, their work ethic is very high and they are definitely getting better.”

For those athletes in the Academy Experience camp, they spend their off time boarding at Andrews Osborn Academy and get to experience a little bit of what Northeast Ohio has to offer. Both of the athletes were shocked at the popularity of basketball in the United States and ready to attack the basketball shoe section at the Great Lakes Mall. “We went crazy in the sports section because at home we only have like two kinds of basketball shoes,” Amanda said. “Basketball really isn’t that popular compared to soccer and ice hockey.”

Amanda (far left) and Julia during a coaching section with Coach Kapsco.
Amanda (far left) and Julia during a coaching session with Coach Kapsco.

As SPIRE Institute continues to expand it’s Academy program, Kopcso is excited to continue to work with athletes from outside of the United States. “We truly want to have an organization that is attractive to athletes worldwide,” Kopcso said. “We have shown that by having 14 different countries represented in our academy program last season. For a lot of kids, their standard of success is playing American college basketball so getting them over here and getting into a program like SPIRE is essential for them to become connected with college coaches.”

As for Amanda and Julia, both athletes are already planning their next trip to the U.S. after they head back home at the end of the week. SPIRE Institute has loved getting to know these athletes and hope to continue to help them reach their goals of playing college basketball in the United States!

Make sure to check back throughout the week for more stories and updates from SPIRE Institute. Also, check us out on Facebook and Twitter at SPIRE Institute and on Instagram at spire_institute. If you are interested in experiencing SPIRE Camps, please visit

Posted by csmith@spireins...