The U.S. indoor men’s national team assembled in Europe this week for the inaugural KamaGames Tri-Nations Tournament, held from October 25-27 at the Gormanstown Park Sports Complex in Meath, Ireland.
The event marks the first time that the United States, Ireland and Great Britain have come together for a friendly handball tournament. The Irish and Americans will face off on Friday, the United States will play Great Britain on Saturday and Ireland will compete against Great Britain for Sunday’s final match.
Prior to the tournament, the U.S. men first played a game against HSC Bad Neustadt in Germany on Wednesday, October 23. HSC Bad Neustadt earned a 29-24 win, with Drew Donlin and Gary Hines leading the American scoring effort with six goals each.
The U.S. delegation for the KamaGames Tri-Nations Tournament is led by head coach Robert Hedin, with JD Orr and Andreas Hertelt serving as team leaders. The competition is free to the public.
The tournament is sponsored by KamaGames, the lead sponsor of the Irish Olympic Handball Association. According to their website, KamaGames provides new, branded uniforms for men’s, women’s and junior teams and also ensures the Irish national squads are able to travel to international games around the world through the kit sponsorship agreement.
For more information about the U.S. team and Tri-Nations tournament, please see the following Q&A, with responses provided by team leader JD Orr:
How was Team USA selected to compete in this tournament, and how did the tournament come about?
In an effort to promote the sport globally, KamaGames in conjunction with the Ireland Olympic Handball Federation decided to host some games during the international break. With Team USA, Team England, and Team Ireland being all predominantly English speaking countries, and handball organizations in need of development, this tournament was a logical next step. All three countries competed in the Emerging Nations tournament, a predominantly Under 24 competition, this past spring. There is hope to build a relationship between these three countries to fuel great competitions and improved quality of play.
How did Team USA go about selecting players to compete for this tournament?
The members of this Team USA squad were selected with a focus on the younger players in the athlete pool. The average age of those competing this weekend is less than 24, which bodes well for the future of the team! Many of the players competing represented Team USA at the World Junior Championships this past July in Spain or at the Emerging Nations tournament earlier in the year. With this tournament being focused on development for the sport, it was an easy decision for the selection committee to choose younger players who have a bright future with the sport and Team USA.
What do we expect to gain from this type of competition?
As alluded to earlier, a competition of this format and atmosphere will hopefully give Team USA some great experiences for their younger talent pool players. Each major competition these younger players compete in only adds to their confidence and comfortability with one another. It is difficult to build chemistry with teammates over a short weekend, but many of these players have been competing together for years! Team USA hopes to walk away from this tournament with a good understanding of what some of the future members of Olympic Qualifying Team may look like for the 2024 Paris Games Qualification process.
What is next for the Men’s Team Handball Squad?
The U.S. men’s squad will get a much-needed break after a busy weekend in Dublin! Many of the players will be returning to their clubs in Europe to continue their season competition. The next set of games for the team looks like it may be sometime early in 2020 for a series of NORCA (North American and Caribbean) qualifiers.
U.S. Tri-Nations Tournament Roster
Rene Ingram, GK
Hendrik Schultze, GK
Sebastian Wheeler, LB
Gabe Redmond, RB
Nik Zarikos, LW
Drew Donlin, pivot
Paul Skorupa, pivot
Jonas Stromberg, RB
Michael Lee, LW
Amir Seifert, CB
Alexander Binderis, pivot
Antoine Baup, pivot
Ty Reed, RW
Robert Hedin, Head Coach
Mads Fjelddalen, Goalie Coach
JD Orr, Team Leader
Andreas Hertelt, Team Leader
Ford Dyke, Team Doctor
Brad Barez, Team Doctor