By Jennifer Farrell and Sara Merkl
The US Team Handball Women’s National Team (WNT) is proud to announce that Danish national Thomas Broend has officially joined the WNT coaching staff. As Assistant Coach, who met the team for the first time during their Sweden Tour last December, Thomas will again be an integral part of the coaching staff for the upcoming Pan-American Championships (PAC) in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
Though he currently coaches full-time at the junior level of the top Danish club, Viborg, Thomas Broend has made a commitment to support the WNT in international competition. He helped prepare the team for competition in Lake Placid leading-up to the North American Qualifiers in January, and was also in Mexico City for the second-chance qualification tournament against Mexico and Chile.
“The players have a great level and will move forward fast, to a higher level, because they want to learn more all the time,” said Broend after meeting with the WNT for the first time. “I don’t now what I expected, but they are definitely better than I would have thought… I’m very excited to become part of the staff. There are a lot of challenges with the job and I get to travel around the world. And, I think that I can learn a lot from the girls, and Dawn. I think it is a great opportunity for me.”
The members of the WNT are equally excited to be working with a development coach with Thomas’s credentials and demeanor. Anne Coulter, circle for the WNT, said that “this is a very exciting opportunity to work with Thomas to raise our level to be competitive with other European teams. He helps to bridge the gap for us. He knows the teams, the players, and their style.” Thomas also brings a renewed spirit to practice. He is enthusiastic and inspiring, yet has a calming influence on players. Where many international coaches are eager to assist the program, they often try to teach in a manner that is too technically and tactically advanced. Thomas, on the other hand, has the ability to break down skills, movements and combinations so that members of the WNT understand why and how things should be done.
Whatever he does, it seems to be working. Thomas’s team, Viborg, has not lost a game in over four years. Thomas coached the U19 team, a development team, for top team in the “TOMS Liga” (the highest league) in Denmark who recently won the European Cup.
That level of success is something the WNT is excited to carry over. Thomas and WNT Head Coach, Dawn Lewis, have similar coaching philosophies and styles and are excited to work together again. Dawn shared, “We are thrilled to have Thomas with us for a week prior to the Pan American Championships. Although we plan, collaborate training sessions, discuss individual athletes and team tactics on a weekly basis, it will be nice to have him on the ground working with the athletes, as opposed to the two of us communicating through the Internet. Besides, we challenge one another to find the best solution, and he is intelligent, creative, and fun.”
After spending some time in the United States and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Thomas will begin coaching Gadsaxe Handball, a 1st division team (the second best league) in Denmark. He has recently moved to Copenhagen with his family. Wherever he goes, Thomas seems to be a trigger for success. As such, the WNT is looking forward to accomplishing great things with Thomas Broend at their side.