U.S. Goalball Head Coaches have named the teams that will represent Team USA at the 2018 IBSA Goalball World Championships to be held in Malmö, Sweden June 3-8, 2018. The tournament will serve as Team USA’s first opportunity to qualify its men’s and women’s goalball teams for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.
In 2014, both U.S. Men and Women earned places on the podium (Women: 1st, Men: 3rd) to qualify to compete at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. In Rio, U.S. Men earned silver and U.S. Women earned bronze. Eight of the athletes who helped Team USA earn those medals will be playing on the court this summer in Sweden.
Both teams have new names on their rosters – Grej Pesjaka (Los Angeles, Calif.), Josh Welborn (Salt Lake City, Utah) and Calahan Young (Irwin, Penn.) will represent U.S. Men for the first time at a World Championships and Bryanna Stubbert (Oceanside, Calif.) will also compete in her first World Championships for the women’s team.
“We’re proud of the strength and depth of our goalball program here in the U.S.,” said Matthew Boyle, U.S. Men’s Head Coach. “We’ve turned over 50% of our men’s team since Rio, which was less than two years ago. Worlds will serve as several players’ first experience in a big international event. We couldn’t be more excited.”
“I’m very excited about the team we are taking to Sweden,” said Jake Czechowski, U.S. Women’s Head Coach. “Our training has been outstanding and the team will be ready to go. I have no doubt that this will be the most competitive event our team has ever attended and am confident we will rise to the occasion. We are going to be very difficult to beat.”
Teams finishing in 1st, 2nd and 3rd places in both the men’s and women’s division at World Championships this summer will qualify to compete for their country in Tokyo. Japan has an automatic qualification as host nation.
Sixteen men’s teams and 12 women’s teams will compete in the tournament. Each division has been divided in half to create two pools of teams in each division. In January, nations were drawn by the local organizing committee for each of the pools. The U.S. Men will enter round robin play in Group B which also includes Brazil, Canada, Germany, Iran, Egypt, Czech Republic and Japan. The U.S. Women will compete against China, Algeria, Canada, Greece and Brazil in Group D.
Round robin play begins June 3 at the Baltiska Hallen in Malmo. On June 7, teams progress to quarterfinals and will then compete in semifinals and finals on June 8. Further tournament details are available on the event website: http://www.wcg18.se/. Follow teams on social media for updates as they train: U.S. Men’s Goalball on Twitter, U.S. Men’s Goalball on Facebook, U.S. Women’s Goalball on Twitter, U.S. Women’s Goalball on Facebook.
Joe Hamilton (Sacramento, Calif.)*
Calahan Young (Irwin, Penn.)
John Kusku (Commerce Township, Mich.)*
Daryl Walker (Jacksonville, Fla.)*
Josh Welborn (Salt Lake City, Utah)
Grej Pesjaka (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Coach: Matthew Boyle (Fort Wayne, Ind.)
Asya Miller (Portland, Ore.)*
Amanda Dennis (Peachtree City, Ga.)*
Bryanna Stubbert (Oceanside, Calif.)
Eliana Mason (Beaverton, Ore.)*
Lisa Czechowski (Fort Wayne, Ind.)*
Marybai Huking (Plain City, Utah)*
Coach: Jake Czechowski (Fort Wayne, Ind.)
Former U.S. Goalball High-Performance Director, John Potts, will serve as Team Leader for both teams.
* denotes Paralympic medalist