Liam Rotzoll Graduates from Junior Circuit to Ivy League
After two years of "taking it seriously," Liam Rotzoll grew from an average squash player to US#6 in the National Squash Junior rankings. That quick rise also recently earned the shy yet disciplined-year old a spot on Harvard University's squash team.
But before graduating into the Ivy Leagues, there's a stop at the University of Virginia for the 2019 Squash Junior Championship tournament. That's on March 15th, and Liam hopes to improve what he humbly believes is the weakest part of his game: lack of experience.
"I started playing around age 10... but it was mostly because my mom worked at a gym with courts and we were trying to think of something else to do instead of play tennis," he recalls. It wasn't until Liam was almost 16 years old that he started focusing on the craft and relying on structured coaching to take him to another level.
The coach he found was Squash Revolution's Director and Head Coach, Shahier Razik -- once among the Top 20 best pro players in the world.
"Once Shahier started coaching me I got better and better really fast," says Rotzoll. "I was playing almost every day, but Shahier has good attention to detail and found a lot of ways to fix my technique and improve my strategies as a game goes on."
Shahier's training for Liam began with the focus on technical and footwork aspects. Today the focus is heavily on match play tactics, strategies and mental approach They spend much of the time analyzing Liam's tournament matches and finding ways to improve his game. Training sessions happen multiple times a week.
"We're really proud of him," says Shahier. "He's come a really long way as both a player and a person in a short amount of time. He's got a great story to tell and it will inspire the next generation of squash junior players!"
That story includes learning how to speak English after moving from a different country; tireless dedication from his mother bringing him to lessons; and finding an inspiring community of friends in the junior squash circuit from around the world, including Brazil and the United Kingdom.
"They're really competitive, self-driven people," said Liam, with a hint of a self-knowing grin. "Probably because squash doesn't have the same 'team' element like other sports."
Liam and his mom heard the good news from Harvard's squash coach right after a training session at Squash Revolution.
"All I could think to say was 'Wow. It didn't really sink in at the time! laughs Liam." "But my mom... she was SUPER excited." Pausing with a smile, he added "Yeah. REALLY excited. For me, it felt like all the hard work really paid off."
Cassie HEADS TO STANFORD!
Squash Revolution would like to congratulate Cassandra Ong and her family on this great achievement!
"From the very first lesson I had with Shahier, I was utterly blown away by his keen perception. His five minute assessment of my strengths and technical weaknesses were consistent with everything I knew about my game, and clearly revealed his uncommon expertise in the sport. Attending his camps, I was also very impressed by his ability to prescribe personalized training which benefited everyone regardless of their level.
Shahier has been my favorite coach for many years because of his dedication to make me a better player, freely putting in overtime when I wasn’t satisfied with a particular shot. He was the first coach who made me question how far I could take my game, and gave me the tools to do so. I’m thankful to Shahier for always encouraging me to ask any questions regarding training and college recruitment. Without him and Squash Revolution, I’d never be where I am today. Thank you !"