It is the first time that Beach Handball is hosted in the United States. The locals are excited that this competition is in their country, because it is a chance to show their own and grow the sport.
“Playing at home is a great achievement for Team USA. We are honored to host the tournament and it will be the first time that we represent our country in front of our own fans”, said Katiann Scherer, goalkeeper of Team USA.
While it is the debut of the beach version, older handball fans have already enjoyed hosting international tournaments in the 40 × 20 version. Colorado Springs and Indianapolis hosted the 80′ and 90′ indoor handball Pan-American Games.
The last handball visit to North America was on the men’s side in 1996, again in Colorado Springs. In that championship three places were awarded for the next World Cup. The top winner was Cuba (1st), followed by Argentina (2nd) and finally the United States (3rd). Those who made the podium also took bids to the World Cup hosted by Japan in 1997. But at that time, the United States resigned its place surprisingly and, according to the IHF regulations, it was awarded to Brazil, who had lost the last match against the host Americans.
In this qualifier, Pan American Oceanside 2018 gives four bids to the participants for both the men and women, so the teams that overcome the quarterfinals will be awarded their place in the World Cup in Russia, to be played in the city of Kazan this year. The United States team is excited for this possibility.
“Oceanside has been very welcoming as a community (…) we want this tournament to intrigue and excite the entire United States in a handball frenzy”
This will be the first time the California locals not only host but welcome a high number of participating countries. The men will first face the Mexican team and then the Puerto Ricans, two strong teams who will push an aggressive attack in search of victory. The last match will be against the Argentines, with good games between the two countries in recent years the teams are growing into a rivalry matchup.
On the women’s side, the Americans will have a difficult start: in the beginning they cross with Brazil, a gold medalist at the 2017 World Games in Wroclaw, Poland; later they will play against Argentina, who also grabbed the silver in that same competition. A very important game for the women of Team USA will be their third match against Chile and one of their keys will be to win that game.
“Our main goal in this whole tournament is to qualify for the World Cup. We need to reach the first four places and one of our main games will be against Chile”, said the American goalkeeper.
The United States Women’s and Men’s National Team began its preparation with a trip to João Pessoa, Brazil. There they participated in an international quad where they competed against the junior team from Brazil, Chile and Argentina. In addition, in their passage through Rio beaches, they had friendly matches with different Brazilian clubs.
The trip to Brazil served as a short preseason for the Americans, and also allowed them to size up the Latin American potential. In their match against the youthful Kamikazes, the Argentines won 2 to 0. Now, the players from the United States are preparing to stop the fierce attack of the great Argentine athletes.
“We have seen videos of Argentina playing in different tournaments. They have a lot of skill in attack to break the line of defense. Our goal is to defend the best we can to prevent that from happening. Our team is excited to face Argentina, they have many really talented athletes!”, Concluded Scherer.
The delegation of the United States is formed as follows:
The opening ceremony will be this Thursday at “Sunset Market,” Oceanside, California, USA. At 7pm. (Pacific Time), the 16 teams will enter with the flags of their countries in a friendly start to the tournament. All games will be played at Oceanside Harbor Beach.
*Translation by Maria Vallone