Fram Gommendy Reports
Once in a while, you meet an extremely gifted young man. And sometimes, thanks to hard work and dedication, he gets the reward of his labour. Karim is one of them.
My name is Karim Ibrahim and I’m the new Director of Junior National Teams for Team USA.
I come from Cairo, Egypt and from the infamous Wadi Degla Club. I grew up with my young brother, Youssef, in a small middle-class family where the emphasis was always on family, respect, and hard work. My mom and dad taught us and enriched us with priceless values such as selflessness, love, contentment, and treating others how we would like to be treated.
My Mum, Dina El Dessouki, taught us the balance between fun, laughter and being aware of our surroundings and, no matter what’s going on in our lives, that we always be happy and content. My dad, Ebrahim Abdalla, thanks to his military background, taught us the discipline and commitment that have carried me here in the States for ten years.
I was never the best Junior player in Egypt; I constantly fluctuated between #2 and #5 in the rankings. My greatest achievements came when I won the U.S Junior Open in 2013 U17 and my brother won the U15 division.
I was presented with the opportunity to move to America at the age of 17 to attend a boarding high school, St George’s in the beautiful state of Rhode Island and afterwards, I was fortunate to participate in St Lawrence University.
I was lucky to be able to have met amazing teammates and friends in both places and that my horizons were expanded. My passion for coaching started in the summer of 2016, right after high school graduation. I was fortunate enough to coach throughout the summer breaks during university at various clubs.
My really breakthrough in coaching came during Covid When Karim Darwish, my mentor and previous coach and idol, reached out to me for a job at my boyhood club, Wadi Degla. I was honoured that he thought of me, but at the same time let me lead and coach some of the top U15, U17, U19 girls and boys.
Not only that, he trusted me with Leading the organization of the 2020 – 2021 CIB PSA World Tour finals at the Mall of Arabia.
When I decided to move back to States, it was for the sole reason of attending my younger brother’s graduation at Princeton University. I was a member of the class of 2020 who did not have a graduation and I did not want him to go through the same sadness of not celebrating 4 years of hard work and education.
At the time, renewing my US Visa at the Embassy in Cairo was a such nightmare, and there was no way I would have gotten my visa in time to attend his graduation. Therefore, I started to look for a job close by, where I eventually landed a Job at the Arlen Specter US Squash Center two months before Youssef’s graduation and only an hour’s commute from NJ.
I was immediately in awe and completely mesmerised by the vastness and incredible work US Squash has put in to make America one of the squash powerhouses in the world.
After three months of being an assistant to the Head Squash Pro there, I moved into that role after he left. I knew then I landed at the right place at the right time.
After a year of running the membership model at the Specter Center, I find myself leading the American Junior national team, which is such a huge honour. I’m super excited and humbled to start working with the entire junior squash community: players, parents and coaches to ensure the development of the junior player and how can we earn more gold medals and podium sports in international events.
My first event was a massive success with my fellow coaches, where we beat the Canadians in the 2023 Battle of the Border. Next up is the 2023 Pan Am Juniors in Argentina and the 2024 British Junior Open
I cannot express enough gratitude to Kevin Klipstein and Kim Clearkin for their belief in me and my parents and my brother for all their support and Karim Darwish for all his mentorship throughout the years.