Junior Development Campaign Launches Nationwide: SQUASH = OPPORTUNITY

By Kevin Klipstein, CEO, U.S. SQUASH

Sports metaphors are commonly used as metaphors for life, school or work: “It’s going to be a sprint to the finish,” “It’s early in the game,” “Third and long,” “Step up to the plate,” “Ace that test,” you get the point. In our experience, squash is a metaphor for opportunity.

CIMG3391The clearest example of this can be seen at any of the nearly dozen urban squash programs around the country. I recently attended the StreetSquash Center opening in Harlem. During the ceremony, at which then-NY State Senator Hillary Clinton spoke, a student from the program’s first year (a decade ago) also addressed the hundreds of supporters. The program graduate talked eloquently about the value of his experience in the program, and with squash. He recounted his extensive travel, the assistance he received in increasing his grade point average, and the fact that he will soon graduate from the University of Buffalo, achieving a goal he didn’t even have a decade ago. Though many involved in urban squash are quick to point out that squash is not the focus, it is not a stretch to draw a direct correlation between playing squash and what is learned by competing in the sport, with who the participants become, and the opportunities available to them.

In fact, everywhere I go I hear some variant of the same refrain, “I wouldn’t be who [or I wouldn’t be where] I am today without squash.” Our mission at U.S. SQUASH is to provide these opportunities to as many people as possible, whether they are middle and high school teams, collegiate players, adults, players on our national team, or kids in urban programs in underserved areas. Our programs reach out to new areas, and introduce new kids to the sport. The programs also enrich the playing experience for kids already playing, helping them get the most out of the game.

In fact, everywhere I go I hear some variant of the same refrain, “I wouldn’t be who [or I wouldn’t be where] I am today without squash”


  • Hosts major junior squash tournaments at the best colleges in the country including Harvard, Yale, Trinity and Penn, and sanctions nearly 100 others
  • Supports the 77 teams of the New England Interscholastic Squash Association, as well as several other high school leagues country-wide, providing league administration and integration with the U.S. rankings
  • Seeds new middle and high school squash programs through its Junior Development Endowment Fund Grant Program
  • Provides administrative support to the over 100 teams of the College Squash Association (CSA), and has a shared 5 year goal with the CSA of adding 10 new women’s varsity squash programs across the country
  • Funds all junior U.S. SQUASH Team coaching, travel and competition expenses
  • Annually offers over $50,000 in financial grants and in-kind services to urban and community squash programs across the country

We have had great success with our programs recently: The U.S. High School Championships is now the largest squash tournament in the world, junior squash participation is up 20-30% annually, our membership is at an all time high, and we are more focused on increasing the quality of our events and communications than ever before.


These recent advances have been possible through the generous support of many donors, volunteers and the hard work of a few staff members. We’re really just getting started though. Our biggest challenge is that we’re small, very small. To put it in perspective, we do the same as the USTA, but with a staff 1/50th the size.

Most people I speak with about this have some major misconceptions about U.S. SQUASH and the depth of our resources. I’d like to clear some of these up:

  • We have five full-time staff members (not 105)
  • Our 2008-2009 budgeted revenue is $1.83M, our expenses are $2.24M
  • Membership makes up only 24% of what we need to cover costs.
  • Gross event-related revenues are budgeted to be $946K, and our projected net income is $168K. This figure turns to a negative $180K when administration and overhead are factored in.
  • Tournament sanctioning fees make up only 7% or our needs
  • Sponsorship is projected to be another 7%.

CIMG2865We have aggressive goals, solid plans, and real traction in increasing membership and participation to drive more revenue. Increasing revenue earned, and operating break-even operationally will allow us to accelerate growth. These plans are detailed in our 3-Year Strategic Plan on our website.

However, the bottom line of all of this is until we reach this point, the Association still needs to raise nearly 20% of its expenses each year, which for this season is $410K. While historically our endowments have provided up to 5% of our needs, this year and for the near term, this cash will not be available. Finally, unlike just about every other sport in the U.S., and every other Squash Association in the world (which receive the majority of their funding from their governments), we receive no direct government support. Our U.S. Olympic Committee support makes up less than 1% of our needs.

“…we do the same as the USTA, but with a staff 1/50th the size”


What we want to do is provide more opportunities:

  • For middle & high school programs to start—providing Junior Development Grants
  • For juniors to play in college—adding programs at schools such as Columbia, Michigan, Duke, UNC, and Georgetown
  • For players to represent the USA—fielding our national teams for World Championships, the Ontario-American Junior Challenge, and squads for elite junior players on a regional basis

We also want the opportunity to build on the strong foundation we now have in the office—improve our communications, our events, and to host more events at great facilities and schools.

2008 Ontario-American Challenge participantsTo do this, we need to hire more people, continue to invest in our technology, and provide more grants to seed new high school and college programs. We need the support of the squash community to drive growth and opportunity for the sport collectively. Squash and U.S. SQUASH are on a great path, we’ve created the foundation necessary to increase opportunities across the board. Now we need your help to get the sport, and the opportunities that come with it, into the “big leagues,” metaphorically speaking, that is.


Gifts to the Junior Development Campaign support all programs related to junior development and are fully tax-deductible. Each recognition level offers a variety of benefits. To make a gift or for information, visit www.ussquash.com/jdc, email development@ussquash.com, or call 212.268.4090 x16.

Gifts to the Annual Fund support Association operations and are fully tax-deductible. Each recognition level offers a variety of benefits. To make a gift or for information, visit www.ussquash.com/annualfund, email development@ussquash.com, or call 212.268.4090 x16.