Team Handball Preview
It has been eight years since USA Team Handball participated at a Pan American Games, and the men’s and women’s teams are looking to make a splash at the 2019 Games in Lima, Peru. 

USA Team Handball has participated at several major championships around the world in 2019, marking a year of change, growth and development for its national teams. Aside from qualifying for the Pan American Games, the men’s and women’s national teams will also compete at the 2019 IHF Super Globe World Championships in Dammam, Saudi Arabia.

After failing to qualify for the 2015 Pan American Games, the U.S. women’s team traveled across the globe to face the best competition in team handball. Their specific preparation leading into Lima included three weeks of competition against clubs from France, Belgium and Germany.

The player to watch on Team USA is center back Jence Rhoads, former Vanderbilt University basketball player, who began playing team handball after two seasons of professional basketball in Europe. This year she competed for the Mecalia Atletico Guardes team from A Guarda, Spain, one of the top teams in the European Handball Federation.

Eight countries will participate in women’s team handball in the Pan American Games. Team USA will compete in Group B with Argentina, Dominican Republic and Peru, while Group A is com-posed of Brazil, Cuba, Puerto Rico and Canada.

The U.S. men’s team is also ready to excel in Lima. 

“Our athletes were tired of the old saying, ‘Play Handball, See The World,’” said Team USA as-sistant coach Mark Ortega. “The new mindset of our men’s national team is, ‘Play Handball, Shock the World!’” 

The men’s national team has competed in 40 international games throughout the past year, includ-ing matches in the Dominican Republic, Georgia, Germany, Luxembourg, Israel, Puerto Rico and Switzerland.

Players to watch on the U.S men’s team include longtime team member Gary “Hangtime” Hines. An athletic left back on the HSC Bad Neustadt team from Salz, Germany, he has appeared on the television show “American Ninja Warrior” and was featured on the Olympic Channel. U.S. goalie Rene Ingram is also a player to watch, as he looks to build upon the momentum from his time competing at the 2019 IHF Men’s World Junior Championship.

Eight countries will participate in men’s team handball in Lima. Team USA will be in Group A with Argentina, Chile, and Cuba, while Group B consists of Brazil, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Peru.

The winners of the men’s and women’s Pan American Games tournaments will secure spots at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.