How are US National Team programs organized?

For many years the U.S. National Teams would train together in the U.S. and then travel overseas periodically for competition. These programs, often referred to as Residency Programs were located in multiple locations to include New Jersey, Colorado Springs, CO, Philadelphia, PA, Atlanta GA, Cortland, NY and Auburn, AL,

Since 2018, there have been no residency programs and the National Teams have adopted a more European style of operations with National Teams meeting periodically for training and competition. This has resulted with teams primarily consisting of American athletes training with European based clubs. And, with most training camps taking place in Europe.

  • Handball FAQ Home Page: Link
  • Direct link to this question: Link

What are the age requirements for Youth and Jr National Team competitions?

The IHF organizes aged based World Championships for both men and women every 2 years. The Men’s Youth (U19) and Men’s Jr (U21) World Championships are held in odd years and the Women’s Youth (U18) and Women’s Jr (U20) World Championships are held in even years. These championships take place in the summer and the timing of these events factor into age based requirements.

  • Age Requirements for World Championships: Calendar years are used to determine the maximum age of participants. In principle an athlete can’t turn (UXX +1) in the calendar year of the tournament. As an example, for the Men’s Youth (U19) World Championships held in 2019, all athletes had to be born in the year 2000 or later. If an athlete had been born in 1999, they would turn 20 years old in 2019 and therefore would be ineligible. Because of this athletes are often identified and grouped by their birth year (e.g. 2000, 2001, etc)
  • Age Requirements for World Championship Qualification: Most continental federations have continental championships that serve as qualification for the World Championships. Depending on the timing for these events the age requirement may shift a year younger. This is intended to make the rosters consistent from qualification to the World Championships. As an example, Europe typically hosts their Men’s European Youth Championship is even years and the event is classified as a (U18) tournament. The nations that qualify then play in the World Championship (U19) event in the following year. The same principle also applies for IHF trophy events that serve as qualification for the World Championships.
  • Specific Age Requirements for Upcoming World Championships
    • 2022 Women’s Youth (U18) WC: Born in 2004 or later
    • 2022 Women’s Jr (U20) WC: Born in 2002 or later
    • 2023 Men’s Youth (U19) WC: Born in 2004 or later
    • 2023 Men’s Jr (U21) WC: Born in 2002 or later
  • Specific Age Requirements for Upcoming IHF Trophy Competitions
    • To be updated when the tournaments are scheduled

  • Handball FAQ Home Page: Link
  • Direct link to this question: Link

How is club competition organized in the United States?

Competition has been mainly restricted to participation in weekend tournaments. Weekend tournaments vary in size and format, but as the name implies, the competition generally consists of a lot of games over a 2 or 3 day weekend. Depending on the format of the tournament games may be shortened to 2×20 minute halves to allow for more games in a time constricted weekend. Often a tournament will consist of two pools of 3 to 4 teams, with the top two teams from each pool advancing to a semifinal crossover, with the winners advancing to the final. Currently, there are no organized leagues in the United States. A number of reasons can be attributed to this shortcoming, but the biggest factors are the small number of clubs and the geographical distances separating them which makes frequent travel for games expensive.

How is Handball organized in the Unites States?

USA Team Handball is the National Governing Body (NGB) for Handball in the United States and is responsible for the sports development and the organization of it’s National Teams. USA Team Handball receives funding and administrative support from the US Olympic Committee, but it is an independent organization. It is also important to note, that USA Team Handball was only recently certified by the USOC in May of 2008, after a tumultuous 2 years that saw the decertification of the previous Federation. For more information check out the USA Team Handball webpage:

Are there any professional clubs in the United States?

No. All teams are amateur. All players are usually expected to contribute funds to the club for gym rental and equipment. Additionally, players are usually responsible for their own travel costs to attend tournaments. Clubs affiliated with a college or school sometimes receive funding to help offset costs. Additionally, the coach might receive a small stipend.

What percentage of Americans are familiar with the sport of handball in the US?

A small percentage for sure and it would be interesting to conduct a nationwide poll as to what level of name recognition the sport has. Such a poll, however, would have to take into account the problems with the sports conflicting name with “wall handball” An educated guess is that only about 5% of Americans even knows that the sport exists.

What is the popularity of handball in the United States?

Handball is a very minor sport in the US and the vast majority of Americans are totally unaware that the sport even exists. Handball is rarely shown on TV in the USA and the only significant coverage has typically been during the Olympic Games.

There are 20 – 40 handball clubs in the United States and they are mostly located in large cities and at some colleges and universities. Clubs typically practice 1 or 2 times a week and participate in weekend tournaments 3 to 4 times a year. Some clubs located in the northeast also particpated in the Northeast Team Handball League.

  • Handball FAQ Home Page: Link
  • Direct link to this question: Link

Most of the world simply identifies Handball as Handball, so why does the United States call the sport Team Handball?

Handball is called Team Handball in the U.S. to distinguish it from another sport called handball which is more well known. This Handball is played with a small rubber ball and is a 1 on 1 or 2 on 2 game that involves players slapping the ball with their hands off a wall. This “wall handball” is played throughout the United States and has a much higher name recognition than the Handball played in Europe and other parts of the world. Referring to Handball as simply Handball in the United States therefore often leads to confusion because most people are only familiar with wall handball.

To distinguish the sport from “Wall Handball” the name Team Handball was adopted. Wall Handball is also played in other parts of the world including Ireland and Canada. To differentiate the sports in those countries, Handball is often referred to as Olympic Handball in Ireland and in Anglophone Canada the sport is sometimes called European Team Handball (ETH).

Wikipedia article on Wall Handball: Link
Wikipedia disambiguation discussion on Handball: Link (Semantic problems are also difficult for Wikipedia to solve)

  • Handball FAQ Home Page: Link
  • Direct link to this question: Link