Jun 24, 2016
Groundbreaking for Goalball Resident Program
June 24, 2016 - Fort Wayne, IN
The United States Association of Blind Athletes and Turnstone broke ground this morning on permanent housing for the U.S. Men’s Goalball Resident Program in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The project will include two houses with six bedrooms each that will be used for six resident athletes and visiting athletes from around the world.
Established last October, the U.S. Men’s Goalball Resident Program allows six athletes and a resident coach to train full-time and live together – something Team USA counterparts like Lithuania and Brazil have had for some time. This is the first time a resident program has been established in the U.S. for the sport of goalball. Currently, the resident athletes reside in housing at IPFW and ride to Turnstone each day.
“Housing at Turnstone will allow athletes to focus more intently on training and will also allow us to host teams from across the U.S. and across the world at Turnstone’s top-rate facility,” said Mark Lucas, USABA executive director.
The project is fully funded by private donations, and is a collaborative venture supported by USABA, The Gibney Family Foundation, Lions Clubs International Foundation, Indiana State Lions Clubs and Turnstone.
The groundbreaking ceremony took place at 10:00am across from the Plassman Athletic Center at Turnstone where the building will start next month. Mike Mushett, Turnstone CEO, opened the ceremony by giving an overview of the project. “Site preparations are scheduled to start in mid-July with occupancy around September 1.”
Mark Lucas thanked Michael Kinder and Sons, O’Neal Excavating, Adventure Homes, Premier Builders and Engineering Resource for their assistance on the project, as well as the Turnstone Board of Directors for their vision, commitment and support in making the Goalball Resident Housing Project a reality. He also thanked Ron Plassman for his support of the Plassman Athletic Center and being an integral part of establishing the U.S. Men’s Resident Program in Fort Wayne, and Past President of the International Association of Lions Clubs, Wayne Madden for supporting the project with grant funding.
Alicia McConnell and Katie Baker from the United States Olympic Committee were also in attendance as were members of the Indiana Lions Club and Past Director of the International Association of Lions Clubs, Dave Fiandt.
Three of the six current resident athletes will travel to Rio in September to represent Team USA at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games.
USABA Executive Director, Mark Lucas, addresses the crowd in front of Turnstone's Plassman Athletic Center.
Jun 01, 2016
U.S. Goalball Teams Named to Compete in Rio 2016 Paralympic Games
National Goalball Team Head Coaches Ken Armbruster and Mike Legé have named the Women’s and Men’s teams that will represent Team USA at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro September 7-18.
Both teams will play in a round-robin tournament format beginning Thursday, September 8. Games continue into the weekend and the following week. Medal games are scheduled for Friday, September 16. Click here for the full Rio 2016 Paralympic Games schedule.
The Women’s Paralympic team is comprised of six players, four of whom have competed in at least one Paralympic Games. Collectively, the women have appeared in 15 Paralympic Games.
“The team is really looking forward to the competition they will face in Rio,” said women’s head coach Ken Armbruster. “With the exception of China, we’ve played against or seen every team we’ll be playing in Rio. I don’t believe there is a clear favorite. We match up well against all of the teams and our experience should be a plus for us as several of the teams will be making their first Paralympic appearance.” The Women’s team will compete in Group C against Algeria, Brazil, Japan and Israel.
The Men’s National Goalball Team also boasts Paralympic experience. Half of the players named to the Men’s team have competed in at least one Paralympic Games.
“This is a very determined team,” said men’s head coach Mike Legé. “We have worked very hard all year refining technical skills and emphasizing teamwork. We’re looking forward to competing against the best teams in the world.” The Men’s team will compete in Group B against China, Finland, Lithuania and Turkey.
The United States was the first country to qualify both teams for Rio 2016 through competition. Brazil qualified both teams as the host country. Twenty men’s and women’s teams will compete for gold this September. Follow the teams’ journey to Rio on Twitter, Facebook and the USABA website.
Rio 2016 Women’s Goalball 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.)
Rio 2016 Men’s Goalball Team
Joseph Hamilton (Sacramento, Calif.)
Andrew Jenks (Wilmington, Del.)
John Kusku (Commerce Township, Mich.)
Tyler Merren (Coral Springs, Fla.)
Matthew Simpson (Smyrna, Ga.)
Daryl Walker (Jacksonville, Fla.)
May 12, 2016
U.S. Men’s Goalball Team Gains New Perspective from Rio Test Events
By: Amanda Weldon
The U.S. Men’s Goalball National Team traveled to Rio de Janeiro to compete in two tournaments at Future Arena, the venue to be used later this year during the Paralympic Games. The tournaments served as an opportunity for the Rio 2016 local organizing committee to assess the functionality of the facility as well as a test run for volunteers, victory ceremony logistics and technical procedures, and gave teams a chance to give the check out the venue for themselves.
Team USA was one of four teams invited to compete at the official Rio 2016 Goalball Test Event May 4-5. The local organizing committee also invited national teams from Finland, Lithuania and Brazil. Each team finished as the top four teams at the 2014 IBSA World Goalball Championships. After training at the venue the morning after they arrived, the U.S. men’s team played Brazil, Finland and Lithuania in a single round robin format. The two teams that emerged with the most points from pool play would meet in the final.
After a tie with Finland, the U.S. team fell to Brazil and Lithuania to finish fourth in the first tournament.
“All of the teams were good,” said U.S. team player Matt Simpson. “Though our results on paper were not what we wanted them to be, we came here with bigger ends in mind than just winning one or two tournaments.”
“For us, the primary focus was for the athletes to explore the floor, get used to the layout and sounds of the venue, experience Brazilian crowds and experience the rigid protocols of Paralympic competition,” said U.S. Association of Blind Athletes’ Goalball High-Performance Director, John Potts. “We also wanted all the players to get as much time on the court as possible so we could set training baselines and adjust based on how the floor worked.”
Adjustments were made for the tournament that followed. On Saturday, competition continued in Future Arena with the 2016 Rio Open Men’s Goalball Event with two additional teams (Sweden and Turkey) added to the roster. After two days of practice in the venue, Team USA was already implementing adjustments based on experience at the initial test event and finished the Rio Open tournament with silver.
“It was a great experience overall,” said U.S. player Joseph Hamilton. “As far as goalball, it gave us an opportunity to play on the Paralympic floor that we’ll be playing on in September.”
The U.S. Men’s Goalball National Team is leaving Brazil with a better understanding of how to prepare for the Paralympic Games in September.
“We’ll also need to be ready for the buzz – the pressure of performing on the international stage and being able to focus despite things like crowd noise and warm temperatures,” added Hamilton.
The men’s team returned stateside this week to continue training. Many of the National Team players, including Simpson, train full-time with the USABA Goalball Resident Program at Turnstone in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
U.S. Men’s and Women’s Goalball National Teams will compete with 14 different countries for gold at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Pictured: U.S. Men's National Team group photo at awards for the Rio Open May 6-9. All six players have their silver medals around their necks as they stand with Coach Matthew Boyle and John Potts on each side. Photo courtesy of Bruno Miani.CBDV.Inovafoto.
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