CalHeat: "It's truly a World Cup experience" - Partille Cup
Partille World Cup

CalHeat: "It's truly a World Cup experience"

San Francisco CalHeat will come back with three teams this summer.

The American club will participate in Partille World Cup for the third time. They see many upsides with the tournament and are so happy to be back with more teams this time.
– The interest for the tournament is really high in our club, as the players that have attended already tell the new kids stories about it and the families share their experiences. The word gets around of what a fantastic event it is for everyone, says Martin Bilello, coach and youth development director at the club.

Martin Bilello tells us that their intention has always been to grow from year to year in terms of participating teams.
– Last year we came back after the pandemic with a B18 team and this year we wanted to come back with more. That's why we’re bringing a B18 team again, with more players this time, and participating for the second time in the B15 category. Our third team this year is a mix of USA players that are based out of the U.S. but want to play together as a team, so we gave them the opportunity to do so in the B18 category as well. We tried really hard to bring a girls team too, but we couldn't get enough players for it. Rest assured we will try again next year, he says.

This will be your third time participating in Partille World Cup. What do you like about the tournament?
– The level of competition is very high, and you see teams from all over the world, so it's truly a World Cup experience, but with the added friendship and camaraderie that only handball can bring. Especially coming from the U.S., it's very important for us to show our players how handball is played and lived in the rest of the world, and Partille World Cup is the best way of doing that.
He believes that the players develop a lot by coming to Europe and getting to face many good teams.
– The team prepares and practices for several months before we take the trip across the ocean, and the entire team is eager to compete and measure themselves with the best in the world, as we strive to get better every season. Once we arrive in Gothenburg, it's easy to coalesce as a unit and feel that you are representing your country on the world stage. That brings the unity that every team needs to face challenges, says Martin Bilello.

Is the handball growing as a sport in the US?
– I do believe that handball is growing in the U.S., thanks in big part to the efforts of USA Team Handball and all its clubs. We need to keep developing handball in the youth ages as currently the San Francisco Bay Area is the only one with a competitive youth league, but other clubs are making efforts to reach out to the youth in their communities and show them what handball has to offer. We have a long way to go to get to the levels of popularity that other sports enjoy, but we're on the right track, he says.



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