USA Team Handball caught up with two-time Olympian Steve Goss, who represented the United States in the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Games in Los Angeles and Seoul. Goss first discovered the sport while spending time in Sweden as a foreign exchange student – he eventually joined his college's club handball team, and was such a standout player that he was recruited for Team USA and moved to New Jersey to begin his training with the U.S. Men's National Team. Goss went on to play in four Pan American Championships, numerous national championships, two World Championships, one Student World Championship, one Goodwill Games and five Olympic Sport Festivals. He was named USA Team Handball's Athlete of the Year in 1988.
While competing in over 100 international matches during his handball career, Goss continued his studies the entire time as well, pursuing a career in veterinary medicine. Just two months after the 1984 Olympic Games, he began his veterinary education at the University of California at Davis. He also went on to play professionally overseas for Athletico de Madrid, which competes in the Liga ASOBAL, the premiere handball league in Spain. Goss is currently the owner of South Coast Equine Practice, a solo equine veterinary practice in Santa Barbara, California.
Take a look at our Q&A below to learn more about Goss, his handball memories and the years since his athletic career:
Talk a bit about what life looks for you nowadays (where are you living, what your job/profession is, hobbies, family, etc.)
SG: My wife Shelby and I have lived in Santa Barbara, California for the last 30 years. I am the owner of a solo equine veterinary practice. It is a general practice but I have a specialty in dentistry.
We have three children who are grown, educated and employed (a parents goal and dream!). My oldest daughter Jessica lives in Mississippi and works in education, my son Brennon lives in Houston and works in quality control for an import company, and finally my youngest, McKenna, played Division I Volleyball for Boston College and now is working for a financial company.
Before Covid, my wife and I loved to travel, mostly to visit our kids, but occasionally ventured abroad. We love to hike and boat. I love to brew beer and, more recently, oak barrel age different libations.
How did you first get into handball?
SG: I first saw handball when I was a foreign exchange student in Sweden. When I started college at California State Hayward, I saw that they offered a PE class called "Team Handball" and I signed up. Cal State also had a club team named "Cal Heat" which I immediately signed up for, and so began my journey.
I played with Cal Heat for two years and was then recruited to the national team. I moved to New Jersey to start training full-time for the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
How did you first get into your current career track/profession?
SG: I decided that I wanted to pursue a career in veterinary medicine when I started college at Cal State Hayward. When I moved to New Jersey to train with the 1984 team, I enrolled at Rutgers University to finish my prerequisite to vet school.
There were many trips where I had to bring two suitcases – one suitcase of clothes and one of books. Two months after the 1984 Olympic Games, I started my veterinary education at University of California at Davis.
Are you still involved in the handball community/do you still see any teammates?
SG: I keep in contact with many of my teammates. We exchange emails and texts and occasionally get together. Many of us attended the two Olympic Reunions in Las Vegas and Colorado Springs.
I recently tried to make my handball comeback in 2020 at the Carolina Cup in North Carolina. Many months were spent running, lifting and throwing a ball against a wall. Well, my first wing shot in 15 years was made. That was my last shot of the tournament because when I landed, I pulled my hamstring. I guess it is definitely time to retire.
What are some of your favorite memories from the Olympics?
SG: The most memorable moment I remember was walking into the stadium at the 1984 Olympic opening ceremony. As I was walking around the track I looked up into the stands and saw my parents about 20 rows up. They wore great big smiles.
Where would you like to see the sport go in the next few years, especially leading up to the Los Angeles 2028 Games?
SG: Where I would like to see handball now is the same as what I wanted back in 1984. Grass root programs developing a pipeline of athletes, organized and funded club programs in high schools and colleges, and a strong national team program that produces world class competitive teams. That's what we need in order to grow this sport.
What sort of advice would you give to USA Team Handball’s national team athletes who are currently at home and unable to compete due to Covid-19?
SG: My advice would be to stay in shape and keep yourself ready. Covid will pass and handball will return.