Mbah and Soto attend first ever National Urban Squash Development squad!

28 Urban squash players from around the country experienced Columbus Day weekend in Philadelphia attending the first ever NUSEA Urban Squash Development squad. From SquashBusters, Jennifer Mbah and Jose Soto were selected to represent their program as two leading U/15 players in the program.

Columbus Day weekend in Philadelphia saw the US Squash Open at Drexel, the US Junior Championship Tour event and the first ever NUSEA Urban Squash Development squad. SquashSmarts, located in North Philadelphia, hosted 28 players representing the nation’s Urban squash programs for a 3 day weekend of intense squash training, exposure to high level play and to infuse a sense of pursuing excellence in squash. NUSEA Director of Squash, Renato Paiva and Assistant Director of Squash, Sat Seshadri led the weekend, with the support of Tim Wyant, NUSEA’s Executive Director and Ryan Thompson, Squash Professional at SquashBusters. The weekend consisted of 4 training sessions, with drills, technical instruction and fitness circuits. A team match play session was also part of the program.

Not only did Jose and Jennifer train very hard but they also had the opportunity to meet and watch professional players play at the US Squash Open. They gained valuable exposure to the highest echelons of the game and how professional players carry themselves on and off the court. Nicol David, women’s world no.1 and 6 time world champion, visited for 3 hours on Saturday afternoon. She watched, interacted and spoke to all the players there as they trained.

Also, US Squash kindly gave Urban Squash 45 minutes for players to play on the all glass court immediately after Ramy Ashour played his match. Eight kids were given this opportunity thanks to their positive attitude and high level of effort during the 2 days of training. At the end of the weekend, 10 players were highlighted by the coaches as excelling and showing the promise of future development. These 10 players have been ear marked to be invited again to another development squad, plus new nominees. Again Jose was included in this bracket! To note, kids with potential and the right attitude were invited to the final meeting: not necessarily the best squash players. Jennifer was ear marked as a “potential” invitee. Her conduct was exemplary.

The weekend was a great success, with plans for future squads. Crucially Jose, Jennifer and Ryan will bring back the message to other SquashBuster participants of the what it takes to play squash excellently!