Julio Sainz, A USA Team Handball Multipurpose Star

Dec. 18, 2017, 12 p.m. (ET)

As USA Team Handball (USATH) Coach Julio Sainz packs his gear for the latest journey in support of the sport he loves, he ponders the challenges of competition in another faraway land.  This time it’s France, as he once again joins the coaching staff of the USA Women’s National Team (WNT). 

Julio loves the sport and seems to appreciate how important it is to serve in any capacity requested and willingly does so.  USATH’s High Performance Director David Gascon refers to Julio as, “A key member of the coaching staff and of our organization.”  “I have high expectations for Julio and he never disappoints me,” says Gascon, acknowledging the many missions to which Sainz has been assigned.

Sainz hails from Cuba where he was not only born and raised, but expected by the government to be a medical doctor.  Sainz was able to immigrate to the United States with his family and is grateful that he is now an American.  Gascon, who picked Sainz to serve as the Head Coach of the WNT for a competition in Cuba in 2010, remembers spending quality time with Sainz and former USATH Technical Director, Mariusz Wartalowicz. 

Wartalowicz was born and raised in Poland under the ironfisted rule of the communist government as directed by the Soviet Union, Sainz lived a similar experience under the Castro regime.  “When we spoke of what it meant to be living in the United States, both would literally have tears in their eyes as they compared their prior existence with the blessings they now enjoy as Americans,” recalls Gascon, “They both know who we are as a country, versus what the communist/socialist systems impose of their people.”

Gascon further recalled that back in 2012 when he was serving as the General Manager of USA Team Handball.  He talked Chairman of the Board, Jeff Utz, into traveling to Brazil for an important Pan Am Team Handball Federation (PATHF) meeting.  He assigned Sainz to travel with him to assist as Sainz is a Spanish speaker.  Gascon received an urgent call from the tandem as they met up with legendary Head Coach Javier Garcia Cuesta.  Gascon was very clear is his directive, “Get him! Talk him into coming to Salt Lake City for our USATH conference, and tell him I am looking for a Head Coach!”  The rest is history as Sainz and Utz didn’t have to work too hard to get Javier back to the United States where he had lived and coached for so many years.  Gascon hired him as quickly as he could find funding, and was quite complimentary in stating, “Julio was essential in helping bring Javier back home where he belongs!”

Sainz has demonstrated his value in many ways, working to establish the Los Angeles Handball Club, developing players for the WNT, and serving regularly as an Assistant Coach.  He has coached the LA handball Club in the US Nationals, and most recently won the National Championships as the Head Coach of Team Rogue.  He has participated in the IHF Coaching Program, and works closely with the IHF to advance Handball around the world.  Sainz was asked to assist Puerto Rico when they qualified for the World Championships, and has traveled to other countries to coach and help develop the sport, including Costa Rica.  In fact, Sainz coached Colombia to a Silver Medal at the recent Bolivarianos Games.

“Julio is a tremendous resource for us as he knows and loves the sport, follows it religiously, knows the key administrators in PATHF and the IHF.  I know I can always count on him, as does CEO Mike Cavanaugh and the USATH Board of Directors. We all appreciate him,” remarked Gascon, “and we are all proud of his accomplishments!”