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US: "We will be pulling for Brazil"

After 1999 and 2007 the US team has its sights set on the quarter finals in an attempt to improve their best place so far (11th). With the help of Brazilian coach Gastao Englert, the level and intensity of the US team have steadily improved.

The US team has been training since the last WCH in 2007 and benefited enormously from the Brazilian national team coach, Gastao Englert, and former spiker George Schuch. Gastao came to the United States in January 2011 for two weeks and returned in May for almost a month to continue training with the team. He enlisted the help of George Schuch who stayed for two weeks after Gastao left to continue working with the US players on improving technique, ball strategy and raising the level of intensity. Head coach Ron Jesswein fully appreciates their help: "Their expertise has helped us reach a level we have not been at before and we are very grateful and thankful to them."

After working hard to improve techniques and team tactics, their defined goal is to reach the quarter finals, with Namibia, Italy and Chile being both important and tough opponents in the process. Jesswein is optimistic nevertheless: "We are undoubtedly sending our most prepared team; however, we truly lack game experience against such formidable opponents. This will be a great test for us. But we are all very excited to take on this challenge." The US has participated in two previous World Championships (1999 and 2007). After finishing in 11th place twice, it would be an unbelievable feeling of accomplishment for them to achieve their goal and an even greater feeling to improve on it by finishing as high as sixth - which would also make them a candidate for the World Games. But regardless of where they finish, they are very proud to represent the United States and hope to continue growing as a fistball nation.

The USFA (United States Fistball Association) has been recruiting players and promoting the sport of fistball since the 2007 World Championship in Germany. Players were chosen after being evaluated at several tournaments in 2010 and ongoing tryouts. The team for the 2011 WCH is made up of individuals from three regions across the country - greater areas of Milwaukee, Newark and Philadelphia. This geographical difference has made bringing the entire team together for training very difficult.

The US coaching staff can turn to a combined 122 years of fistball experience. It is led by head coach and former player Ron Jesswein who competed in the 1999 World Championships and is currently a first-grade teacher. He is joined by member of the 2007 national team and assistant coach Nate Erdman. USFA President and member of the 1999 US team Jim Blank will serve as the international delegate and 2007 head coach Reinhard Kindler will serve as the team trainer.

Ron Jesswein doesn't want to make any predictions about who will make the finals, but he and his team will definitely be pulling for Brazil because of the special partnership they have formed with Gastao and George.