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USA Team Handball's Best Moments of 2019

Dec. 20, 2019, 10:20 a.m. (ET)

A collection of photos from 2019, that includes the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, the inaugural World Beach Games in Doha, Qatar, domestic handball tournaments (Texas Cup, Michael Lipov Memorial Cup), and much more.

There were a multitude of notable accomplishments and exciting developments within the USA Team Handball community in the past year of 2019. Among the athletes, coaches, leadership and fans, everyone has contributed significantly to the growth of our sport and national governing body over the past year. Thank you for supporting our journey to grow and heighten the sport of handball in the United States! As we move into 2020, take a look back at the past year and see what we've accomplished together:  

Men's Junior National Team Finishes 3rd at the IHF Trophy Intercontinental Phase

The U.S. men's junior national team traveled to Kosovo in April, where they earned a bronze medal at the Men’s IHF Trophy Intercontinental Phase after competing against countries like Paraguay and Chinese Taipei. The team also competed in the Men’s Junior World Championships in Vigo, Spain, this July, where they finished 22nd. The men's junior national team made history in Vigo by winning their first world championships match ever, and earning their best-ever finish at a world championship. 

Americans Earn Silver at the Men’s U-24 IHF Cup in the Dominican Republic 

Team USA logged a successful campaign at the Men's U-24 IHF Cup in the Dominican Republic this past April, dropping a close match to Cuba in the gold-medal match 37-36 in extra time. Coached by Robert Hedin, the U.S. roster included: Hendrik Schultze, Javier Coba, Patrick Mulligan, Ben Liberty, Alex Binderis, Michael Lee, Sean Zimber, Gary Hines, Eric Finch, Ian Hueter, Antoine Baup, Abou Fofana, Melvin Wheaton and Patrick Hueter. 

Hiring of Barry Siff as USA Team Handball's new CEO

In April, the USA Team Handball Board of Directors appointed Barry Siff as chief executive officer of USA Team Handball. An accomplished athlete and leader in the sports world, Siff previously served as President of USA Triathlon’s Board of Directors from 2014 to 2019, and was integral in identifying and advancing USA Triathlon’s key organizational priorities.


West Point Women and Men Win 2019 Collegiate National Championships 
In April, both the Army West Point women and men took home the gold at the 2019 USA Team Handball Collegiate National Championships in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. For the Army Men, it was their 13th consecutive title.

Alberta Men, NYC Women and SF CalHeat Win Gold at 2019 USATH National Championships
The 2019 USA Team Handball National Championships, held in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina this past May, saw Alberta Team Handball claim the Men's D1 title, the New York City Team Handball Club women take the Women's D1 title and San Francisco CalHeat win the Men's Elite trophy.


U.S. Women's National Team Logs Fifth Place At NACHC World Championships Qualifier

The U.S. women’s national team (WNT) placed fifth at the North American & Caribbean Handball Confederation  (NACHC) World Championships qualifier in Mexico City this May, competing against countries like Greenland, Canada and Cuba. The American women spent time training in France, Germany and Luxembourg this April in order to prepare for the NACHC World Championships qualifier tournament and the 2019 Pan American Games. 


USA Beach Handball Strikes Double Gold At NORCA Championships 
Both teams from the U.S. beach handball program earned gold at the NORCA Men’s and Women’s Beach Championships in Trinidad & Tobago this July, punching their tickets to the 2020 World Championships. 2019 marked the first time both American men and women have qualified for world championships in U.S. handball history.

American Women & Men Compete at the Super Globe Tournaments in China and Saudi Arabia
The New York City Team Handball Club represented the North American & Caribbean region at the IHF Super Globe tournament last August. The women competed at the Super Globe in Wuxi, China, finishing eighth, as the men competed in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, finishing ninth. 


U.S. National Teams Compete at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru

Both U.S. national teams traveled to Lima, Peru, to compete in the 2019 Pan American Games this summer. The women earned a fourth-place finish, dropping a tight 24-23 game against Cuba in the bronze-medal match. Meanwhile, the men recorded a sixth-place finish and closed out their campaign in Lima with a 24-32 loss to Cuba.  

Michael Wall, Tracy Deforge, JD Orr and Patrick Jalabert Join USATH Board of Directors

USA Team Handball welcomed four new members to its Board of Directors this year, with Michael Wall joining the board as its president and Tracy Deforge, Patrick Jalabert and JD Orr joining the USATH board as well. Deforge will serve as an independent director, while Jalabert and Orr were named general membership directors.  


Three-Time Olympic Medalist Staffan Olsson Hired as USATH's High Performance Director

 Staffan Olsson
In September, USATH announced the hiring of three-time Olympic medalist Staffan Olsson as high performance director. In his role, Olsson will oversee the management and direction of USA Team Handball’s national teams, determine a pipeline of new athletes at the elite level, and develop the training program for coaches and officials at various levels of the sport, among other things. 

North American & Caribbean Handball Confederation Headquarters Open in Colorado Springs, Colorado

USA Team Handball invited the North American & Caribbean Handball Confederation to Colorado to celebrate the opening of the NACHC headquarters in Colorado Springs. The office is the first Olympic sport confederation headquarters in Colorado Springs. 

USA Beach Handball Competes at Inaugural World Beach Games in Doha, Qatar

USA men's beach

USA Beach Handball played on a major international stage this October at the inaugural ANOC World Beach Games, in Doha, Qatar. The six-day competition featured 13 beach sports, including beach handball, and the American women and men finished 10th and 11th overall. 

Michael Cavanaugh Honored by the IHF, Professionally Retires From USA Team Handball

USA Team Handball's director of operations and former CEO Michael Cavanaugh announced his professional retirement from the organization after dedicating over four decades to the Olympic Movement in a number of organizations and capacities. The International Handball Federation honored Cavanaugh at the Michael Lipov Memorial Cup, with IHF president Hassan Moustafa presenting him with a plaque and certificate. 


International Handball Federation President Hassan Moustafa Visits American Handball Players In Chicago
Chicago Inter Handball Club hosted a successful Michael Lipov Memorial Cup this fall, with IHF president Hassan Moustafa attending the competition and speaking with the athletes, coaches and fans. Moustafa traveled to Chicago in order to support the growth of handball in the United States. 

Team USA Wins Inaugural Kama-Games Tri-Nations Tournament

Tri-Nations team photo
The U.S. men's national team traveled to Ireland to compete in the inaugural KamaGames Tri-Nations Tournament from October 25-27, playing matches against Ireland and Great Britain. Team USA earned two victories to win the tournament.


Youth & Junior Women Gain Valuable Experience With International Matches in Montreal

IHF Trophy
USA Team Handball sent youth and junior women's teams to Montreal for the NORCA IHF Trophy tournament in October, with the youth team finishing fifth and the junior team finishing sixth. 


San Francisco CalHeat Team Handball Club Hosts Youth Clinics and Competitions 

youth cup
The San Francisco CalHeat Team Handball Club organized a successful collection of youth competitions and clinics in 2019, led by Martin Bilello. The 2019 edition of the Youth California Cup featured both middle and high school teams, and included an all-girls exhibition match, as well as an All-Stars match for both middle and high school athletes. 


Drew Donlin Becomes First North American To Score a Goal in the ASOBAL League in Spain 

Drew Donlin
Drew Donlin, who plays for both the U.S. indoor and beach handball national teams, earned a notable accomplishment this year by becoming the first North American player to score a goal in the ASOBAL league, Spain's premier professional handball league. Donlin currently plays for a Spanish club team, Ademar Leon, when he isn't competing for Team USA.

NBC Sports and the Olympic Channel Air Matches from the IHF Women's World Championship

IHF ad

Getting handball on American television screens is always a win, and NBC Sports/the Olympic Channel helped make that happen in 2019, when they streamed 12 matches from the IHF Women's World Championship in Kumamoto, Japan, on American screens. The Netherlands claimed the title of world champion after winning a tournament featuring 24 teams from around the world.