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Date: 9/6/2017

‘SoCal’, an abbreviation of ‘Southern California’, is the spiritual home of beach handball in the USA and last Saturday and Sunday (Sept 2-3) the 11th Annual SoCal Beach Handball Championship – the largest and longest running, beach handball tournament in the United States of America – took place on Huntington Beach, California, hosted by Los Angeles Team Handball Club.

The weekend saw 18 nations represented with 10 men’s teams and five women’s teams competing for the title at one of the most well-attended events in recent history, highlighting not only the growth of beach handball in America, but around the world.

That growth was seen by the international influence on show on Huntington Beach with nations represented including; Trinidad and Tobago (men’s and women’s teams), Mexico (men’s and women’s teams from Colima and a men’s team from Baja), as well as Anderson Souza Lima - 2010 and 2014 IHF Men’s Beach Handball World Championship-winning Brazilian goalkeeper - and players from both the Australian and New Zealand men’s and women’s teams.

South America was also represented on a strategic level too with Brazilian men’s national team coach Antônio Peixe undertaking the role of Competition Director, bringing a more professional style and approach to the championship which also featured the USA men’s junior team, competing in their first-ever competition.

Peixe also conducted some training sessions with the USA beach handball teams prior to the competition while USA Beach Handball Director of Officiating Garrett Perkins and Head Coach Juliano de Oliveira ran the first-ever USA Beach Handball ‘Referee Certification Course’, more of which can be read HERE.

While the hot and humid weather on the Saturday was not unusual for the time of year in California, the temperature exceeded normal expectations making it one of the hottest weekends of the summer in Southern California with Sunday offering some respite thanks to a cooler breeze and lots of cloud cover.

For fans who could not be there in person at the well-attended event, the championship offered a number of pool games and all the medal matches free to watch online live through Facebook.

The preliminary group stage took place over two days on two courts with over 30 games played, ending with the semi-finals and final four medal matches on Sunday afternoon.

In the women’s competition, San Francisco Cal Heat won 7:5 in the penalty shoot-out against Mexican side Colima, whose men also made the final, but went one step further, winning gold against RIP HC after taking the shoot-out 6-0.

San Francisco Cal Heat player Jean-Marc Junique Froloff has participated in all 11 editions of the tournament to date and has seen it develop over the years.

“This tournament has grown from just a friendly one with mainly regional teams at the first event to an awesome international competition,” he said. “I can’t believe I have been playing in it for more than a decade but I love to come and can compete with, and against, old friends, meet new ones and learn from the best in the nation.”

One of the international competitors was New Zealand women’s beach handball player Jordan Thorstensen who picked up a bronze medal with her side, Tornados (USA/LA Red).

“The tournament was heaps of fun and the USA girls were very welcoming,” she said.
“It’s easy to tell that this group work incredibly hard when it comes to beach handball and I look forward to bringing the rest of my team from New Zealand next year.”

“We are thankful for all the support, referees and tournament equipment from USA Beach Handball,” said Mellissa Knowles de Oliveira, who worked hard to organise the tournament. “Every year the competition gets bigger, better, more polished and professional.  

“We are excited to be able to continue to do what we love for the beach handball community in Southern California, the United States and, now, the world.”

Dennis Berkholtz, Director of USA Beach Handball, was in no doubt about the importance of the event in the growth of beach handball in his country. 

“To bring this level of competition year-after-year to the US has been an amazing thing for the sport,” said Berkholtz, who was a member of the USA handball team who competed at the 1972 Olympics and was coach of the 1976 Olympics USA team.

“USA Beach Handball is happy to support the efforts of Los Angeles Team Handball and local clubs around the country to continue to grow beach handball and be a presence in the international community.”



Preliminary Group
1 San Francisco Cal Heat
2 Colima
3 Tornados (USA/LA Red)
4 Two Points (USA/LA Blue)
5 Trinidad and Tobago

Colima vs Two Points (USA/LA Blue) 2-1 (16:10), (16:8)
San Francisco Cal Heat vs Tornados (USA/LA Red) 2-1 (14:11), (15:12)

Bronze/3rd Place
Two Points (USA/LA Blue) vs Tornados (USA/LA Red) 1-2 (12:14), (8:16)

San Francisco Cal Heat vs Colima 2-1 (15:13), (10:19), [7:5 SO]


1 San Francisco Cal Heat
2 Colima
3 Tornados (USA/LA Red)
4 Two Points (USA/LA Blue)
5 Trinidad and Tobago

Most Valuable Goalkeeper: Staci SELF (Tornados)
Most Valuable Player: Veridiana URESTY (Colima)

Preliminary Group A
1 RIP HC (5-0)
2 Colima (4-1)
3 LA Wizards
4 Baja Pandas
5 Sand Sharks

Preliminary Group B
1 Jacob's Birthday Party (5-0)
2 Cal Heat
3 T&T
4 USA (Junior team)
5 Electric Bird

Colima vs Jacob's Birthday Party 2-1 (18:17), (18:30), [6:0 SO]
RIP HC vs San Francisco Cal Heat 2-1 (12:13), (14:6), [4:1 SO]

San Francisco Cal Heat vs Jacob’s Birthday Party 1-2 (10:29), (14:22)

Colima vs RIP HC 2-1 (21:20), (13:18), [6:0 SO]

1 Colima
3 Jacob’s Birthday Party
4 San Francisco Cal Heat
5 LA Wizards
6 Trinidad and Tobago
7 USA (Junior team)
8 Baja Pandas
9 Electric Birds
10 Sand Sharks
Most Valuable Goalkeeper: Anderson SOUZA LIMA (LA Wizards)
Most Valuable Player: Sayed MORALES DIAZ (Colima)
For more information about the tournament, check their Facebook page HERE. For more information about Beach Handball USA, visit their Facebook page HERE.

Photos: Mellissa Knowles de Oliveira/Various