Jul 20, 2015

Men’s National Resident Goalball Team Program Announcement





TO:  ALL U.S. Goalball Men’s National Team, Talent Pool, Emerging, and Military Athletes
From:  Mark Lucas, Executive Director
Copy: John Potts; USABA Goalball High Performance Manager, Head Coach; Mike Lege and Assistant Coach;  Matthew Boyle
Date: July 20, 2015
Re:  Men’s National Resident Goalball Team Program Announcement

The United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) has created a long-term residential goalball program for Men’s National Goalball Team members, development team members and emerging goalball athletes in partnership with the Turnstone in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The Resident Program has been created to enable male goalball athletes who have demonstrated the capacity to play on the Men’s National Team the opportunity to increase the chances of realizing that potential through participation in a comprehensive, full-time training program. The Resident Program is appropriate for athletes committed to a full-time training plan in a small group setting under the leadership of USABA and Turnstone Staff. Athletes accepted as part of the program will reside in housing facilities at Turnstone; Ft. Wayne, IN. Specific training and competition will be geared to individual athlete needs, but generally will include 5 days of court time per week and a rigorous in and out of season individual strength and conditioning training plan.

Accepted athletes (refer to application and athlete agreement) who desire to enter the Resident Program must commit to the full Resident Program period. All resident athletes will be required to apply annually.  Natural break periods will be built into the Resident Program training cycles, but athletes should be prepared to commit to living and training in the Resident Program in Ft. Wayne, IN through October 2016.

All interested candidates must submit a sports resume and one page cover letter to USABA High Performance Manager John Potts at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Acceptance to the Resident Program will be at the sole discretion of USABA staff and men’s national coaches. All positions in the Resident Program may not necessarily be filled.

• Be a current U.S. Citizen who is eligible to represent the U.S. in the Paralympic Games
• Have completed High School or earned an equivalent degree
• Take one college level class per semester and maintain at least a 2.2 GPA, or work, or volunteer at least 5 hours per week
• Speak at a local service club at least four times per year (at least 2 at an Indiana Lion’s Club)
• Be willing to submit to a complete health profile coordinated by USOC Sports Medicine including thorough medical history and comprehensive physical examination

• Space availability
• Relevant performance data from current quadrennium
• Athlete’s current “home” training environment
• Potential for the athlete to make the 2016 Rio Paralympics or future international events
• Impact of the goalball Resident Program on the athlete’s goalball potential
• Athlete’s desire and willingness to commit fully to training in the Resident Program

** USABA may add additional athletes after the application deadline(s) and start date(s) until maximum program slots are filled as approved by the Goalball High Performance Director

• July 17, 2015 – Application period begins
• August 9, 2015 – All applications for resident program are due (email submissions only)
• August 18, 2015 – Applicants will be notified of their status/acceptance into the program
• October 1, 2015 – Projected start date

USABA has established a Resident Program at Turnstone through the 2016 Paralympic Games and beyond. The Resident Program is directed by the USABA staff and Men’s goalball coaches. USABA staff will be supported by Turnstone staff and other contract staff including nutrition, strength and conditioning and sports medicine.

Participation in the Resident Program does not entitle the athlete to participate in National Team or Team USA roster activities, including the World Championships, the Paralympic Games, or other major international competitions. In order to be named to these competitions, teams, or rosters, an athlete must qualify through the respective selection procedures. Participation in the program does not affect national team status or any of the related benefits. Participation in the Resident Program is voluntary and is contingent upon agreement to and compliance with the specific terms and conditions of the Resident Program.

Athletes accepted to the Resident Program will be eligible to receive the following benefits:
• Residence in a housing facility which includes furnishings, appliances, internet and utilities
• Meal support
• Goalball facility use
• Access to strength and conditioning
• Day-to-day training led by the coaching staff
• Access to sports medicine

Each athlete participating in the Resident Program is required to:
• Cover expenses for moving to Fort Wayne (airfare, gas, shipping costs, etc.)
• Commit to the full term of the Resident Program, from start date through the 2016 Paralympic Games
• Agree to and follow the training program defined by the coaching staff for that athlete
• Develop short, mid, and long-term performance markers with the coaching staff, pursue achievement of those markers, and keep a written log of training and results as required by coaching staff.
• Pay a nominal monthly program fee (refer to Athlete Agreement for further information)
• Attend training sessions, competitions and other team activities (meetings, media training, community appearances, Turnstone special events, etc.) as directed by the coaching staff
• Participate in all sport science testing, sport psychology sessions and nutrition counseling as directed by the coaching staff
• Wear USABA and Team USA uniforms, competition wear and other clothing while training, and at official competitions and functions as directed by the High Performance Director.
• Provide clothing and equipment appropriate for training and competition, except when required to wear USABA provided uniforms and competition wear
• Agree to and abide by the National Team Athlete Agreement
• Agree to and abide by the rules as set forth by Turnstone and USABA

A review will be conducted for each athlete in the program by the coaching staff and the High Performance Director every three months to collectively develop goals for the athlete and make program adjustments as necessary.

Athlete participation in the Resident Program, while intended to be long-term lasting through the 2016 Paralympic Games, may be terminated at any time by USABA.

Removal from the Resident Program may result from any reason determined valid by USABA including the following:
• Failure to meet the requirements to qualify for the national team (annually) or meet defined standards
• Failure to meet the performance markers or other elements of the athlete’s personal performance plan
• Inability to train over an extended period of time due to long-term illness, serious injury or personal related issues
• Failure to comply with the USABA and Turnstone Code of Conduct and if a National Team member the USOC Code of Conduct for U.S. Paralympics National Teams and U.S. Paralympics Programs), the resident program rules, or the requirements of the Resident Program
• Persistent incompatibility with the team mates, staff or coaches, Turnstone staff and/or other resident athletes that detracts from the training or performance of any member of the community
• Any conduct that is deemed by USABA to be detrimental to the Resident Program or is likely to bring the athlete, USABA or the Turnstone into public disrepute
• Any doping violation
• Violation of local, state and federal laws

Notice of removal from the Resident Program will be provided to the athlete in writing and will be effective immediately upon such notice or as specified in the notice. If the athlete wishes to contest removal from the Resident Program the athlete shall be entitled to a hearing pursuant to the USABA Grievance and Complaint Procedures.

Jun 23, 2015

USABA Celebrates Olympic Day Across the Nation

Much has changed since the first modern Olympic Games were held in Athens, Greece, in 1896. Sporting events have been added to the Olympic program, the Paralympic program was introduced in 1960, there has been evolution of equipment and uniforms. but the ideals remain the same. On June 23, each year, we celebrate those ideals – Fair Play, Perseverance, Respect and Sportsmanship – and promote fitness and well-being.

Each year, over 160 countries participate in more than 1,500 events around the world. In the U.S., the following are only a few of the 700 registered events that have or will take place in the month of June to celebrate Olympic Day. Events range from small gatherings to large, city-wide events.

This year, USABA celebrated Olympic Day throughout the month of June with multiple events across the nation.

Group Photo on the dock in front of the Charles River with Olympic Day flag  We started off the month by rowing on the Charles River with Community Rowing Inc., in current U.S. bid city, Boston, Mass. Olympic Rowers Ellen Minzner (’92 and ’96) and Andrea Thies (’92 and ’96) conducted an Adaptive Rowing Camp for 13 participants from around the country to improve fitness levels and refine technique. The daily program also consisted of educational workshops during recovery time, on Sports Psychology and Nutrition. USABA rowers learned about the importance of positive self-talk and eating the right foods before and after workouts from local experts. At the end of the camp, the group competed in a time trial race to practice learned techniques in a race environment.

The following week, Northwest Association for Blind Athletes (NWABA) in Vancouver, Wash. Partnered with Washington State School for the Blind to compete in a two-day Olympic Experience. Over 30 people who are visually impaired participated in a sprint triathlon June 11-12. Paralympic Swimmer, Jen Butcher (’00 and ’04), attended the celebration and encouraged athletes to follow their passion for sport. “It was wonderful working with these students to help them understand the determination and effort it takes to be an elite athlete,” said Stacey Gibbins, Director of Programs at NWABA.

“NWABA wanted the students to feel success and joy throughout the day, in hopes to start a fire in them to reach further for their wildest dreams. Our mission is to provide life-changing opportunities through sports and physical activity for people who are blind and visually impaired. This event helped us further our mission to this community of students,” said Gibbins.

In Boulder, Colorado, USABA Sports Club partner, Lending Sight, hosted a Track and Field meet on June 18. More than 15 Olympic athletes participated in the celebration and supported the event as volunteers. Deb Conley, Founder of Lending Sight, said her goal in hosting the meet was to create “an inviting atmosphere for people of all ages to meet Olympians and converse about persevering in life and sport.”

The meet was held at Potts Field on the campus of the University of Colorado. It was an “all comers” meet meaning anyone, of any age, could enter to compete. “I have always been struck by the age range of entrants, literally from 2 to 95 years old,” said Road Runners Volunteer Coordinator, John Bridges.

“The volunteers we have are extremely dedicated and loyal to the sport,” Bridges said, speaking of the many Road Runners who help the meet succeed. “Not everyone can make an Olympic team, but we can all be a part of this.” For more photos from the Lending Sight Olympic Day event, click here.

This past weekend, Olympic Day was incorporated into the 2015 USABA Goalball National Championship tournament in Atlanta, Georgia. Between games and during meals, athletes and spectators had the opportunity to meet Jen Demby (Team Handball ’96), Lisa Eager (Team Handball ‘96), and Vincent Martin (Track & Field ’96 and ’04). Additionally, 13 Paralympians were in attendance, playing in the tournament or coaching their respective club teams. “We are very lucky to have so many Paralympians still involved in the sport of goalball,” said John Potts, High Performance Director for USABA.

Today, June 23, the Center for the Visually Impaired in Atlanta, Georgia will celebrate Olympic Day with swimming relays today during their summer camp programming. Seventeen campers, 6 volunteers and 5 staff will participate in the relays, watch Olympic videos and interview Paralympic athletes. This is the second year CVI has celebrated Olympic Day with their summer camp.

As celebrations continue, we reflect on the Olympic ideals which Pierre de Coubertin and his first International Olympic Committee established 121 years ago. Since the first modern Olympic Games were staged in Athens, Greece, the Olympics have become the premier symbol of fair play, perseverance, respect and sportsmanship. At USABA, we share in the vision to uphold and promote these principles by bringing out the champion in every athlete who is blind and visually impaired.

For more information on Olympic Day celebrations in the U.S. or to find an event, visit, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), or follow and join the social conversation using the #OlympicDay hashtag. Additional Olympic Day resources can be found on the International Olympic Committee’s website, 

Jun 12, 2015

USA Goalball Teams Named to Compete in 2015 Parapan American Games


Colorado Springs, Colo. (June 15, 2015) – National Goalball Team Head Coaches Ken Armbruster and Mike Legé have named the Women’s and Men’s teams, respectively, who will represent Team USA at the Parapan American Games in Toronto August 8-15, 2015.

Both teams will play in a round robin tournament format beginning Sunday, August 9 at 12:45 p.m. EST. Games continue throughout the week with semi-final and medal games being held on Friday, August 14 and Saturday, August 15. Click here for the full 2015 Parapan American Games Goalball schedule.

The Women’s Parapan American team is comprised of 6 players, 4 of whom have competed in at least one Paralympic Games. Collectively, the women have appeared in 15 Paralympic Games.

“The team has a great mix of experience, talent and enthusiasm,” said Ken Armbruster.  “We have had two successful international tournaments this year, in Finland and Sweden, which provided crucial experience for the young ladies as well as getting the veterans working together.”

The Women’s team will compete against Brazil, Canada, Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador. “I expect the usual tough competition in Toronto from our Americas rivals, Canada and Brazil, and we look forward to matching up against the first time entries from South and Central America,” said Armbruster.

Jen Armbruster has been to six Paralympic Games and will serve as the team captain for the Women's team in Toronto. She called the Parapan American Games "a great competition to end the 2015 season.” “We are also excited to see some new countries that we have not seen often or at all,” she added.

Although not as seasoned as the Women’s National Team, the Men’s National Team also boasts Paralympic experience. Half of the players named to the Men’s team have competed in at least one Paralympic Games including Donte Mickens who won bronze with the 2004 team in Athens.

“The team was selected based on their playing ability during the last couple of months and the experience each one will bring to the team, said Coach Mike Legé. “This is an experienced team and we are looking to play and perform at our best while in Toronto.”

While most countries are still seeking qualification at the Parapan American Games for the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games, both U.S. and Brazil’s Men’s and Women’s National Teams have already qualified. The United States was the first country to qualify both teams for Rio. Brazil qualified both teams as the host country. “Having already secured our slot in Rio, this is a great opportunity for the team to try even more combinations on the floor,” said Jen Armbruster. “It also gives us a chance to live together in an atmosphere similar to what we will see at the Paralympic Games.”

Women’s Team
Jen Armbruster (Portland, Ore.)
Lisa Czechowski (Tucson, Ariz.)
Amanda Dennis (Peachtree City, Ga.)
Marybai Huking (Plain City, Utah)
Eliana Mason (Beaverton, Ore.)
Asya Miller (Portland, Ore.)

Men’s Team
Joseph Hamilton (Sacramento, Calif.)
Andrew Jenks (Wilmington, Del.)
John Kusku (Commerce Township, Mich.)
Donte Mickens (Delray Beach, Fla.)
Matthew Simpson (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
Daryl Walker (Jacksonville, Fla.)

Follow the team’s journey to Toronto on Twitter, Facebook and the USABA website.



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