As we take a deep breath after the 2018-2019 season, I get a chance to reflect on the progress we’ve made. I’m extremely proud and appreciative of our staff and their nearly tireless efforts to further our mission to provide meaningful lifelong engagement in the sport.
We’ve focused on how we support events to enhance our community’s experiences at tournaments, and we have raised the profile of sportsmanship through events such as the US Squash Junior Awards Dinner and Character in Sports Day at the U.S. Open, while also enhancing our conduct enforcement processes. Our Club Locker system is driving innovation by providing facilities and players with world-leading technological tools. Our Team USA athletes strive for and achieve excellence on the world stage.
While this time of year offers a chance for reflection, summer is no time to relax. We recently launched a pilot with the Lynch/van Otterloo YMCA in Massachusetts which will set the stage for us to build programs that deliver qualified, well-trained professionals to facilities across the country. The third edition of the US Squash Academy will bring together an elite community of aspiring juniors, top college players who aim to turn professional upon graduation, and current US Squash Elite Athlete Program (EAP) professionals. We will enhance members’ engagement and experience through the release of a fully revamped web presence and next season we will provide increased streaming of our championships and other events. We will redouble our efforts to encourage sportsmanship, improve refereeing, and provide the tools tournament and league directors need to foster fair and rewarding competitive environments for our members.
The World Masters Championship will come to the U.S. for the first time this July/August, and highlights the progress the sport has made. The tournament is expected to draw more than 600 participants from around the globe, and will be hosted at the fourteen-court McArthur Squash Center at the Boar’s Head Resort in Charlottesville, VA. The facility is driving growth of the game south of D.C., and during the season also hosts the newly-minted University of Virginia varsity squash teams—a boon for the squash to be welcomed into such a prestigious DI athletic department. The World Masters will be run on Club Locker through a partnership agreement with the World Squash Federation, part of a global push to share resources to drive the game forward. Live streaming and scoring through Club Locker will highlight the excellence of these athletes.
While summer may not provide as much time to catch our breath as we’d like, we’re all fortunate to be a part of the squash community during a period of such exciting growth. Our greatest asset remains the passion for the game showcased by our players, coaches, administrators and fans. We still have much to do, and the US Squash staff is committed to doing its part to drive the game forward while remaining focused on our core values of integrity, inclusiveness and innovation.