GOTHENBURG, Sweden -- USA Team Handball (USATH) held their first practice today at the Partille Cup Solidarity Camp in preparation for the 2015 Partille Cup.
Team USA was selected by the Partille Cup organization to participate in the Solidarity Camp, which precedes the Partille Cup, the largest annual international youth handball festival. This year, USATH sent one Junior (21 and younger) Men's team and one Boy's (14 and younger) team to the camp to train with six other "developing" handball countries--Peru, Singapore, Scotland, China, Zimbabwe, and Iraq.
The camp takes place the weekend before the Partille Cup. During the camp, the teams will receive training from Swedish coaches and play friendly matches against one another. Following the camp, the teams will join over 1,000 other young handball teams from 43 different nations in the Partille Cup.
In 2013, the U.S. Junior Women's National Team enjoyed great success in the Partille Cup, losing in the semi-finals to the eventual champions, Önnereds HK of Gothenburg. The Junior Men did not have similar success in the tournament, as they finished in the lower half of their group.
However, after enjoying success in the 2014 IHF Trophy Cup (earning the silver medal) with only one day of practice, the Junior Men are hoping that three days of intense training and scrimmages in the Solidarity Camp, along with their chemistry and continuity (many players from the IHF Trophy Cup team are returning), will lead to a favorable finish in the 2015 edition of the Partille Cup.
USATH is preparing for the future by sending a U14 team to the Solidarity Camp and Partille Cup along with the Junior Men. Coach Craig Rot's efforts to identify, evaluate, and develop young handball talent in the U.S. has been invaluable to USATH, and the young handball players on the U14 team will benefit greatly from the training from the Swedish coaches and organized international competition.
The Partille Cup begins on Monday, June 29, and match play begins on Tuesday, June 30. The Junior Men will begin the tournament with an 8:30 am local time match against Tyresö Handboll (Sweden) and the Boys' first match will be against HK Aranäs (Sweden) at the same time.
Fans of Team USA are encouraged to like USA Team Handball on Facebook, where Coach Craig Rot will post periodic updates from Sweden. Partille Cup has also released an app for Apple and Android devices from which users can access schedules, scores, and up-to-date standings of the tournament (search for "USA Team Handball" under "Boys 14" and "Boys 21" from the Game Schedule section of the app).
Information about the 2015 Partille Cup is available at PartilleCup.com.
Updated July 1, 2015 by Maurice Godwin