Oceanside CA— The Men’s and Women’s US Elite Beach Handball teams were at the Oceanside Harbor beach, Saturday preparing for next months Pan American Beach Handball Championships.
Team Beach Handball is a fast paced outdoor version of its Olympic counterpart played with teams of four players each. A goal is scored by throwing the ball into the net from behind a red line in the sand. If a player makes a 360 degree spin move as they throw, the goal is worth two points, if not, it’s one point. If the goalie scores, it’s also two points. “At this level, you pretty much have to score two every time or you are going to be left in the dust,” said Darryl Yarbrough, USA Beach Handball Women’s Assistant Coach and Men’s team member.
Coach Yarbrough said he got interested in the game when he saw it in the Olympics. “I tried the indoor game for a little while but it wasn’t for me. I found out about the beach version a few years ago and I’ve been playing ever since.” Darryl said he had never been out of the country before but the game has given him the opportunity to travel around the world playing in tournaments in Venezuela and Europe.
“The athletes come from all walks of life and are dedicated to the sport. Many of our players are world class athletes and rank up their with some of the best players in the world,” said the coach.
According to the www.teamusa.org website, 11 teams from nations across the Americas will participate in the bi-annual competition to be held this year, on Oceanside beaches, March 8-11, 2018. The USA Men are the current Pan American Champions and will be defending their gold medal win. The tournament is also a qualifier for the World Championships in which four teams from each division will qualify to compete in the World Beach Handball Championships hosted in Kazan, Russia, July 2018.
“This is the sport of the future in beach communities here in SoCal and across the country, and the United States is poised to be a leader in the Americas,” said Dennis Berkholtz, USABH Director. “We are honored to be able to host these games with our exceptional community partners who are committed to promoting vibrant, healthy communities and sports lifestyles. It is a win-win for USA Beach Handball.”