I'm glad I didn't give up on sports. Now I'm changing universities to have a better squash program.

Petr Nohel

I started playing squash as a child, but when I was fourteen or fifteen years old, I thought about quitting because the sport didn't interest me anymore. But my dad convinced me to stick with it for a while. Luckily, I listened to him and stayed with squash. When I started traveling with the representation, it started to interest me again.

When I was seventeen, I learned that going to university in America through squash was possible, which was another motivation for me.

I went to a high school in Příbram on an eight-year gymnasium, but I must admit I wasn't a good student. I focused on everything around me, just not school. In the end, two years before graduation, I had an individual study program because I sometimes had training three times a day.

However, I was only at school once a month to take a test, which didn't please one of the teachers, so I ended up repeating the year. During that year, I moved up in the squash rankings to become one of the top fifteen European players in my age category. So, it turned out to be a good thing in the end.

When I first told my dad that I wanted to study abroad, he didn't like the idea, but after the 2019 World Championship, I started communicating with coaches from the universities I later visited when I flew to the US Open. When I finally arranged everything myself, my family supported me.

Universities have coaches and scouts who follow players all over the world. Of course, elite schools can follow tournaments all year round and only choose the best. For me, it was that the coaches saw me and also saw my interest in leaving.

I enrolled at Franklin & Marshall College, where I've been studying sociology and history for a year and a half. I will finish my second year here and transfer to the University of Virginia, which is a much larger school with a better squash program. They reached out to me because they saw how I was able to play against older opponents because, due to the coronavirus pandemic, many players got an extra year. But mostly, they already knew that I was verified.

Furthermore, they saw that I was able to handle studying at an academically demanding university without any problems, which also helped me. It's great that they recognize the credits I earned in the past. I'm grateful for the opportunity to study and play at a high level.

The transfers between universities are made mainly by athletes who play basketball or American football and don't play too much, so they look for a university where they can play. But even for individual athletes, it's not that rare. I simply had the opportunity to go to a school with a better sports program, so I took advantage of it.

The difference will also be that at the University of Virginia, I will be able to prepare with coaches throughout the school year, while at Franklin & Marshall College, we prepared with coaches only during the season from September to March and then prepared on our own. I am a person who prefers to have prepared and scheduled training.

Anyway, after I graduate, I would like to try to make it in professional Squash and would like to earn extra money in the USA as a squash coach. I am still also considering studying a continuing program in the USA.

I really like American culture due to sports such as basketball and American football. Knowledge of these sports helped me a lot in the beginning because I had topics that helped me start conversations. Thanks to this, I had no problem fitting in.

Additionally, I am a big fan of the Philadelphia Eagles. So far, I have been to the stadium four times and it was a really big experience.