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Podcast (Episode 81e): USA Team Handball Board Member, Ebiye Jeremy Udo-Udoma (AKA: The Handball Ninja)

At the Southern California Beach Handball Championships I interviewed National Team athlete and USA Team Handball Board Member, Ebiye, Udo-Udoma. Ebiye, who has adopted the moniker, the Handball Ninja is well known in the beach community, both domestically and internationally.

We discussed the tournament, the state of beach handball and the challenges of getting beach handball on the Olympic Program given the IOC’s athlete quota that limits a summer games to no more than 10,500 athletes. I then throw him a bit of a curveball question, in that given this quota and the greater chances a USA beach team would have to medal: Should USA Team Handball consider the possibility of taking actions that could lead to an IOC/LA 2028/USOPC/IHF decision to swap beach for the traditional indoor game at the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles?

The Handball Ninja on social media: IG FB Twitter TikTok

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Podcast (Episode 81d): US Handball Union Executive Director, Michael King

The Southern California Handball Championsips were also the first ever US Handball Union event. Michael King, is the Executive Director of this new organization and we chat a little about the tournament and beach handball, but we mostly focus on the US Handball Union. We discuss it’s mission, why it was formed prior to discussion with USA Team Handball and whether a competing organization (in some aspects) to USA Team Handball can also be collaborative with USA Team Handball.

This interview was on Sunday, August 27th and I don’t know if there have been any new developments since then.

US Handball Union: Website Instagram Facebook

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Podcast (Episode 81c): CalHeat and USA U19 Coach, Martin Bilello

CalHeat coach, Martin Bilello had a very busy handball summer, taking his CalHeat club to Partille and a tournament in Italy. He then coached the USA, U19 team at the World Championships and a mostly CalHeat Youth team at the Southern California Beach Handball Championships.

Here’s Grayson Wide’s Triple Save from the World Championships that we discussed: Great defense, and, at the same time… not so great defense

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Podcast (Episode 81b): Canadian Men’s Beach Handball Coach, Steve Fodor

Canada sent three beach teams to the Southern California Handball Championships. Men’s Coach Steve Fodor discusses the history and future of beach handball in Canada.


Don’t miss an episode:

  • Subscribe on YouTube: Link (Earliest Availability)
  • Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes: Link
  • Follow the Team Handball News podcast on Spotify: Link
  • Or use this RSS Feed to sign up for the podcast in your favorite podcast aggregator: Link

And, be sure to check out the podcast archive with interviews and great handball discussion going all the way back to 2006: Link

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Podcast (Episode 81a): Alex Browne of the San Diego Sea Dragons Beach Handball Club

I attended the 2023 Southern California Beach Handball Championships this past weekend and while there I had the opportunity to interview several athletes and coaches. In this interview I caught up with Alex Browne. Alex has played for the U.S. Men’s National team and he and wife Missy (a Women’s National Team athlete) have led the effort to start the Sea Dragons Beach Handball Club in San Diego. And, arguably the Sea Dragons are a model club that other newcomers might be wise to emulate. We discuss how the club got started and, of course, also talk a little Quidditch (urr… Quadball) (And, FYI, he’s represented the U.S. in Quadball, too)

San Diego Sea Dragons: Website Instagram Facebook

Interview with Alex from 2019: Link


Don’t miss an episode:

  • Subscribe on YouTube: Link (Earliest Availability)
  • Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes: Link
  • Follow the Team Handball News podcast on Spotify: Link
  • Or use this RSS Feed to sign up for the podcast in your favorite podcast aggregator: Link

And, be sure to check out the podcast archive with interviews and great handball discussion going all the way back to 2006: Link

European Beach Handball Championships on beIN Sports XTRA

The European Beach Handball Championship currently taking place in Bulgaria can be seen in the U.S., as usual, on ehfTV, but this this year there’s another option: beIN Sports XTRA. beIN Sports XTRA is a free web streaming channel that can be seen on PlutoTV, Samsung TV, Roku TV and others and this should provide an excellent discovery opportunity for new beach handball fans.

Schedule for Wednesday and Thursday (All Times are US ET)

  • Wednesday, July 14
    • 3:00 PM: Spain vs Denmark – Women
    • 3:30 PM: Spain vs Norway – Men
    • 4:00 PM: Ukraine vs Bulgaria – Women
    • 4:30 PM: Germany vs Portugal – Men
    • 5:00 PM: Norway vs Denmark – Men
  • Thursday, July 15:
    • 3:00 PM: Bulgaria vs Spain – Women
    • 3:30 PM: Russia vs Germany – Men
    • 4:00 PM: Bulgaria vs Denmark – Women
    • 4:30 PM: Greece vs France – Men

Matches will also be shown on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and the schedule can be accessed here: Link

How to Watch beIN Sports XTRA on Roku: To watch on your Roku, go to your home screen and look for the “Roku Channel” icon. It’s a streaming channel just like Netflix or Hulu and should be readily available. (If not, you can add it just like you would any other channel.) Click on the Roku Channel icon and then scroll down until you see “beIN Sports XTRA” icon. Click on it and the channel should start playing. It’s live so, there are commercials just like what you would see on a TV channel.

How to Watch Over The Air: The Roku channel is also available “Over the Air” on digital channels in several U.S. cities: List of Channels and Cities: Link

Handball Web Streaming This Weekend (9-11 July 2021)

Germany take on Brazil in a Friendly Match Today at 2015 CET.

  • More information on where to find web streams for National Team, Professional Club and USA Competitions: Link
  • For regular updates on when and where handball matches can be streamed online follow Team Handball News on social media: Twitter Facebook Instagram

All times are CET which is 6 hours ahead of US ET. Odds courtesy of Bet MGM and/or OddsPortal.

  • Three Nation Tournament: Video Link (VPN may be required; More infoWhat I use)
    • Germany (-4.5) vs Brazil (Friday, 2015 CET)
    • Brazil vs Egypt (-3)  (Saturday, 1445 CET)
    • Germany vs Egypt (Sunday, 1505 CET)  

European Youth Tournaments

  • On ehfTV there are 4 live feeds for the Youth Beach Championships and there are 20 U19 Women’s matches.
  • ehfTV Schedule: Link

American Athletes in Action

There are several USA women participating in the Budapest Beach Handball Cup. If there are any live streams available for their matches the links will be added here.

Handball Web Streaming This Weekend (2-4 July 2021)

Christine Mansour can be seen in action this weekend with Dutch club, Kras Volendam

  • More information on where to find web streams for National Team, Professional Club and USA Competitions: Link
  • For regular updates on when and where handball matches can be streamed online follow Team Handball News on social media: Twitter Facebook Instagram

All times are CET which is 6 hours ahead of US ET. Odds courtesy of Bet MGM and/or OddsPortal.


American Athletes in Action

The Rip Beach Handball Club wraps up their European journey with the Nazares, Portugal stop on the Arena Handball Tour. Many of the athletes playing for Rip Beach are also members of the USA Beach Handball National Team.

Also, on the Women’s side some American National Team players, Christine Mansour and Missy Sponagle are playing with Dutch side Kras Volendam. I will post the scheduled match times and results when they are available. They also will surely be available on Rip Beach Handball’s social media platforms

  • Rip Beach Handball: Facebook Instagram
  • Spanish YouTube Site: Link (There are 2 live streams for courts 1 and 2)
  • Match Schedule (Rip Beach Handball):
    • Rip Beach Handball is in Pool C of the Men’s Open Division: Schedule Standings
      • Rip Beach Handball – Core Global BM Playa Parla 2:1 (30:32;25:24;11:10)
      • Rip Beach Handball – Playa Rayito Salinero 1:2 (22:18;18:24;6:7)
        • Video Link (only a portion of the match is available)
    • Knockout Bracket
      • Round of 16 Rip Beach Handball vs CBMP City of Malaga 0:2 (20:28;17:24)
  • Match Schedule (Kras Volendam):
    • Kras Volendam is in Pool C of the Women’s Open Division: Schedule Standings
      • Kras Volendam – Antua 2:0 (26:8;14:10)
      • Kras Volendam vs Playa Alcala 2:1 (23:22;26:29;6:4)
        • Video Link (Slide bar left to the beginning. Only the shootout is available)
      • Kras Volendam vs BHCE Plan B 0:2 (15:23;20:27)
        • Video Link (Link is set to the beginning of the match)
    • There was a 3 way tie in the Pool and Volendam was 3rd in the group on tiebreakers so they didn’t advance to the Knockout stage.

Other Matches this Weekend

  • NACHC Qualification for the Jr PANAM Games:  
    • NACHC Website: Link
    • All Times below are US ET
    • 1 July, 2021
      • 1630 Dominican Republic 30, Cuba 36  Video Link
      • 1830 Mexico 27, Puerto Rico 21 Video Link
        • Due to a roster eligibility issue Puerto Rico was declared the winner of this match
    • 2 July, 2021
      • 1630 Dominican Republic 30 vs Mexico 28 Video Link
    • 3 July, 2021

Handball Web Streaming this Weekend (25-27 June 2021)

The Rip Beach Handball Club will be in action this weekend in Spain.

  • More information on where to find web streams for National Team, Professional Club and USA Competitions: Link
  • For regular updates on when and where handball matches can be streamed online follow Team Handball News on social media: Twitter Facebook Instagram

All times are CET which is 6 hours ahead of US ET. Odds courtesy of Bet MGM and/or OddsPortal.


American Athletes in Action

The Rip Beach Handball Club will be participating in the Orihuela, Spain stop on the Arena Handball Tour. Many of the athletes playing for Rip Beach are also members of the USA Beach Handball National Team. I will post the scheduled match times and results when they are available. They also will surely be available on Rip Beach Handball’s social media platforms

  • Rip Beach Handball: Facebook Instagram
  • Tourney Website: Link
  • Spanish YouTube Site: Link (It’s not clear what matches will be streamed yet)
  • Match Schedule: Rip Beach Handball is in Pool C of the Men’s Open Division: Schedule Standings
    • Rip Beach Handball vs Alusin Solar-Atletica (Friday, 2145 CET)
      • Rip Beach – Alusin Solar-Atletica 1:2 (24:22;18:20;6:8)
    • Rip Beach Handball vs SPIT ARHS (Saturday, 1320 CET)
      • Rip Beach – SPIT ARHS 1:2 (12:17;26:18;11:12)
    • Rip Beach Handball vs BMP Maravillas Benalmadena (Saturday, 1920 CET)
      • Rip Beach – BMP Maravillas Benalmadena 2:0 (30:22;25:22) Video Link (slide bar to left)
  • HBL 2 (Germany)
    • Dormagen (-1) vs Elbflorenz (Saturday, 1800 CET): Link (VPN required; More infoWhat I use)
      • Ian and Patrick Hueter play for Dormagen.
      • 6th place Dormagen hosts 4th place Elbflorenz in the last match of a very long season. A win here would put Dormagen level on points (40) with Elbflorenz.

Other Matches this Weekend

  • Euro Cup:  ehfTV
    • Spain (-7.5) vs Croatia (Sunday, 2000 CET)
      • The Euro Cup is a tournament for the European nations that had already qualified for the 2022 European Championships and this make up match is a tune up opportunity for Olympic bound Spain and a chance for Croatia to start their rebuilding effort.

Podcast (Episode 68): Beach Handballer and Ultimate Tagger, Charlie White

Charlie White: Ultimate Tag winner and USA Beach Handball Athlete

Earlier this week, Charlie White, won the Men’s competition on the premiere episode of Fox TV’s, Ultimate Tag. He joins the podcast to talk about that experience, how he got started with beach handball, how he and his teammates are coping with the COVID-19 pandemic and since he’s a game developer, whether handball will ever get a cool video game.

Ulimate Tag can be seen Wednesday’s on Fox and past episodes (including Charlie’s win) can be seen on Hulu or FoxNow.

Video

  • Charlie getting caught in the dome competition: Link
  • Charlie’s showdown win: Link

Charlie White on Social Media

USA Team Handball

  • Player Profile: Link
  • Recent article on Charlie: Link

Don’t miss an episode:
– Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes: Link
– Or use this RSS Feed to sign up for the podcast in your favorite podcast aggregator: Link

And, be sure to check out the podcast archive with interviews and great handball discussion going all the way back to 2006: Link

<< Sponsors: Would you like to get the word out on your handball related product? Contact (john.ryan@teamhandballnews.com) for information on how you can sponsor the podcast. >>

USA Team Handball Makes a Coaching Change for its Women’s Beach Handball Program (Some Questions Regarding Need, Timing and Process)

Former USA Beach Handball Women’s Coach, Juliano De Oliveira.

Earlier this week USA Team Handball announced the appointment of Lisa Dunn to be the new Women’s Beach Handball Head Coach and Michi Mensing to the Asst Coach position.  Left unsaid, however, was that Juliano De Oliveira, the Head Coach since 2016 had been “let go”, fired, or not renewed (pick your description). 

De Oliveira did get a mention though for having “laid the foundation for the program” and indeed that’s the case as he took the helm of a pretty much non-existent, dormant program in 2016 and under his helm it has been established as North America’s best Women’s Beach Handball side and one that is now respected on the world stage.

Here’s a review of what the U.S. Women’s team has accomplished in the four major tournaments they have participated in under his watch.

Juliano De Oliveira Coaching Record

2018 Pan American Championships
– Match Record: 2-4
– Games Record: Not Available
– Final Ranking: 6th out of 8 Teams

2018 World Championships
– Match Record: 1-8
– Games Record (Non Shoot Out Matches): 2-16
– Games Record (Shoot Out Matches): 0-0
– Points Differential (Non Shoot Out Matches): 213-338 (-125)
– Final Ranking: 14th out of 16 Teams

2019 North American and Caribbean Championships
– Match Record: 6-0
– Games Record (Non Shoot Out Matches): 12-0
– Games Record (Shoot Out Matches): 0-0
– Final Ranking: 1st out of 8 Teams

2019 World Beach Games
– Match Record:  2-5
– Games Record (Non Shoot Out Matches): 6-8
– Games Record (Shoot Out Matches): 0-2
– Points Differential (Non Shoot Out Matches): 224-240 (-16)
– Final Ranking: 10th out of 12 Teams

A review of these results makes it pretty clear there’s been some solid progress.   A team that wasn’t very competitive in 2018 turned it around in 2019.  A clear sign of progress was their dominating performance at the 2019 North American Championships.  A weaker field than the Pan American Championships the year before, but they left no doubt that they were the best team in the new Confederation. 

Arguably, more telling was the better performance on the world stage.  In two similar events (2018 World Championships and 2019 World Beach Games) the Final Ranking wasn’t much different (10th out of 12 vs 14th out of 16), but a closer look at the results reveals significant improvement.

In 2018, the women were 2-16 (Win Percentage of .111) in non-shootout games with an average point differential of -7/game.  Translation: most of the games were noncompetitive and essentially over in the first few minutes.  In 2019, they were 6-8 (.429) and the average point differential was 1/game.  Games were typically much closer and the U.S. had a shoot out loss to 6th place Argentina and they battled 3rd place and perennial power Brazil to a golden goal in one match. In consolation play they actually blew out some teams. 

To be clear, playing teams closer is still not winning, but make no mistake, it’s progress.

A Question of Need (Management Expectations)

Perhaps, however, management expectations were higher for U.S. performance.  For sure, it would have been nice to get out the consolation bracket and place higher, but it’s debatable as to whether that was a reasonable expectation for such a new program with some key players getting their first experience at a high level tournament. 

Additionally, while results in competition are important, there surely were other goals and objectives for the program.  I don’t know what was expected, but one can only assume those expectations weren’t being met.  Otherwise, if the team is making progress why make a change?

A Question of Timing (Why Now?)

The timing of the move also suggests that more was at play than just team results.  Otherwise such a change would logically have occurred right after the tournament in October rather than 5 months later.  Coaches everywhere know the drill.   If your team performs poorly and the season/tournament has ended they know that the “phone call” could well be coming.  The Monday after week 17 in the NFL is known as Black Monday for a reason.  Ask French Men’s Coach, Didier Dinart, what happens when you have one bad game (vs Portugal) at the European Championships.  You’re often shown the door.  That’s just how it works.  Results matter, but, Coach De Oliveira was not shown the door until several months later suggesting that the move was not directly related to competition performance.

A Question of Process

Personnel changes can be accomplished in a number of different ways, but a more open and transparent process might have been warranted.  In 2018, the U.S, advertised for the “court” Men’s Head Coach position and received dozens of applications and this process resulted in the eventual hiring of Robert Hedin.  A beach head coaching job is certainly less sought after, but a more open process would probably stifle any concerns that personnel changes were being quietly orchestrated behind the scenes.

Practicality for Practice

A majority of the athletes likely to make the U.S. roster currently live in Southern California. Having a coach co-located with those athletes facilitates instruction during practice. There, of course, can be training camps in other parts of the country, but such traveling can be expensive.

A Tough Coaching Change

Making a coaching change is rarely easy and with the U.S. beach handball community being so small it’s even tougher.  Everybody knows everybody really well and everyone knows that Coach De Oliveira has been there from the start, first as Assistant Coach for the Men’s Program and then as the first coach of the Women’s Program.  This past summer I saw firsthand the effort involved in setting up the Southern California Beach Handball Tournament.  It takes a village to stage such an event, but De Oliveira is a really big part of that village.  I can only assume that he’s also been a big part of everything else that’s taken place the last several years.  With all of that work done as an unpaid volunteer coach/organizer.

To make the determination that all that work plus steady progress in International competition just wasn’t good enough couldn’t have been easy.  To say thanks, but sorry your assistant coaches are better equipped to take the team to the next level, that’s got to be a very tough call.

The Road Ahead (Near and Far Term)

In the near term it’s all about the Beach World Championships, currently scheduled for 30 June – July 5 in Pescara, Italy.  (One can at least hope that the Coronavirus Pandemic will have subsided by then).  With likely a very similar, but now more experienced roster, I would have expected a better performance regardless as to who was coach.  In my opinion a great result would be top 8, 9th-12th would be OK, while 13th-16th would be a disappointment.  From a few social media postings it appears the athletes are motivated and they have recently met in Atlanta and San Antonio for training.  Even were planning to train in Southern California this weekend, but it has since been cancelled due to Coronavirus concerns.  I wouldn’t bet against dedication like that.  This side will rally around who’s ever coaching and come together for the best performance possible.

Beyond the World Championships this summer, however, some serious thought is needed as to what the long term strategy should be for Beach Handball.  The big inflection point will be the IOC’s decision on whether to include Beach Handball at the 2024 Olympics.  I think the odds are against it due to athlete quotas, but if does happen, we could have a seismic change in terms of the resources and focus that will be placed on Beach Handball.  One can even envision a residency program (perhaps at Chula Vista, CA) and an influx of talent that would make the U.S. a strong medal contender.

But, even if that doesn’t happen a strategy’s still needed.  In particular, there will be a need to consider steps to develop beach clubs, grow the elite talent pool and whether one geographic area should be selected for focused development.

(Note: I reached out to USA Team Handball CEO, Barry Siff, for more information regarding the coaching change, but he declined to comment.)

Podcast (Episode 63): Captain America: Team USA and Leon Ademar, Circle Runner, Drew Donlin

Captain America, Drew Donlin, playing for Leon Ademar vs FC Barcelona

It’s been quite the ride for Team USA’s Drew Donlin, from Minnesota to the Air Force Academy to Los Angeles to Germany and now Spain.

In September 2018 he was an alternate and a last minute call up for the U.S. National Team for the PANAM Games Qualification series vs Canada. Just 14 months later he found himself playing important minutes for his club, Leon Ademar, against FC Barcelona. Such a rapid rise is unprecedented for just about any handball player, let alone a U.S. National Team player who was born and raised in the U.S. and didn’t start playing the sport until he was 18.

On the podcast we discuss his handball origin story, USA Beach Handball competitions and how exactly he went from a national team alternate to playing against Barca in 14 months.

Player Profile Pages
– Leon Ademar: Link
– Liga ASOBAL (with current stats): Link
– EHF: Link
– USA Team Handball: Link

Drew Donlin Social Media
– Facebook: Link
– Instagram: Link

Podcast (Episode 60): Team USA’s Eric Finch

USA Goalkeeper, Eric Finch, before a friendly match in Germany.

Team USA’s Eric Finch joins the podcast.  We discuss his handball origin story, transitioning to beach handball, the residency program at Auburn, the collegiate game and how the U.S. might better train and develop athletes in the future.

Some big questions we discuss include:

  • Can a recruit brand new to handball make our current men’s team? How good of an athlete would it take? How long would it take?
  • Should the Men’s program target 18-19 year old’s or 22-23 year old’s?
  • Should the timeline focus for development be the 2024 or 2028 Olympiad?
  • Should the collegiate game focus on just one geographical area?
  • Does it make sense to have a different strategy for the Women’s National Team?

Links to some of the things mentioned in the podcast:

  • Interview with USA National Team player Ty Reed (now training with Flensburg in Germany): Link
  • The “Iceland Strategy”: Part 1; Part 2
  • Hang Up and Listen Podcast: Link (3rd segment discusses Nebraska’s rowing program and Title IX)