Lauren Xaba, founder and former Executive Director of SquashDrive in Oakland, has joined US Squash as a Community Squash Advisor with the goal of expanding the Community Affiliate Network and increasing access to the sport across the country.
The goal of the US Squash Community Initiative is to provide access and lifelong engagement in squash to people spanning the entire socio-economic spectrum, fostering lasting relationships across generations, genders, races and religions and building a lasting and diverse community rooted in shared values. Building off a strong foundation of traditional club and school-based models, squash communities of the future will be built around multi-purpose facilities which integrate a full range of programming. These community squash centers, featuring both indoor and outdoor courts, will dramatically increase access to the sport and bring a growing and diverse community together.
“I think we are at a critical point in the sport of squash and expanding access is one of the most important areas that we need to focus on for our future,” Xaba said. “It’s exciting to see that so many cities are starting to think about how they can create access within their existing court structure or by expanding their facilities, and with new programs to include more people from different socioeconomic backgrounds.”
Xaba brings a wealth of experience to the organization as a player, coach, organizer, and leader. A native of Philadelphia, Xaba now lives in Amherst, MA with her husband, Busani, and their twins Zoe and Zachary.
“I want our sport to thrive and continue to grow,” Xaba said. “My experience as a player on the University of Pennsylvania squash team, the Founder and Executive Director of SquashDrive in Oakland, 10 years of coaching the UC Berkeley Club squash teams, 15 years of growing grass roots squash on the west coast as well as my role on the Board of NorCal Racquets and Squash Association all have helped me see squash from different perspectives. I hope to be able to grow the partnerships of SEA, US Squash and the CSA and continue to learn from others who are so knowledgeable, with the support of US Squash, to be able to support the many programs that are looking to join the US Squash Community Affiliate Network.”
Established in 2020, the US Squash Community Affiliate Network now includes nine facilities including Atlanta Community Squash, Newport County YMCA in Rhode Island, Portland Community Squash in Maine, MetroSquash in Chicago, Access Youth Academy in San Diego, the SL Green StreetSquash Center in Harlem, Urban Squash Cleveland, Virginia Squash and the Arlen Specter US Squash Center in Philadelphia.
No matter where you play squash – outdoor courts, universities, independent schools, SEA facilities, community centers, or commercial courts – if your program has a non-profit element and you are committed to building an inclusive community, learn more about joining the Community Affiliate Network.