USA Team Handball IHF Pan Am Handball



Article Credit: International Handball Federation

On the first day of Budapest 2016, spoke with Leila Marchbanks, wife of Vince (Chad) Marchbanks after they recorded their first-ever beach handball world championship win in their first-ever game.

In that interview she said she loved her husband, and as caught up with Vince after the tournament had finished for USA, he returned the feeling. How are you feeling after beating Australia in your last game to finish 11th?

Vince Marchbanks: I’m very pumped, it’s raining so it’s hard to get too hot about it, but that last win felt very good. It’s been a long week; we had a lot of very close losses, but to get that win in the last game felt very good for us. That win against Ukraine in your first-ever match, showed how far you have come as a tea, how good could you be?

Vince Marchbanks: Right now, I think we’re a top six team next time, but in beach handball any team can win and any team can lose. 90% of our games came down to the last shot, unlike in a shootout where it’s a toss-up.

We’ve only been playing together for six months, but with the skill that we have I think we are a top-six team and next time we come back we’re going to prove it, but it’s very tight. What have you learnt as a team in Budapest?

Vince Marchbanks: We don’t have many teams in the USA; it’s just us, so when we’re practising we’re playing ourselves.

We don’t have many chances to play in competitions against other teams and players of our stature, so we came out here and it was our first time playing teams this good, besides the ones in the Pan American championships.

We lost a lot of games but in those games we learned that one mistake can mean the difference between winning and losing; just one dropped pass, one missed shot. It came down to those mistakes in all of our games so we learned to come together.

The weather in the final days brought our team together; we were out there having fun in the rain, splashing around in the puddles, and that brought us together in the last game to win. How tough is it to play beach handball in the rain?

Vince Marchbanks: It is definitely a very intense sport, especially as an outdoor sport. There are elements you have to compensate for - a lot of beach handball is catching the ball in mid-air and you have a split-second to grab a ball.

If it’s raining the ball can slip out of your hands and there’s sand all over the ball so it’s very hard to grasp. When you’re playing outside people understand you’re playing against the elements as well as the other team, and as we learnt today it’s very hard to play in the rain. Has there been one highlight for you at Budapest 2016:

Vince Marchbanks: There are no highlights for me; I have a very short-term memory. I just remember that we won. After any game I forget what happened and I keep going, I remember the mistakes I we made after a loss and we can keep going.

I don’t count points. It’s a team sport; coming together and playing like we do is what it’s all about. Me counting points is taking away from the team. Was Budapest 2016 what you expected?

Vince Marchbanks: This tournament has been far beyond anything I could have imagined. The quality of players and teams here is amazing.

The thing that surprised me the most was how friendly the teams are - beach handball is like a family.

I’ve been playing dodgeball in the United States for a long time and a lot of tournaments you go to and play against other countries and they’re not so friendly, but here everyone is very friendly and that surprised me. What do you hope your appearance and wins at the world championships mean for the future of beach handball in America?

Vince Marchbanks: Our team’s plan is to bring beach handball to the forefront in the United States as people don’t know about it.

I told my boss that I was going to Budapest to play beach handball and he had no idea what I was talking about.

The first step for us is to start beach handball leagues, get more people to come and play. We’ve got to get a women’s team together, we’ve four or five who are willing to play but we need more for a team.

We’ve got to get recognition in the United States and us making it to a world championship will help.  We didn’t place where we wanted to - us placing in the top six would have helped - but just us being here it says a lot.

I have very high hopes that beach handball is going to take off in the States. People are going to love this sport like I love it, like my team loves it. Once they see the videos and the pictures of us playing, us travelling, they are going to want to play too. Your wife and young family were here, how hard has it been with them in your preparation and all the sacrifices you have made?

Vince Marchbanks: I have my wife Leila, my son Jackson and my six-month baby Brandon in Budapest.

I gave a lot to the sport, and for me to give a lot I had to take a lot away from my family; we practised three times a week, so those three-hour practises every week Leila was taking care of the kids.

It reminds me when we went to Venezuela for the Pan Am Games and I was away from them for a whole week and it was very hard, my son was about three months old. It was so hard I said to coach I couldn’t go to Budapest without my family, I couldn’t do it.

It’s been a lot of sacrifice from my wife, I mean to be away from her when the kid is sick, it’s a lot. I put her through a lot but she’s so supportive and has been supporting me in coming here to Budapest and cheering for us. I love her so much.