The Official Unofficial 2014 Club Nationals Team Preview PORTLAND SASQUATCH
The Official Unofficial 2014 Club National Championships Team Preview:
The PORTLAND SASQUATCH Team Handball Club
By Maurice Godwin
We’re less than a month away from the 2014 Club Nationals Championships in Reno, NV, and if you don’t believe the legend of the Sasquatch, you’re in for a rude awakening this May.
The Portland Sasquatch Team Handball Club was founded in 2004. Or 2009. Maybe. They call themselves the Sasquatch, so uncertainty is not surprising. Regardless, the club exists in 2014, and you can count on a Sasquatch sighting in Reno in a few weeks!
Led by player-coach Brad Dow—who has experience with the US National Team and played in international matches in Canada and Mexico—the Portland club will be making their Nationals debut this year.
Now this is a good-looking T-shirt. And apparently, Sasquatch has great form!
Although they haven’t participated in the National Championship tournament before, individually, the Sasquatch aren't strangers to competition. Along with Coach Dow’s National Team and international handball experience, many other players of the Portland club have played overseas. Legend has it that Sasquatch club member Khaled Alqhatani played for the Kuwait Junior National Team. And Jaan Vanderstraeten, another Sasquatch member, played wing for Don Bosco Gent (Belgium) in 2012 before playing with the DC Diplomats and DC Ambassadors in 2013.
As a team, Portland regularly competes in local matches and scrimmages against nearby colleges and clubs. However, as such a young club and with so few handball tournaments nearby, they rarely have a chance to compete in USATH sanctioned events. So the Sasquatch took it upon themselves to host their own tournament, The Cascadian Tournament, this past March. They are coming off of a 1-1 finish at the Cascadian, in which they won their first ever official tournament match as a team!
Sasquatch player, Greg Inahara, gets airborne at the 1st ever Cascadian Tournament this March
Here’s a bit more about some of the members of the Portland Team Handball Club:
Coach Dow, along with his experience as a US National Team athlete, played handball at the University of Southern California and with the San Francisco CalHeat club. He also played on All-Star handball teams in National Sports Festivals. (No big deal.) After taking some years off to focus on the family and coach his children’s soccer teams, he’s returned to the handball court to lead the Sasquatch to the Promised Land. You’ll see him leading from the sidelines or running the show at center back for Portland in a few weeks.
You’ll also see a man by the name of Jerad Klingsporn manning the pivot (or any other position he’s needed) for Portland at Club Nationals. He’s been playing handball since 2005, but he’s no stranger to sport, in general. As a youngster Jerad started out playing hockey, but as an adult he’s branched out into lacrosse, hurling, Australian Rules football, and shinty.
That’s right. Shinty. Be impressed.
Klingsporn has been with the Sasquatch through its periods of inactivity and hiatus. Funny story: After three years without playing handball with the Sasquatch, he tore his meniscus halfway through the team’s first practice after reforming. Actually, that’s not so funny. Jerad had to sit out another three months! But now, healthy and hungry for wins, Jerad will be in the circle for the Sasquatch during Nationals.
Last but not least, the blur running up and down the court for Portland during Club Nationals will be Ebiye “E.J.” Udo-Udoma. A gifted athlete, E.J. lettered in track, soccer, baseball, and basketball before picking up handball at Oregon State University. After learning the game and honing his skills with the Sasquatch, E.J., in January, took his talents to South Auburn to join the USATH Residency Program at Auburn University.
When he’s not officiating soccer games, posing for the camera as a sports model, or waxing poetic on Facebook, E.J. can be found taking extra practice shots in the Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum and fine-tuning his game. And he's got good reason to get those extra reps. After re-joining the Sasquatch for Club Nationals, the next stage Udo-Udoma will be on is the Pan-American Championships stage in Uruguay this June! (Congrats, E.J.!)
Look for the young Portland Sasquatch Team Handball Club to make some noise at Club Nationals next month. And if you’re in the Portland, Oregon area and would like to join the Sasquatch, reach out to them at firstname.lastname@example.org, visit them on Facebook, or check out their website: http://teamhandballportland.webs.com.
Bonus: Here’s a look at E.J. showing off his basketball handling skills in a Youtube video a while back.
Special thanks to Brad Dow, Jerad Klingsporn, and Jaan Vanderstraeten of the Portland Sasquatch for the information to compose this article.