JSL/MMA's Strategic Account Executive in Employee Benefits, Ashley Van Ryn, is off to Russia to represent the United States in the World Championships for Beach Handball (please see below). If you haven’t ever seen a game, check it out and cheer on Ashley and Team USA!
The games are taking place July 24 – 29 in Russia. This is the first time ever that the USA Women's Beach Handball Team has qualified, so it's very exciting.
Will we be able to watch the games?
Yes, click here for the livestream broadcast. And check out the schedule below.
Pool Play Schedule: USA Women – Group C (USA, Thailand, Russia, Brazil)
- USA vs Thailand (Tuesday, July 24 @ 3:40 a.m. ET – Court 3)
- USA vs Brazil (Tuesday, July 24 @ 8:40 a.m. ET – Court 2)
- Opening Ceremonies – Tuesday, July 24 @ 10:30 a.m.
- USA vs Russia (Wednesday, July 25 @ 10:30 a.m. ET – Central Court)
Q: How have you been training for it?
Ashley: Lots of early mornings and late evenings. Since I'm not a full-time athlete, the majority of the time I train on my own. I've also been flying out to California most weekends over the past few months to play with my team.
Q. How did you get started playing handball?
Ashley: Watching the 2012 London Olympics while out with friends, I saw handball on TV and was intrigued. I grew up playing a lot of sports and was interested in this sport that looked like a mix of volleyball, basketball, softball/baseball, soccer, lacrosse, and hockey all in one. We all started googling it to learn more, and I discovered there was a local handball club in Atlanta.
I ended up joining the team and was told I had the potential to be really good. So after some practice and local competitions, I tried out for the Women's National Team (for indoor handball) at the Lake Placid Olympic Training Center in January 2013 and made it. Although we did not end up qualifying for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil (only 12 countries can make it), it was a great experience leading up to the games. With the team, I've traveled to and competed against many countries in Europe, Asia, Central America, and South America as well as Puerto Rico and Canada. In many European countries and elsewhere around the world, handball is the second most popular sport next to soccer.
Q. What has the opportunity to play on the Women's National Handball Team meant to you?
Ashley: It's a blessing to represent my country and experience different cultures throughout the world. These experiences have helped shape my perspective, challenged me, and ultimately grown me as a person in all areas of life. It is truly a gift from God, and I am beyond grateful for the team of people who surround me and make this possible! Thank you to my family, colleagues, friends, and church community who continue to encourage and support me in this journey.
To learn more about handball, click here. Or to support Ashley and Team USA, click here.
Note: USA Team Handball is a 501(c) (3) with no financial support from the government. All national teams rely solely on sponsorships and donations from their generous friends, families, and fans around the globe.