Meet USQ’s 2020-21 season regional coordinator team.
Update 11/10/20: Alex Stewart has been onboarded as a Southwest Regional Coordinator this month. Her details have been added below.
US Quidditch regional coordinators act as representatives for and liaisons to their regions’ teams and individual members. We are so excited to have 14 regional coordinators on our team this season whom we are highlighting in this article. If you or your team has any questions throughout the season, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your regional coordinator! If you have interest in joining USQ as a regional coordinator, check out our volunteer page to learn more.
Matthew Dwyer began playing quidditch in 2011 at Miami University. After graduating, he played for a variety of club teams, and currently captains the Ohio Apollos. During his time in the sport, Dwyer has held multiple volunteer roles, including event coordinator, tournament director, referee, and state representative. Apart from quidditch, Dwyer works as a software developer. He enjoys reading, playing and designing games, and hiking.
Katrina Bynum is an eight year veteran of the sport, having played for both University of Maryland and Philadelphia Freedom in past seasons before joining her current team, Penn State, where she is working on her undergraduate degrees in biobehavioral health and microbiology. She is originally from Philadelphia, PA and is an ardent supporter of all Philly professional sports teams, especially the Eagles (Go Birds!) and the Union. She has been part of the regional coordinator team for the past few months after spending the past five seasons serving on the event volunteers team, which works to recruit and train on-site volunteers for USQ's regional and national championships.
Grace Weidemann previously served as South regional coordinator from 2017 to 2020, and an events volunteer coordinator from 2016-2019. She started playing quidditch in 2014 as a freshman at the College of Charleston. At CofC she studied History, Religious Studies, and Women & Gender Studies. When she graduated in 2018, Weidemann joined Southern Storm and played with them during her year off between school. In 2019, she was accepted into UNC-Chapel Hill for a master’s program in Global Studies, specifically studying LGBTQ activism in Poland. Weidemann currently lives in Durham, NC with her two cats, Gus and Peri, and her fiancé Dylan. She loves her new team at UNC and is so excited to be officially part of the Mid-Atlantic!
Damon Penner is a native of Newton, Kansas and is currently enrolled at Wichita State University majoring in history. After graduation he plans to obtain his PhD in history with a focus on military history research. He has played quidditch for three years and served as president of the Wichita State Quidditch Club (aka Shocker Quidditch) for the past two years. He also served as the GM of MLQ's Kansas City Stampede this past summer. He’s enjoyed the many friends made over the years in the quidditch community and that the sport has helped him stay in shape throughout college. In his spare time he volunteers for a number of Kansas based museums, enjoys watching movies, reading books, and playing video games. Getting to know new people is one of Penner’s favorite things - so say hello if you see him!
Dany Yaacoub has played quidditch since the 2017-2018 season in the Midwest region. He played beater at the University of Illinois and continued to play for Chicago United soon after. For a majority of his time in the quidditch community, he has been heavily involved in leadership for the teams he has been on; most recently spending the 2019-2020 season as Chicago United's captain. This past season, Yaacoub led his team to earn their first ever bid to US Quidditch Cup. He continues to have goals not only to lead himself and his team to success, but to assist the teams in his region to reach their maximum potential as well.
Christian Barnes started playing quidditch during pick-up matches in New York City’s Central Park in 2013. He joined the Macaulay Marauders under the leadership of Shenuque Tissera and Jenna Jankowski, and continued on to lead the Marauders as captain (2015-2017) and coach 2017 onward. In 2019, Barnes started the New York Nocturns with Tyler Walker and Natasha Sydor to expand club quidditch in the NYC area. Since he joined as a regional coordinator in 2017, Barnes has prioritized improvement in frequent team-to-USQ contact. Aside from being an RC, Barnes volunteers for the USQ’s referee and snitch team. With Major League Quidditch, Barnes continues his volunteering in as a DEI lead strategist, referee manager, and manager of the New York Titans. In his personal life, Barnes works for the NYC Department of Education, helping families with high school admissions. With the free time he has left, he enjoys anime, comics, and the occasional Netflix binge.
Naresh Edala has played quidditch since the 2016-17 season, starting as a beater during his freshman year at Rutgers University before an injury forced him into the quaffle game. Edala is most proud of his work as Rutgers’s president, rebuilding the team into a competitive program after a brief forced separation from the college division. Returning from suspension with a 1-15 record, the Rutgers team shocked many with their level of play and managed to go 14-11 in the 2019-20 season. Qualifying for USQ Cup 13 was an amazing hurdle to cross his senior year after watching the team be shut down by the school his freshman year, and his love for the sport has only increased.
Kym Couch began her involvement in quidditch as a founding member of the Boise State Abraxans in 2012 and has continued on as a player, referee, volunteer, and IQA board member.
Max Conoley quickly fell in love with quidditch in 2019, making US Quidditch Cup 12 his first ever tournament. In the past year, he has donned the stripes, served as an assistant coach for his team, and developed a plethora of friendships within his region. He is currently entering his final year as a student and was recently elected President of the FGCU quidditch team. He is very excited to bring his ideas to the table in order to help the South region grow, as he sees major potential among the states. Other interests include film, improv, golf, and dad jokes.
Jess Daly is originally from New England, and graduated from the University of Miami in 2018 with dual degrees in biology and marine science. She is now completing her M.S. in marine biology at the College of Charleston. This will be her seventh season playing quidditch, having spent her college career with Miami and club career with Terminus Atlanta and The Warriors. She also helped to coach the Carolina Gamecocks squad this past season. Outside of quidditch, she is an avid runner and a huge Patriots fan. Jess looks forward to helping to serve her region and USQ as a whole.
TJ Goaley is going on his eighth year playing quidditch. Graduating from Sam Houston State University (Eat 'em up Kats), while playing his four years there he served his last three as captain. After graduating he played for Lonestar Quidditch Club for one year before transferring to Texas Hill Country Heat (HEEEEE). Goaley has also competed in every MLQ season since it came to the South and has played for the League City Legends (one year), Austin Outlaws (two years), and San Antonio Soldados (two years). He has acquired two USQ regional championship titles, two USQ national runner-up medals, and two MLQ championships. Outside of quidditch he is a teacher and coach in Austin (Manor) TX. He has coached basketball, football, cross country, track, and field and is also an active competitive fencer.
David Keim is originally from Eddy, TX and now lives in San Antonio with his wife, Megan, and their dog, Gill. He is an archaeologist in his day job and is currently pursuing his masters degree through the University of Leicester. Over the past six years he has played quidditch for The University of Texas at San Antonio and the Houston Cosmos. He is truly looking forward to being part of the Southwest region’s leadership team and hopes that the season will be one for the ages!
Alex Stewart started playing quidditch in the spring semester of her freshman year at Texas A&M. More specifically, she played that year on the The Silver Phoenix and became completely obsessed with the game. She then played for Texas A&M for four years serving in various officer roles, including president and assistant coach, and was lucky enough to have the chance to coach The Silver Phoenix the year after she graduated. Stewart is looking forward to supporting this community and helping this sport grow in hopes that other people can have the same experience she did.
Alexia Barnes started playing quidditch in 2011 at the University of South Florida, where she held the roles of player and captain. After moving to California, she joined the Long Beach Funky Quaffles, serving as a player and team manager. She spent four years with the team. The past two seasons Barnes has organized and served as tournament director for several events throughout Southern California. Barnes is most proud of her involvement with the west region’s female and gender non confirming players group, helping to organize and host a fantasy tournament in Spring 2019. She has a master’s degree in applied behavior analysis from USF and spends her non-quidditch time playing beach soccer, watching college football, and spoiling her dog.
In 2011, Shirley Lu joined her first quidditch team at Wellesley College and has been hooked on the sport ever since. After graduating with a Bachelor’s in Computer Science and Mathematics, she moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to pursue her career in tech as a software engineer. While living in California, she played for and captained or managed four local teams — the Silicon Valley Skrewts, San Francisco Argonauts (MLQ), Bay Area Breakers, and San Francisco Fog (WCQ). Over the past nine years, Lu has been involved with quidditch in a variety of roles — organizing the first couple iterations of Northeast regionals, serving on the World Cup organizing team, tournament director, US Quidditch Cup photographer, and now West regional coordinator. Outside of quidditch, she fosters kittens, does portrait and event photography, enjoys rock climbing, and plays segway polo.