AUBURN, Ala. – USA Team Handball (USATH) announced today that it has partnered with the Alabama Community College Conference (ACCC) in an effort to recruit and retain potential men's and women's National Team athletes.
“Team handball has been an Olympic sport since 1972,” says Mark Ortega, U.S. Men’s Team Assistant Coach, “and it’s considered to be the second most popular sport in Europe after football (soccer).”
Athletes who have played multiple sports in high school and college have enjoyed successful careers as handball players for Team USA.
“Junior college athletes often get overlooked,” continues Coach Ortega. “We are proud and excited to set up this partnership for all the junior college athletes in Alabama.”
“Having met a few times with Coach Ortega, and recently with National Team head coach Javier Garcia Cuesta, I saw immediately what a great partnership this could be,” stated ACCC Commissioner Dean Myrick. “The ACCC has some great athletes, and what a great opportunity for them to possibly have a chance to represent their country in the 2020 Olympics. Not to mention possible professional opportunities overseas.”
In August 2013, USATH established a full-time Residency Program in Auburn. Since its inception, the Residency Program has recruited and retained over 40 elite athletes for year-round training for international competition. The goal of the Residency Program is to prepare USATH athletes to be highly competitive in international events including, but not limited to, the Pan American Games, Pan American Championships, International Handball Federation World Championships, and the Summer Olympics.
Since the qualification opportunity for the 2016 Summer Olympics has passed for the U.S. Men’s and Women’s Team Handball National Teams, USATH is now looking ahead to the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo and its preceding qualifying events. The next official competition is 2016 Senior Men’s Pan American Championship in Argentina and the previous NORCA qualification.
There are currently 15 male and female athletes training in the USATH Residency Program in Auburn. USATH now looks to bolster that number with local athletes from ACCC member colleges. To commence the partnership with the ACCC, USATH will host an elite tryout to recruit potential National Team athletes that are currently competing, or have competed, in intercollegiate sports as students of community colleges in the state of Alabama.
USATH is looking for strong, powerful athletes (jumping ability and throwing ability) with high motivation and good work ethic. Even though previous experience in handball is not obligatory, experience in other high level sports programs is important.
Listed below are benefits of joining the USATH Residency Program as a National Team Athlete:
- Full-time training at the newly-designated Olympic Training Site (OTS) at Auburn University
- Upon being selected to USA National Residence Program, athletes may apply to Auburn University, and if accepted, receive in-state tuition if an out-of-state student
- International competition. Over the past 12 months, USATH National Team athletes competed in Mexico, Brazil, Cuba, France, Uruguay, Sweden, Puerto Rico, and Germany
- World class physical therapy from RehabWorks, a division of the East Alabama Medical Center
- Performance enhancement through Auburn University’s School of Kinesiology
- Access to the OTS weightlifting room and respected strength and conditioning specialists at Auburn University
- World-class coaching staff
- Employment assistance in Auburn, Ala.
- Pursuit of the “Olympic Dream”
The tryout is scheduled for August 15, 2015. Both male and female prospective athletes must attend two separate tryout sessions to be considered for the USATH Residency Program. The full tryout schedule is as follows:
8:00 am – 10:00 am: Women’s Session 1
10:00 pm – 12:00 pm: Men’s Session 1
1:00 – 3:00 pm: Women’s Session 2
3:00 – 5:00 pm: Men’s Session 2
To officially register or if you have any questions about the Residency Program, email Coach Mark Ortega at Mark@usateamhandball.org.
About USA Team Handball
USA Team Handball is a 501(c)(3) organization and is the National Governing Body (NGB) for the Olympic sport of Team Handball. USA Team Handball, a member of the International Handball Federation (IHF) and the Pan American Team Handball Federation, was certified by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) on April 30, 2008. The mission of USA Team Handball shall be to develop, promote, educate and grow the sport of Team Handball at all levels in the United States and to enable United States athletes to achieve sustained competitive excellence to win medals in international and Olympic competition. USA Team Handball is the only organization recognized by the USOC and IHF to lead handball initiatives in the United States. For more information about USA Team Handball, visit www.USATeamHandball.org, like USA Team Handball on Facebook, and follow USATH on Twitter and Instagram (@usath).
For a brief explanation of Team Handball, please visit: