FIRST TIME IN EUROPE: New York City THC to play in London! | Handball Planet

FIRST TIME IN EUROPE: New York City THC to play in London!

New York against London – sounds interesting, but when you say HANDBALL it’s even more of that. Before the clash at the Olympic venue in London – Copper Box, made an interview about all the aspects of USA handball with the New York City and USA NT goalkeeper, Ivan Ignjatovic:

– As most people around the world know handball in USA is not as popular as any other minor mainstream sport. It’s mostly played by expats who either have moved to make a better life in USA, and have brought the game with them from Europe, or they are curious American athletes who love the action and intensity of the sport and believe they could represent USA in major sporting event as Olympics.

About 50 teams in USA…

– The sport itself its considered an amateur sport and it’s regulated by USATH which is the National Governing Body for the sport, and certified by IHF. There are around 30 men’s clubs around the country and around 16 women’s clubs. The youth system of competitions do not exist, but there is a Collegiate competition between 6 college teams to announce the College National Champions.

New York City THC are the biggest force…

Our club New York City THC plays in the Northeast region, which is the only handball league in the country. Other regions play regional qualifiers, or just tournaments during the year. We have been champions of our league for 8-years in a row, and in the past 5 years we won US National Championship 4 times, and every tournament we have participated in. In the past two years we have had players from 47 different countries play with New York City HC. That’s where our slogan The World’s Handball Club came from. We are a truly diverse group of people. New York City Team Handball Club was formed in 1973. It was composed of immigrants, temporary workers of United Nation and anybody who wanted to practice and learn the sport. Our practices were held in the United Nation school gym. From the beginning the club carried men as well as womens teams. Loyalty, enthusiasm and friendship allowed the club to survive, and later grow. In 1992 the team moved to Brooklyn, and in 2007 we expanded in New York City. New York City is all about different cultures living together, and New York City Team Handball Club is the epitome of what New York represents. We have people joining from all over the world (Poland, Estonia, Russia, Serbia, Montenegro, France, Switzerland, Argentina, Japan, Netherlands, Turkey, Brasil, Spain, Germany, Ukraine, China and many more), which helps us learn more about each others culture. It’s a place where diversity rules.


– We are also organizers of the only and largest handball event in the country. New York City’s “Big Apple” event is an annual international team handball tournament that brings together players from all over the world to compete in the largest promotional gathering in USA of some of the best team handball players and coaches of the world. It’s an opportunity for New York City sports fans to have a glimpse of the second most popular team sport in Europe right in their doorstep.


The Big Apple international tournament is a joint collaboration between Teamsportreisen, and New York City Team Handball Club. It’s a unique opportunity for people from all over the world to play handball, celebrate New Year’s Eve and enjoy everything the greatest city in the world has to offer. Having players like Wislander, Richardson, Lovgren, Masip, Vranjes, Fritz, Djomba, Svenson, Sprem, Hens, Christiansen and many more who have won Olympic, World and European Championships gold medals come to New York City to play handball and celebrate New Years Eve is a big deal for the sport in general. These guys resemble the US basketball Dream Team from 1996 Olympics – dominant throughout their careers, and true athletes that love the sport, who continue to help our mission in building awareness and promoting the game of team handball here in New York and US.

This year Big Apple is on Dec 28-29, 2013.


The games in London against Great Britain Olympic team, and England’s best team London GD were planned last year during the Olympics. Initially as just an idea, and a step forward to building a relationships between two top clubs from England and USA, on September 8, 2013 this will become a reality. It’s going to be the first time New York City HC plays a handball game across the Atlantic, and it happens to be for the 40th year anniversary.


The team practices twice a week, and has different level of players. We have former professional players who have played mostly in Europe, and in Asia. The level of play in our club, considering it’s an amateur sport and not played every day it resembles lower 2nd division of Bundesliga. One thing is for sure that anyone who plays handball in New York City is very passionate about the game, and they will give 100% each and every game. All our efforts are done volunterally, and we all pay to play this game.


Lewis Howes is a former football player, who decided to give it a shot in handball. He moved from Ohio to NYC to join our club to learn the game. Being in a group of so many Europeans, and experienced players we were able to help Lewis learn the game, and within 1-year we helped him join the USA Men’s National Team. This past month he had a tryout with Ademar Leon in Spain, and he was called back to join the team. He is still a player of our club, and will join the team in the trip to London.


As far as the USA National Team, this year hopes are really high to qualify for 2015 World Championship in Qatar. Few of our players all from former Yugoslavia have been called to represent USA, and hopefully help them qualify for the first time to WC since 2001. It’s a battle for 3 spots from the entire Americas where the favorites are Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Greenland and Cuba if they participate. It’s a tough road to Qatar, but this year USA is determined to give it a shot, and hopefully gain a spot.


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