US SQUASH is pleased to announce the launch of the Elite Athlete Program (EAP), effective as of October 1st 2013. With the introduction of the EAP initiative, US Squash is building on what has been known as the TOPS (the “top six”) program which supported the top 3 men and women professionals, increasing its financial commitment to U.S. elite athletes.
The concept behind the EAP is that players are supported at an adequate level to allow them to train and compete professionally on a full time basis. The players will receive meaningful support and an effective training environment which best allows players to succeed in both training and competition.
As a part of the EAP, eligible participants will receive varied levels of direct financial compensation, other reimbursement for training and competition related expenses as well as performance bonuses. The level of support each player receives will directly correlate to his or her age and ranking. The target ranking to receive support increasing as the player ages.
The EAP will provide a realistic opportunity for some of the US’s best college and junior players to pursue squash as a professional career. The program will have only a few eligible participants initially, however with the requirements clear, and more players aspiring to qualify, the program could potentially scale up to and accommodate up to 16 players which would amount to nearly $1 million in direct athlete support annually.
In announcing the program CEO Kevin Klipstein commented, “We wanted to send a clear message to the community and the sports world that our commitment to our national teams and elite athlete development programs is unconditional and will continue to increase. Our goal is to have US athletes on the podium in international competition, regardless of whether it is the World Championships, Pan American Games, or even the Olympic Games.
“The recent growth of the game and the success of our programs overall allows us to invest more heavily in elite athlete development. Previously an important program among an array of priorities, we are now able to more adequately support all forms of development, ranging from regional junior training squads to our stable of top performing professionals and aspiring professionals, as well as everyone in between.”
Head National Coach Paul Assaiante added, “I am so excited that we are reaching a place in the history of US Squash where we can lend a higher level of support to our elite players. This can be a dramatic step in helping the US National Teams to remain consistently competitive on the world stage.”