Josh Hafkin - Founder + CEO + Coach
Hi, I'm Josh AND I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS! The skills I learned through a decade of coaching at the Potomac Woods Swim Club and the Fins Swim Academy, I am now bringing to the world of esports. I believe that video games can be a positive influence on kids and that we need to rethink how we introduce and talk to our kids about video games. It is a new world and I hope to help future generations of kids and parents navigate it.
Before The Game Gym, I worked for the best video game publisher in the world, Bethesda Sofworks. Bethesda's lessons and message were the catalysts that inspired me to start The Game Gym. Prior to Bethesda, I led the development of the GEICO Gaming program and assisted in running events for game developers Ubisoft, Square Enix, Warner Brothers Games and others.
I hope to fuse my knowledge of the gaming world with my background in traditional sports. I grew up playing everything, but eventually I gravitated to swimming. I trained and competed thousands of times and my career culminated in qualifying for the 2012 Olympic Trials and earning an American Record with my best friends. While I swam, I also loved coaching and helping others excel in and out of the water.
Maya Kushner - COO + Coach + Tutor
Hi, I'm Maya! I'm an attorney and I have been working in downtown DC for the past four years. I have twelve plus years of tutoring experience, teaching Calculus, Statistics, Accounting, and Economics, among other subjects. I taught myself how to code, and now I have been volunteering as a Python (coding language) instructor for two years and counting. I discovered League of Legends while I was in law school, and it has been my favorite game ever since. Outside of work and gaming, my interests include traveling, reading, baking, and trying new teas. As a League of Legends coach, I would like to instill in my gamers the importance of critical thinking; I will teach them the fundamental mechanics and basic tactics of the game, but will also encourage them to develop and test their own strategies. I think what sets The Game Gym apart is its mission to train young gamers while also teaching them important life skills, and I'm absolutely thrilled to be a part of it!
Josef Bieda - Team Manager + Coach
Hi, I’m Joe! I’ve been playing video games competitively since 2007 starting with Super Smash Bros. Melee for the Nintendo GameCube. The strong community for an older title showed me how much passion and dedication there is in esports. Throughout my 10+ year career in esports, I have competed in various titles at a high level. I coached the UMBC League of Legends team to an undefeated regular season in the Fall of 2016. In addition to my esports career, I also spent over a decade swimming and competed at the D-1 level at UMBC. I want to teach my students that they can be great at any esport of their choice, as long as they put their heart and soul into it. I want to encourage a healthy growth mindset, and a collaborative environment as well.
Hi, I'm Adam! I'm a mechanical engineer with several years of experience in supporting US Navy programs and designing airports. I've been an esports competitor since 2012 when I first discovered that I could play at a high level in Battlefield 3. That game's healthy competitive scene and its players' determination to grind for a $1.6 million tournament turned me into an esports fanatic. Smash has always been one of my favorite series and, upon the announcement of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, I decided that I would dedicate most of my gaming time to competing in Smash. I'm very excited to join the Game Gym and give back to the community I love by applying my skills and knowledge to coaching the next generation of esports competitors. What I love most about the Gym is its focus on improving young gamers' mentality and social skills through healthy competition.
Hi, I’m Michael, I’m currently a high school senior and will be attending the Rochester Institute of Technology to pursue game design in the fall. I’ve been into esports and esports culture since the release of Smash 4. Over the years, I have played Smash Bros 4, Super Smash Brothers Melee, League of Legends, Osu!, and Pokemon at a competitive level. Currently, I focus on League of Legends and Melee as my primary games. I look forward to teaching games as a social experience, a teamwork building tool, and a competitive outlet.
Hi I'm Brandon! I attended Churchill High School, and I am currently attending Northwestern University, pursuing a degree in computer engineering. As a child, I did play many of the “traditional sports” but competitive rock climbing became my passion. I eventually became a member of the US Climbing team and competed at various Youth World climbing championships.
Many of the reasons I love rock climbing also applies to my love of eSports which I have been involved in for the past 8 years and currently represent Northwestern University in League of Legends. This past year, I hit the rank of Challenger (top 200 in North America) in League of Legends and have played with numerous pro players, such as Bjergson, Doublelift, and Impact. I look forward to sharing what I've learned through competitive climbing and playing League of Legends for 8 years.
Ian Beall - Social Media Manager
Hi, I'm Ian! I run social media for the Game Gym and could not be more excited to be a part of the team! I have extensive experience spanning sales & marketing, working with kids, and serving in the Air Force. I'm extremely fortunate to be the social voice of the Game Gym because I enjoy engaging with others and building relationships within the community. I've gamed since I was old enough to hold a controller - thanks to having a great older brother - and was fortunate enough to compete competitively in Call of Duty on a global level with friends made in person and through online competition. Coming from a lifetime of traditional sports and service in the military, I've learned what it takes to work as a team and accomplish specific goals - something I've noticed our wonderful coaches know a thing or two about, as well. I believe in what we're doing here for the young gamers in the DMV area, and what we provide to the competitive scene and online gaming at large.