July 23, 2014
CHICAGO – Former UIC softball player Courtney Heeley was recently chosen to be a part of USA Team Handball following the Women's Residency Program tryouts at Auburn University’s Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum in Auburn, Ala. Heeley was selected among 14 athletes in attendance and is the only known former UIC student-athlete to compete with USA Team Handball.
"I feel so honored to have this opportunity to continue playing sports and represent the United States," Heeley said. "I already miss the camaraderie of being a part of a team and pushing each other to be better athletes. There are a lot of nerves since it’s a new sport for me, but I am excited to get to Auburn and join the team.”
Heeley started playing handball just recently after she was recruited by USA Team Handball to try the sport. With a softball, soccer and volleyball background, Heeley began practicing with the Chicago Inter Women’s Handball Club at Northeastern Illinois University to further develop in the game that combines the skills and rules of water polo, soccer and basketball.
Leading up to the tryout, Heeley trained with UIC Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Nick Zostautas, in addition to Chicago Inter, and even competed in a beach handball tournament, which featured members of the women’s national team and the men’s German and Polish teams.
As a member of the Women’s National Team, Heeley will head to Auburn to train year round and play in both domestic and international events as preparation to compete on a world level.
“We are so proud of Courtney for taking the chance to pursue something that a couple of months ago she didn’t know much about,” head softball coach Michelle Venturella said. “Team Handball is a great sport that not a lot of people know about. Because of Courtney’s athleticism and game-sense, I think she will continue to pick up the game and excel so she can compete at a high level.”
Learn more about USA Team Handball by visiting http://www.teamusa.org/usa-team-handball.