By Greg James | [email protected]
Team handball is a game that is a mixture of soccer and lacrosse. And, as the name suggests, it’s a team sport with two teams of seven players each (including the goalkeeper) trying to pass the ball with their hands and kick it into the net. opposing team. The team that scores the most goals wins.
And for team handball enthusiasts, Massif Handball SLC is hosting a tournament in Salt Lake City this month.
“I was studying at Auburn University and a friend of mine introduced me to the game,” said Massif Handball SLC member Patrick Halladay. “Turns out my first time was trying out for the US Olympic team. I wasn’t very good, but I learned how to play and now I really like it.
Auburn University in Alabama has one of the largest team handball clubs in the country. Only a handful of colleges have organized clubs, including the Air Force Academy and the US Military Academy (West Point).
The Salt Lake Handball Club has approximately 30 members. They train three or four times a month and have started traveling to compete in tournaments.
“I’m from Guatemala and I played there for the national team for about 12 years,” said Sofia Broadhead. “When I arrived in Utah in 2016, I started looking for a club. The sport is growing in Central America, Brazil and even here in this country.
“I started playing in Brazil when I was 12,” said one of the club’s organizers, Andre Rammi. “Our offices are open, anyone can come and join us. We want people to understand the game. We have several who have never played before.
A small group of players competed in the United States Open National Team Handball Championships in May. Local players teamed up with a team from Los Angeles in order to participate.
“Now we want to represent Utah. We would like everyone to experience this sport. We are having a small tournament next month with a few teams,” Broadhead said.
The Uintah Cup is scheduled for September 24-25 at Utah Soccer Arena, 1475 S. 700 West. There will be men’s and women’s divisions. The Air Force Academy and a team from Denver will take part in the men’s division. The women’s division includes a team based in Los Angeles and a team from San Francisco is expected to compete.
“It will take place on Saturday and Sunday,” Rammi said. “People see this game at the Olympics and they come and join us. It thrives in this area.
“Some of my friends come from different countries. It’s a new game here, but in other countries it’s taught in schools. The game is very popular in Europe. That’s why they always win. There is also beach handball. He has different rules,” Broadhead said.
Luke Nguyen, originally from Vietnam but a graduate of Kearns High School, is a member of the USA Men’s Beach Team. He started playing team handball when he was 12 years old. After moving to Utah at age 16, he made the U.S. National Youth Team. He started playing beach team handball in 2015. He was Most Valuable Goaltender in 2016 and coached the 2019 Pan American Games team. He still lives in Salt Lake City.
Hannah Ross of Pocatello, Idaho is also a member of the National Women’s Beach Team. She has competed with the Salt Lake City club at times.
The US team is working to establish a national college championship and the US national team recently qualified to compete in the upcoming World Cup.
“It’s a game that can help you develop new skills and improve your athleticism. It can help you improve your abilities in other sports,” Rammi said.
“This club is a family affair. They bring all their kids and we have a lot to learn from playing,” Halladay said.
For more information, visit the team Massif Handball SLC Facebook page.