USA Team Handball

United Handball Club: "Coming For Gold"
By: Mark Ortega and the United Handball Club

Over the past year and a half Team USA has gone through some handball highs and lows. There have been some exhilarating victories and some hard defeats. 

In April 2014, the Men’s National Team placed third in the Nor.Ca Pan American Championships Qualifier (Mexico City, Mexico). We went on to the Pan Am Championships (Canelones, Uruguay) but did not finish in the top three in order to qualify for the 2015 IHF Men’s World Championship (Qatar). 

The next official competition was the Last Chance home and away series against Uruguay to qualify for the 2015 Pan American Games (Toronto). The Pan Am Games would be the last chance for the U.S. Men’s Team to qualify for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. However, both U.S. National Teams suffered difficult losses against Uruguay. 

This was a big gut check for all of the players. As you might suspect, all the USA Team Handball athletes have dreams of one day competing in the Olympics. Now, 2020 is the next opportunity for the Men's National Team to compete in the Summer Olympics. Every player, coach, and family member had to reevaluate his drive for the sport of handball.

The Women’s Team had to bounce back and push on with a short memory. They were scheduled to compete in the 2015 Women’s Nor.Ca Pan Am Championship Qualifier within a few weeks of the painful losses against Uruguay. 

After a tie and two losses early in the Women's Nor.Ca Qualifier, the Team USA women recovered and won three straight matches to finish in third place. They have advanced to the 2015 Women’s Pan Am Championship in Havana, Cuba (May 21-29).

Only a few days after the 2015 USATH Open Championships in York, Pa., the Women’s Team will leave for the Panamericano. If they finish in the top three in Cuba, they will advance to the 2015 IHF Women’s World Handball Championship (Denmark) and continue their pursuit of Olympic qualification.

Through all of these high and lows, there has been a group of athletes who have not wavered. These athletes have very challenging schedules that can include working a part-time or full-time job and/or going to school full- or part-time, maintaining romantic relationships and marriages, teaching college courses, fulfilling military obligations, undergoing physical therapy, and studying for graduate, professional, or medical school acceptance exams. 

Aside from all those responsibilities, these athletes have mandatory weight-lifting three days a week, handball practice five days a week, and team meetings up to three times per week. 

The goal of each of these athletes is to become an Olympian. Each one is hungry to come to handball practice every night. These athletes have moved from all over the U.S. (Oregon, California, Texas, Maryland, and more) and even abroad (Israel and Germany) to train full time while not expecting to receive anything in return.

These athletes have united. 

We are UNITED.

United Handball Club’s goal is to help develop the athletes in the USA Team Handball Residency Program in Auburn, Ala. by competing in sanctioned handball tournaments in the United States. Through fair and hard play we hope to support our players and all those who love the game of handball. 

UHC is excited to begin its first year of competition at the 2015 USATH Open Championships. We would like to thank the USA Team Handball federation and Auburn University for organizing the USATH Residency Program. We would also like to thank all of our generous sponsors including Mama Mocha’s, Pac Rim Medical, Peak Performance, Best Auto Sales, and All-American Embroidery

Going into our first USATH Open Championships, the UHC Men’s Team is eager to compete against teams from all over the U.S. Some athletes on UHC Men’s Team have been playing handball for one year or less (including Ty Reed, Ryan Potocnik, Joshua Norman, and Willard Johnson), but we also have some veteran leadership (including Carsen Chun, Gabe Goodreau, Ian Pinson, and Chris Morgan). A couple of the veteran players expressed the importance and excitement of UHC participating in Nationals:

“[Competing in York] is an opportunity to prove that a residency program is effective, and to show that our athletes who only have a few years experience can compete with the best in the USA.”
-Carsen Chun

“I am excited to play with UHC this year because we have been living and training together for the past year. I can’t wait to show everyone that we are coming for gold.”
-Ian Pinson

Most of the athletes in Auburn are training to make the Senior National Team. Some have been members of Team USA but others have not made it yet. These Senior Team hopefuls are hungry to prove they belong by competing against the best teams in the U.S. this weekend in York. 

UHC will be depending on the leadership of its veterans, charisma from its younger players, and the heart that comes from representing our country. With these qualities we feel we have a great shot at competing with any team in the Men’s Elite Division.

The Women’s USA National Team has almost reached its financial goal to compete in the Pan American Championships in Cuba. If you feel compelled to help them achieve their goal, please follow the link to support your USA Women’s National Team:


For more information about United Handball Club, visit the UHC Facebook page or contact them HERE