USA men to play Canada in three-game handball series at Auburn and Dothan for Alabama State Games

Published: June 01, 2017
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The USA Men's Handball Team will play the Canadian National Team in a three-game series June 9-11 as part of the 2017 Alabama State Games. Matches are scheduled on June 9 from 5-8 p.m. at Auburn University's Student Activities Center; June 10 at 1 p.m. at Northview High School in Dothan; and June 11 from noon-3 p.m. at Auburn's Student Activities Center. All matches are free and open to the public.

"This is a unique opportunity for people to see high level competition of an Olympic sport by two national teams," said USA Team Handball men's coach Javier Garcia Cuesta. "We appreciate Canada making the trip for this special event for Alabama."

The Auburn University School of Kinesiology is home to the USA Team Handball Men's and Women's National Teams and is a U.S. Olympic Training Site, specializing in sport performance research. The school assists the Alabama Sports Festival, or ASF, Foundation in organizing the youth handball tournament, bringing teams from Auburn, Dothan and Enterprise where it has conducted handball clinics throughout the year. Many of the USA players assist with the clinics, sharing their skills and knowledge of the game with young athletes.

The Alabama Sports Festival Foundation added Olympic team handball to the 2016 Alabama State Games with great success. Back for its second year, the youth handball tournament this year will take place all day on June 10 at Northview High School in Dothan. Beginning at 9 a.m., third- through seventh-graders will compete in a round-robin tournament with the top team from each pool advancing to the next round. A championship game for both the elementary and middle school divisions will take place in the late afternoon, with gold and silver medals awarded to the first and second place teams, as well as bronze medals for the third place teams.

"The handball tournament last year was a blast," said Anthony Terling, vice president of the ASF Foundation. "The kids loved it, the parents loved it and the spectators loved it. We are excited to have such a unique and fun Olympic sport be part of our competition."

"It is exciting to see the sport growing," said tournament director and Auburn alumna Reita Clanton. "More and more schools and programs around the state are asking us to conduct handball clinics, which have been a huge success. We provide the program a set of balls and goals that Auburn University students built with materials provided by the International Handball Federation so that they can continue playing."

Clanton participated in the 1984 Olympics as a member of the first U.S. women's handball team and was an assistant coach for the U.S. handball team in the 1996 Olympics.

Chuck Cooper, physical education teacher at Pick Elementary School in Auburn, plans to bring four or five teams from his school to the state games. Teams from Ogletree Elementary School and Yarborough Elementary School in Auburn also will participate, along with a few schools from the Wiregrass region.

"We've held open gym dates and I'm looking to start a youth league fall 2017 at Frank Brown Recreation Center in Auburn," Cooper said. "The kids have really improved their skills and are looking forward to the state games."

For more information about the Alabama State Games, go to www.alagames.net. To find out more about handball in Auburn, go to https://aub.ie/handball. To learn more about USA Team Handball, go to www.usateamhandball.org.

For questions concerning the Alabama State Games, contact Anthony Terling, Alabama Sports Festival Foundation, at anthony.terling@asffoundation.org. For questions regarding team handball, contact Kristin Roberts, Auburn University School of Kinesiology, at kar0032@auburn.edu. The official co-host partners of the Alabama State Games XXXV are the cities of Dothan and Ozark and the counties of Dale and Houston.