COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - The U.S. Women’s Team will host Canada in a Friendly Competition at the Lakeshore Foundation, an official U.S. Paralympic Training Site, in Birmingham, Alabama, August 2-4. The two teams will face each other three times as a final preparation for the upcoming IWBF America’s Qualifier in Cali, Colombia, August 21-31. Both squads will utilize Lakeshore Foundations gyms for training and competitions.
It can at times be difficult to get international teams onto U.S. soil to play for a longer period of time and train in our facilities. U.S. Women’s Head Coach Trooper Johnson of San Lorenzo, California, and the entire Canadian team are happy to make the trip into Birmingham for the training sessions and friendly competition.
Team USA and Team Canada met up two times in the United States for friendly competition prior to the Rio Paralympic Games. This will be the first time playing each other since Colorado Springs last summer, in August. The three-day camp will include two practice sessions and one game each day. Leading the U.S. Women’s National Team are three 2016 Paralympic gold medalists, Desi Miller of Monroe, Washington, Abby Dunkin of New Braunfels, Texas and Vanessa Erskine of Kearney, Missouri.
“I’m really excited to be at Lakeshore for these friendly games.,” said Erskine. “Lakeshore is an extremely welcoming facility with amazing staff and resources. I’m also really excited to get out onto the court with these girls. We have a team of really young talent and I’m constantly amazed by how much we have already developed together and can’t wait to play Canada to further our growth and chemistry.”
All games will be live streamed through the NWBA Facebook page. The first game is scheduled for Wednesday, August 2 at 7 p.m. Central, with a quick rest for the second competition scheduled for Thursday, August 3 at 9 a.m. Central. The final game between Canada and host USA is slated for a 7 p.m. Central tip off on Friday, August 4.
Joining Johnson, a 15-time U.S. Men’s National Team member and two-time Paralympic medalist, will be assistant coaches Amy Spangler of Madison, Wisconsin, and Adam Kramer of Northport, Alabama. Athletic Trainer Karla Wessels of Lexington, Kentucky, and Team Leader Kearstin Gehlhausen of Denver, Colorado, return for a second term.
The U.S. Women’s returned to the top of the podium at the Rio Paralympics, marking the third Paralympic gold medal in the last four Paralympics Games (2004, 2008, and 2016). The U.S. Women’s team dominated the field in Rio going undefeated, 7-0, and maintains the medal count lead with seven Paralympic medals, including four gold medals.