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Handball: the Montpellier club develops a partnership in New York

What if handball became an important sport in the United States? It is in any case the wish of the Montpellier Handball (MHB), emblematic team of the French championship (Liqui Moly StarLigue), whose president Julien Deljarry and assistant coach David Degouy were in New York in mid-January as part of a partnership with a local club, the New York City Team Handball.

« This is the third time we have organized training in New York since December 2021. We have already held two winter camps and one summer last June. The objective is both to increase the power of the club’s players, and to introduce the practice to the Americans.explains David Degouy, 42, who is also the director of the MHB academy.

“100% of American clubs are amateurs”

The first contacts between the two clubs took place in 2018, when NYC Team Handball qualified for the Super Globean annual tournament that brings together the best teams from every region of the world. “They prepared the competition at home in Montpellier. We did training and friendly matches with them, and the current went well.says David Degouy. “100% of American clubs are currently amateurs, with NYC Team Handball as the backbone. Handball is mainly developed in the northeastern United States and in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is still practiced by a majority of Europeans.adds the coach.

At the international level, the American men’s team won its first-ever World Cup victory in January, in a competition it returned to after a 22-year absence. “ There is a good dynamic of club development across the United States, both at the men’s and women’s level, and which comes mainly from individual initiatives. But given the size of the country, there is a need to coordinate events and competitions,” explains David Degouy.

Les JO de Los Angeles en ligne de mire

Beyond helping the New York club to professionalize, the objective of the MHB is also to send young people from its academy to play and improve in the United States. “We also give ourselves the opportunity to spot talent on site. We are currently discussing with a young left-hander born in 2003, who should come and spend ten days in Montpellier between now and May, where he will be able to train under professional conditions”, details David Degouy. ” We are also in discussion with the Hoboken Institute of Technology to develop summer camps in 2024. We will thus be able to welcome many young people for several days, who would come from all over the United States.

If the enthusiasm of the MHB is such, it is because Los Angeles is preparing to welcome the Summer Olympics in 2028. What both boost the popularity of handball in the United States, and develop the image of the MHB, which is already a reference in France and Europe. “We hope that there will be at least one player from New York selected for the Olympics. Until then, we would like to bring our professional team in 2025 for friendly matches in the US, comments the coach. The objective is also to be able to attract sponsors, and why not, eventually, to support NYC Team Handball in the creation of a minor league in the United States”.

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