US Squash’s mission-focused work continues to produce an incredible amount of activity and we thank every member and donor for their support. Our purpose is to encourage and support lifelong positive engagement in squash. We believe that participation in squash transforms lives. We support every athlete’s ambition to realize their full potential, on and off the court.
This summer was our first full one at the Specter Center and showed how much promise our new home has to make an impact locally, nationally and globally. We hosted Team USA junior and Under 23 training sessions throughout, and for the first time hosted the junior “Battle for the Border” vs. Canada. We fielded teams at the Pan Am Juniors, World Junior Championships and athletes at the World Games.
A productive “off season” for our High Performance Program (HPP) athletes has already proven successful as we prepare to field the “quartet of top twenty” women for the World Women’s Championships taking place in December. Crowds were ecstatic cheering on Sabrina Sobhy as she stunned World #2 Hania El Hammamy during the second hosting of the U.S. Open presented by Truist at the Specter Center October 8-15. Founding sponsor Drexel University returned for an 11th year of support and was joined by 18 other partners.
This support of the center and our events allows us to maintain robust local community activity, with the Work Ready program showing just how integrated our efforts can be. We also worked with SoCal Squash to roll out the pilot phase of the PlayLA program, funded by the LA28 Olympic and Paralympic Games and the IOC. PlayLA is made possible because of LA28’s $160 million commitment to sports for kids in Los Angeles ahead of the LA28 Games and is the single largest commitment to youth sport development in California. The squash program will formally kick off with kids this week. I have no doubt that this represents an inflection point for the sport in the U.S. as we redefine squash and push for growth at all levels.
On September 24, the Specter Center hosted the first Women & Girls Summit during which nearly 100 participants enjoyed playing and meeting new friends, connecting, learning, and engaging with incredible panelists.
We recently announced the launch of a new USR (Universal Squash Rating) Junior Circuit to establish a broadly accessible competitive environment for all youth squash players. US Squash and the College Squash Association formally announced their merger to advance and grow intercollegiate squash, creating a united pathway to sustained success for squash on campus and robust growth overall. More announcements also are in the pipeline concerning advancements in promoting coaching excellence and masters squash.
We are, and aspire to be, active, engaged and forward-looking. We think that if you are passionate about squash, you are passionate about us. Passion for advancing the sport was a major part of Jack Herrick’s life for half a century. He chaired US Squash and the PSA Tour, founded the US Squash Endowment Fund, managed Team USA and won a World Masters title. Among the many honors he received, he was inducted into the U.S. Squash Hall of Fame in 2012. Perhaps most importantly, he inspired and encouraged generations of players to give back to the sport, myself included. Sadly, he passed away last week. He will be missed, though his legacy to the sport will be remembered for years to come.
President & CEO, US Squash