USA Residency Programs hold first practice at Auburn

Team USA practicing at Beard–Eaves–Memorial Coliseum, on the campus at Auburn University

Team USA practicing at Beard–Eaves–Memorial Coliseum, on the campus at Auburn University

According to Facebook posts from National Team athletes Mark Ortega and Ashley Van Ryn, Team USA held their first practice yesterday at Auburn University.  Apparently, the program is just getting started with a few veteran athletes for the time being and will likely ramp up in the coming months.  This weekend there is a Women’s tryout and a joint Men’s/Women’s tryout is scheduled for December 9th:  Link.  Separately, a club program has also been started at Auburn.  This past weekend they had their first practice with both Men’s National Team Coach, Javier Garcia Cuesta and Women’s National Team Coach, Christian Latulippe helping out.  In theory, with their location and access to national team support the Auburn men’s and women’s clubs could very quickly become competitive on the national stage.

In terms of facilities, it’s hard not to be impressed with the gym USA Team Handball will be practicing in and hopefully staging future competitions.  The above photo posted by Mark Ortega shows the team practicing at the Beard–Eaves–Memorial Coliseum, a 10,500 seat arena that previously was the home for the Auburn University basketball teams.  In 2011 the Auburn basketball teams moved to the newly constructed Auburn Arena, making the old arena available for other campus activities.  While an older facility by U.S. standards it’s clearly an arena most nations and clubs in Europe would be thrilled to have for their handball teams.

(Editor’s Note (10 Nov 13):  Further investigation has revealed that Auburn University plans to demolish the Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum:  Link.  USA Team Handball CEO, Matt Van Houten has indicated, however, that Auburn has committed to providing alternative practice locations when that demolition occurs.)