USA Team Handball announces first West Region Tournament

March 13, 2009, 11:25 a.m. (ET)

West Hills, Ca March 13, 2009 -- USA Team Handball, the national governing body for the Olympic Sport of Team Handball, announced today the location and format for its first West Region Tournament. Teams from all over the Western United States will journey to the event, scheduled to take place Saturday and Sunday, April 18-19, 2009 in the Gilbert Sports and Fitness Center on the campus of California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, Ca. Teams from 12 western states have been invited to participate in a double elimination format to decide the West Region Team Handball Champion.

Team Handball is a sport that is unfamiliar to many Americans but is wildly popular throughout the rest of the world. The sport is easily described as water polo without the water. It is played by teams of seven on seven on an indoor court that is 40x20 meters. Teams pass and dribble a ball slightly smaller than a volleyball in an effort to throw the ball past a goalie into a 3x2 meter net.  The sport is fast, physical and high scoring. It combines elements of basketball, soccer, rugby and even dodge ball. The sport is played by 31 million players worldwide and is the third most popular team sport in the world behind only soccer and basketball.

USA Team Handball, given sanctioning by the USOC less than a year ago, has seen dramatic growth and excitement in the sport. The West Region, which includes AK,HI, OR, WA, CA, AZ, NV,  ID, MT, UT, CO and WY, has seen the number of amateur and college clubs grow from around 10 per year ago to 21 in the past six months. A number of youth programs have also been developed. Clubs from all over these states have been invited to compete in a two day double elimination format tournament to decide who will be the West region Champion.

Brian Finley, USATH West Region Director said, "We are excited about the tournament because a year ago there wasn't really enough participation at the club level to host an event like this and have anything meaningful. With over 20 clubs in the region now and more developing this tournament will have some significance."

Games begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday, April 18 with preliminary round games and will conclude on Sunday, April 19 with quarter final games beginning at 8 a.m. The final game is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Sunday. There is no charge for admission and the public is encouraged to come out and see what Team Handball is all about.

For additional information, contact Finley at