Team Handball Developing Roots in Denver

Feb. 26, 2013, 2:48 p.m. (ET)

After years of being in the shadows of more prominent sports, team handball is finally carving its own niche in the Denver sports scene.


A fast-paced, high-scoring sport, team handball incorporates everything from dribbling and throwing to jumping and tackling. Still, it is a sport largely unknown in the U.S. This harsh truth was highlighted by a 2009 NY Times article titled, "Team Handball Has it All, Except an American Interest."


USA Team Handball refused to give up on its attempt to change the fact. When Attita Agoston hosted USATH Futures, a program used to generate high school involvement in team handball, he stumbled upon what just may be the sport's savior.


Instead of competing against other sports for participation, why not pair up with them?


"Denver has nationally recognized, top-level soccer clubs," Agoston said. "These kids need a cross-training opportunity during the Colorado winter."


Colorado winters make training for outdoor sports such as soccer difficult. In fact, communities in the Denver area released a notice forbidding recreational use of athletic fields in attempt to prevent the fields from being destroyed.


The reality was a growing need for a cross-training sport that still implemented much of the same fundamentals as soccer. In preliminary discussions with soccer coaches, Agoston discovered that these soccer clubs had already been exposed to team handball during team trips to Europe.


The rest, as Agoston and Denver Team Handball hope to say, will be history. 


Since January, several soccer clubs have been encouraging their players to join Denver Team Handball. A nationally registered club in conduction with USA Team Handball, Denver Team Handball is part of the Mountain Sub-Region and West Region of USA Team Handball's regional structure. 


Historically, coaches shun their athletes from participating in other sports. And while team handball provides less injury risks, the elements of the game are largely similar to soccer.


"As Director of Coaching for Goalkeepers, I'm always looking for new, exciting ways to challenge our goalkeepers during development," Michael Gabb of Rush Soccer Club explained. "During winter, the challenges increase since we are not working on our skills daily or playing game to keep their minds sharp to tactics."


In its first year, Denver Team Handball intends to continue participation when soccer season resumes. There have been initial discussions to generate summer tournaments and perhaps even short training camps, should schedules not conflict. 


Agoston recognizes that soccer is the primary sport for many of his participants, however he is also quick to note that handball is an addicting sport. Inevitably, Agoston understands that while some may not find handball interesting, it is highly possible that others may become even more interested in handball.


Agoston's presence in USA Team Handball is nothing short of outstanding. The co-founder, member of the Board of Directors, and Head Coach of the Denver Team Handball club, Agoston also serves as an assistant coach of the U20 Boy's USA National Team. In 2010, Agoston became the Volunteer Coach of the Year as the only coach in USATH to coach both men's and women's teams to medals at the 2010 Nationals. Moreover in 2012, Agoston was voted as the Developmental Co-Coach of the Year. 


While Denver Team Handball continues to see growing numbers each practice and tryout, anyone is still welcome to join. For those interested in learning more, please contact Attila Agoston at attila@usateamhandball.org or call 720-984-5991.



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