The Women in US Squash

This International Women’s Day, US Squash celebrates the influential and passionate women driving the organisation and sport forward.

Linda Elriani

Senior Director of Professional Development and Programming
Linda joined the US Squash Team in August 2022 as the Senior Director of Professional Development and Programming. The former world No. 3 grew up playing squash in England and represented her country over 100 times and she captained the English national team when they won the World Team Championships in 2000. Linda is passionate about coaching and she moved to the U.S. with her husband, fellow squash pro, Laurent Elriani, in 2006. Linda played a vital role in professionalizing coaching development efforts for US Squash, including the Coach Pass system and expansion of coaching certification courses.

Can you tell us about your journey in sports?
I have always loved all sports from a very young age, watching and participating. I remember as a little girl loving to watch the Olympics and always feeling a little emotional when the Olympic champion would be on the podium receiving their hard-earned gold medal! I personally really enjoyed athletics (particularly 800m), swimming, netball, field hockey and obviously squash. Once I started playing squash, it took priority over other sports quickly and I wanted to play tournaments and compete. I was so happy when I first got to represent my country (England) at 13 years old and this really fueled my desire to keep pushing to be the best I could be. Along my squash (and life) journey I have been very lucky to have supportive, positive, and encouraging parents, which I believe has helped immensely towards having the right attitude in the ups and downs of life.

How did you first get involved with squash?
I started playing squash when I was 9 years old because my parents played for fun at our local squash club. After an initial hesitance, I tried squash, absolutely loved it, and became completely hooked. Squash has been a gigantic part of my life and has paved and influenced my decisions ever since for where I live, who my friends are and who I fell in love with. I met my husband, Laurent, through both of us being squash professionals and now our son plays and loves it too. Laurent and I have been married 20 years in June!

How long have you been with US Squash?
I started working with US Squash in August 2022 and I am thoroughly enjoying it on many levels. I have worn many hats in squash, from being a junior player, to being a professional player for 16 years and then coaching and running a large squash program in Brooklyn NY for 15 years, and now also a parent of a serious player. It’s been great to be involved in squash from another brand-new perspective. Being able to support and influence future initiatives and decisions on a larger scale, to a national and even international audience is very exciting and fulfilling. I feel I can use my years of experience and expertise in squash and put them back into the game I love.

What advice would you give to young girls aspiring to pursue a career in sports?
I say, go for it girls! I love to see our younger generation of girls competing hard. They are entering into a much healthier sports arena nowadays with parity in prize money and many more opportunities for female athletes in all sports. If anyone has the desire to compete professionally in a sport, I believe they should go for it and follow their dreams. While it may sound like a cliché to say that, but you only live once, and you want to be able to look back at your life as you get older and say that you worked hard and tried your best to achieve the goals you set for yourself. Now squash is in the Olympics, there are even larger stages to compete on and so exciting for our future squash players. While I would obviously love to see more money in professional squash for the much deserving players, what is awesome is that squash is such a small supportive world (for the most part), and most people are only 1 person away from another person you know!

What is your favorite squash memory?
Some of my favorite memories in squash have been when I represented England. I got over 100 caps for England over the years, in the Commonwealth Games, European Team Championships and World Team Championships. Being the captain of the England team that won the World Team Championships in 2000 was incredible. Squash is mostly an individual sport so to have some chances to play on a team with your friends and teammates was always so fun and gave us much pride to be representing our country. I played professionally for 16 years so as you can imagine, I have many wonderful memories to reflect on, including becoming #1 in England and #3 in the world. There were also hard times too of course, but that is part of sport, and they are what make you resilient and appreciate the good times and results when they come around.

What do you envision for the future of women in sports, and what role do you hope to play in that future?
I would love to see more women of all levels and ages happily participating in all sports, especially squash. I would love to see more women coaching squash and leaving college squash to go pro. I hope that through the awareness and initiatives we are creating at US Squash, along with the coaching courses, modules, and resources, that I work on, we can get more women and girls involved and participating in squash. Squash is a lifelong sport and gives participants an automatic community of like-minded people. What can be better than that! Go out there and give squash a try everyone!


International Women’s Day: The Women of US Squash