2015 United States Fistball Team – Argentina World Championship


Team USA 2015

Front Row (L to R): Eric Kindler, Mat Henrichs, Steve Kucera, Aaron Weninger, Keith Schweda Back Row (L to R): Coach Ron Jesswein, Kris Graham, Pat White, Mat Ogin, Jack Stern Not Pictured: Matt Ayling and Todd Strassberger

The United States Fistball Association (USFA) has named the 10 individuals to the U.S. Men’s Fistball team. The national team will compete at the 2015 Fistball World Championship in Argentina between November 14th – 21st. The team is made up of select individuals from three regions across the country – greater areas of Milwaukee, Newark and Philadelphia.

Since the 2011 World Championships in Austria, the USFA has been recruiting players and promoting the sport of fistball. Players were chosen after being evaluated at several tournaments in 2014/2015 and ongoing tryouts.

The U.S. coaching staff features a combined 77 years of fistball experience. The coaching staff is led by head coach and former U.S. player and 2015 U.S. Masters team member Ron Jesswein. Jesswein competed in the 1999 World Championships and is currently a fifth-grade teacher with the Mequon-Thiensville school district in southeastern Wisconsin. Also leading the US National Team is Gastão Englert, former head coach of both the Brazilian men’s and women’s national teams. Coach Englert led both teams to multiple World Championships during his tenure has head coach in addition to coaching the first ever US Women’s national team in competing at the World Championships in Dresden, Germany in 2014.

2015 Coach & Player Profiles


Spiker:

Mathew Henrichs, Jackson (Wisconsin)

Mathew HenrichsJersey: # 2
Home:  Milwaukee, WI
Birth Year: 1984
Position: Striker
Height: 6-0 (183cm)
Weight: 194 lbs (87kg)
Dominant Hand: Right
College: UW-Milwaukee
Joined Team: 2002

Fistball Competition: Mat served as the starting striker for Team USA in the 2007 World Championships held in Germany where the team finished 11th…Mat plays for the dominant Rampage Fistball team in the Wisconsin Fistball Association… Mat excelled at serving and hitting and really set himself apart from the rest of the strikers in 2010…Henrichs led his team to victory at the 2010 Eastern Fistball Tournament in New Jersey as well as two tournaments held by the Wisconsin Fistball Association

Personal: Mathew Henrichs on August 27,1984 in Jackson, WI…Parents are Steve and Judy Henrichs…Has two younger sisters, Tracy and Lindsey…Mat’s father, Steve Henrichs played for the 1999 US team in Switzerland…Mat graduated from Slinger High School (WI) in 2002…Graduated from UW-Milwaukee in 2006 where he is majored in Biology…Names hamburgers as his favorite food, and the Green Bay Packers as his favorite sports team…Works as a Sensory Program Coordinator, Q-Research Solutions Inc. at S.C. Johnson and Son…Mat has been playing competitive fistball since he was 10 years old

“Play to Win”

Mat Ogin, Hazleton (Pennsylvania)

Mat OginJersey: # 10
Home: Maple Shade, NJ
Birth Year: 1983
Position: Striker
Height: 6-8 (204cm)
Dominant Hand: Right
College: Rowan University
Joined Team: 2010

Fistball Competition: The 2011 Obersee Masters in Jona, Switzerland and the 2011 World Championships in Austria were Mat’s first taste of major international fistball competitions… Has been playing competitive fistball since 2010…Ogin plays for the South Jersey Fistball Club in the Eastern Fistball Association. Previously, he helped Phoenix secure EFA championship titles in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013.

Personal: Mathew Ogin was born on June 5, 1983 in Kingston, PA…Parents are Bonnie and Howard Ogin… Mat graduated from Washington Township High School (NJ) in 2001…Graduated from Rowan University in 2005, where he is majored in Language Arts and Education…Names fistball, indoor volleyball, and beach volleyball as his favorite competitive sports…Currently works at the American Cancer Society, and he has coaching experience as the head coach of the women’s volleyball team at Rutgers University – Camden …Mat played for the men’s AA division national championship volleyball team at the 2011 US indoor championships…Ogin was ranked in the top 100 beach volleyball players for several years before committing his efforts to fistball, and his top professional beach volleyball finish came with Gregory Hunter at the 2010 AVP tournament in Virginia Beach.

Todd Strassberger, South Jersey (New Jersey)

Todd StrassbergerJersey: # 4
Home: Mullica Hill, NJ, USA
Birth Year: 1983
Position: Striker
Height: 6’1” (185 cm)
Weight: 180 lbs (81.64 kg)
Dominant Hand: Right
College: Rutgers
Career: Mechanical Engineer
Joined Team: 2013

Fistball Competition:
-South Jersey Fistball Club (2015-Present), Phoenix Fistball Club (2013-2014)
-WFA July 4th Tournament Champion 2015 (as guest Player on Club Stag)

Personal: Born on February 1st, 1983 in Alexandria, Virginia at the age of six his family moved to southern New Jersey in the area Todd currently resides today. Todd attended Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey School of Engineering in New Brunswick, NJ where he received a Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering. Currently he works as a mechanical engineer in the Philadelphia, PA area. Todd started playing competitive sports in high school and college with indoor volleyball as captain and president of his respective teams. Following college Todd started playing professional beach volleyball qualifier events with Mat Ogin in 2006 and continues to play with various partners to date. In 2013 after the 2011 World Championship fellow national team member Mat Ogin influenced Todd to start playing Fistball competitively in the United States and he has been playing and training with the national team since. In 2014 Todd’s professional beach volleyball career took off playing on the National Volleyball League (NVL) Professional Beach tour with his best finishes in 2014 of 3rd place, twice. Currently he is training for both sports and hopes to continue to have success in each. In 2015 the trio of US Women’s National Team player Kay Crosby, along with Men’s US National Team players Mat Ogin and Todd Strassberger, started the South Jersey Fistball Club (Salmon) in an effort to spread the sport of Fistball and train more in their local area. Both the Men’s and Women’s teams won their first respective US tournaments in 2015 at SSC in Flanders, NJ where the 2015 Pan AM Games will be hosted. The women’s team followed up with another victory and the men’s team placed 3rd at the 2nd event also hosted at SSC in Flanders, NJ.

Eric Kindler, Germantown (Wisconsin)

Eric KindlerJersey: # 1
Home:  Germantown, WI
Birth Year: 1991
Position: Setter/Striker
Height: 6-0 (183cm)
Weight: 185 lbs (84kg)
Dominant Hand: Right
College: UW-Whitewater
Career: Analytical Chemist at Kleen Test Products Corporation
Joined Team: 2005

Fistball Experience:
National:
-Rampage Fistball Club (2000-Present), Wisconsin Fistball Association (2007-Present)
-WFA July 4th Tournament Champions 2001-2011, 2013-2014, 2nd Place in WFA July 4th Tournament 2012, 2015
-WFA Labor Day Tournament Champions 2001-2011, 2013-2014, 2nd Place in WFA Labor Day Tournament 2012
-WFA League Champions 2001-2011, 2013-2014, Runner-Up in 2012
-American Indoor Champions 2015
International:
-World Championships match record is 6-11
-Selected as a Women’s National Team Assistant Coach (2015-Present)
-Two Brazilian Fistball league wins with Polisport against Novo Hamburgo
-Competed in the Copa Duque De Caxius in 2012
-World Championships 9th place in 2011
-Competed in the Jona Master’s in 2011
-World Championships 11th place in 2007

Accolades
-Youngest player ever to play in the World Championships at 15 years old 10 months and 10 days.
-Starting setter for Team USA in 2007 for 8 games acquiring 2 international wins against Japan.
-Starting setter for Team USA in 2011 for 9 games acquiring 4 international wins against Japan, Czech Republic (2x), and Serbia.
-As the starting placekicker for the UW-Whitewater Warhawks, Eric won 3 NCAA Division 3 National Football Championships (Stagg Bowl)

Setter/Defender:

Keith Schweda, Germantown (Wisconsin)

Keith SchwedaJersey: # 7
Home:  Milwaukee, WI
Birth Year: 1986
Position: Striker/Defender
Height: 6-2 (188cm)
Weight: 185 lbs (84kg)
Dominant Hand: Right
Joined Team: 2004

Fistball Competition: Keith served as the starting right side striker for Team USA in the 2007 World Championships held in Germany where the team finished 11th…Schweda plays for the Renegades Fistball team in the Wisconsin Fistball Association…Keith played for the 2010 B-Level Eastern Fistball Championship team

Personal: Keith Schweda on July 4,1985 in Germantown, WI…Parents are Kathy and Jeff Schweda…Keith graduated from Germantown High School (WI) in 2004… Keith was a standout baseball player for the Germantown Warhawks…Names Fight Club and Shawshank Redemption as among his favorite movies, Entourage, The Sopranos, and Flight of the Concords among his favorite TV programs, and the Green Bay Packers as his favorite sports team…Keith has been playing competitive fistball since the age of 20

Matt Ayling, Churchville (Pennsylvania)

Matt AylingJersey: #
Home:  Churchville, PA
Birth Year: 1991
Position: Defender
Height: 6-2 (188cm)
Weight: 196 lbs (89kg)
Dominant Hand: Right
College: Temple University
Joined Team: 2010

Fistball Competition: The 2011 World Championships was Matt’s first major international fistball competition…Ayling plays for the 1st Phoenix Club Fistball team in the Eastern Fistball Association

Personal: Matt Ayling born on March 15, 1991 in Curchville, PA…Parents are Kathy and Michael Ayling…Matt graduated from Council Rock High School (PA) in 2009…Graduated from Temple University in 2013…Ayling lists the Philadelphia Eagles as his favorite sports team…Matt’s inspired by his parents and enjoys kicking back and playing XBOX in his spare time.

Kris Graham, Cinnaminson (New Jersey)

Kris GrahamJersey: # 8
Home:  Burlington, VT
Birth Year: 1982
Position: Defender
Height: 5-8 (173cm)
Weight: 160 lbs (73kg)
Dominant Hand: Right
College: University of Delaware
Joined Team: 2011

Fistball Competition: The 2011 World Championships will be Kris’ first major international fistball competition…Has been playing competitive fistball for 15 years…Graham who answers to the nickname “Little” plays for the Phoenix Club Fistball team in the Eastern Fistball Association…Squad was the 2010 EFA champion

Personal: Kris Graham born on September 16,1982 in Cinnaminson, NJ…Parents are Diane and Kevin Graham… Kris graduated from Cinnaminson High School (NJ) in 2000…Graduated from University of Delaware in 2005 where he is majored in Business Administration Management…Names Hockey as his favorite sport and Claude Giroux as his favorite athlete…Currently works as a waiter/beer aficionado at the Milwaukee Ale House restaurant…Kris lists the Flyers, Eagles, and Phillies as among his favorite sports teams…Graham has helped run a charity hockey tournament for the last two years, served as a big buddy, and raised money for his local food pantry…Kris enjoys a variety of competitive sports including soccer, hockey, and fistball…Enjoys hiking/backpacking, skiing, and snowboarding in his spare time

“Go Big or Go Home”

Steve Kucera, Hartford (Wisconsin)

Steve KuceraJersey: # 3
Home: Milwaukee, WI
Birth Year: 1985
Position: Defender/Setter
Height: 6-0 (183cm)
Weight: 200 lbs (90kg)
Dominant Hand: Right
Joined Team: 2004

Fistball Competition: Steve has been playing competitive fistball since the age of 20. Steve served as a defenseman for Team USA in the 2007 and 2011 World Championships. Wisconsin Fistball Association League Champions 2012. Phoenix Tournament Champions 2006-2012, 2014, Bronze Medalist Lehigh Valley Sportsfest 2012. SSC Tournament Champions 2006-2015, Jona, Switzerland Masters Tournament Category B participant 2014. United States Fistball Association Indoor Tournament Champions 2013. United States Fistball Association Champions Summer Tournament 2014. Eastern Fistball Association Indoor Tournament Champions 2015. Wisconsin Fistball Association 4th of July Invitational Tournament Champions 2015.

Personal: Born January 27, to parents Kathy and Michael. Calls Milwaukee Wisconsin home. Degree in Accounting and works for Iron Workers Local 8. Big fan of do-it-yourself projects, traveling and yoga. Favorite athletes in 2015 Ronda Rousey, J.J. Watt, and Eric Kindler.

Aaron Weninger, Slinger (Wisconsin)

Aaron WeningerJersey: # 6
Home:  Hartford, WI
Birth Year: 1985
Position: Defender/Team Captain
Height: 6-0 (183cm)
Weight: 195 lbs (88kg)
Dominant Hand: Left
College: UW-Whitewater
Joined Team: 2003

Fistball Experience:
Renegade Fistball Club; Wisconsin Fistball Club
Started playing in 2003 (12 Years)

I played my first Fistball game after being introduced to the sport by Mat Henrichs. We played many sports together while in high school and he recommended I come out to a tournament to check out the sport. After my first defensive pick, I was hooked! Ever since, Fistball has played a large part of my life. Dedication to the quality of Fistball and growth of the sport in the United States is a primary goal of mine.

My specific goals for the World Championships are:
1. Team USA places in the top 8 teams
2. 85%+ defensive efficiency
3. High energy and motivate my team
4. Make memories and friends

We have trained hard for the past 4 years in preparation for this tournament. Immediately after our tournament in Argentina, I am going to have a double cheeseburger with fries and a milk shake… and probably a few beers with my teammates/coaches. From there, I will look at ways to get further involved with the objectives of the USFA board and goals of the IFA in general to grow the quality and size of Fistball in the United States.

Pat White, Oconomowoc (Wisconsin)

Pat-White Jersey: # 9
Home:  Milwaukee, WI
Birth Year: 1986
Position: Defender
Height: 6-0 (183cm)
Weight: 183 lbs (83kg)
Dominant Hand: Left
College: UW-Milwaukee
Joined Team: 2007

Fistball Competition: The 2011 World Championships will be Pat’s first major international fistball competition…White who goes by the nickname “PipNitro” plays for the Renegades Fistball team in the Wisconsin Fistball Association

Personal: Patrick White born on September 17,1986 in Oconomowoc, WI…Parents are Aileen and James White… Pat graduated from Arrowhead High School (WI) in 2005…Graduated from UW-Milwaukee in 2011 where he is majored in Finance…Names Gladiator, Inception, The Boondock Saints, and Harry Potter movies as among his favorite films…Currently works as a bartender at the Gasthaus restaurant and also works in the backbar at Buckhead Saloon…Pat enjoys video games, working out, and spending time with family and friends…Has been playing competitive fistball for 4 years

“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Coach/Staff:

Ron Jesswein, Head Coach

Ron Jesswein
Home: Germantown, WI
Birth Year: 1960
Position: Defender
Height: 5’11(180cm)
Weight: 190 lbs (86kg)
Dominant Hand: Right

Fistball Competition: Ron has over 45 years experience playing fistball…His father, Artur, was one of the founding members of the Wisconsin Fistball association, so Ron grew up playing the sport …Ron served as the starting right side striker for Team USA in the 1999 World Championships held in Germany where the team finished 12th…Jesswein plays for the Rampage Fistball Club in the Wisconsin Fistball Association, a team which has won 13 of the last 14 league titles…Ron played for several WFA squads that won tournaments hosted by the Eastern Fistball Association. Jesswein helped train the 2007 US Team that competed in World Championships in Germany and was head coach of the 2011 National team which placed 9th. I am looking forward to Argentina and working along side Gastao Englert. I will also be going to Chile to participate in the Senior club team championships right after Argentina.

Personal: Parents are Artur and Edelgard Jesswein…Ron has a daughter Jessica, step daughter Grayson and two sons, Alex and Andy…Works as a Fifth Grade Teacher in the Mequon-Thiensville School District…Ron enjoys attending sporting events, playing sports, and music festivals in his spare time…Names the Green bay Packers and the Marquette Golden Eagles as his favorite sports teams.

“The dictionary is the only place success comes before work” – Vince Lombardi
Q&A:
• What is it about Fistball that draws you to the sport? It is a physically demanding sport that also requires a high skill level. You get great exercise and satisfaction from making a good play. In over 40 years I have never gotten tired of the game!
• Who is the best Fistball player you’ve played against? Martin Becker, Martin Vasquez, the list goes on, but just playing against Austria, Switzerland, and Germany in 1999 was amazing. Their level of play is something we are striving for and are making efforts to reach. The speed of the game, coverages and field awareness of these teams is fun and exciting to watch.
• Why should more Americans play Fistball? Same reasons that draw me to the sport. It’s exciting, challenging, and fun! Much cheaper than any club team or recreational leagues. It gets more expensive when you reach high levels. The IFA is continually looking to make the game more fan friendly and exciting.
• Where and when did you first learn about Fistball? In the early to mid 1960’s my dad played and helped create the Wisconsin Fistball Association. It started at Sherman Park and then moved adjacent to the Bavarian Inn. Finally, in 1969, we started playing in Jackson where we still play today! It was a great family atmosphere. We were all a very close-knit group and many of us still are!

Gastão Englert, Coach/Trainer

GastaoEnglertHome:  Porto Alegre, Brazil

Studies:
Bachelor Degree in Physical Education – UFRGS (1988).
Specialization at The German Sport University – Koln – DSHS, Deutsche Sporthochschule Köln (1988 to 1989).

Gastão has achieved 17 world championships while playing/coaching fistball…3 as Fistball Player…14 as Fistball Coach of Brazilian Men’s & Women’s Teams…Joined Team USA Coaching Staff in 2012…Loves to Play & Teach the Sport of Fistball

Coached the first ever US women’s national team at the 2014 World Championships in Dresden, Germany…Previously Coached both the men’s and women’s Brazilian National Teams…Technical Consultant and Manager of the Catalonian team (Spain), Colombian team, Cuban Team and overall ambassador for the sport of fistball…Technical and development director of the Brazilian Fistball Confederation…Sports management and quality consultant…3rd. Sector: Tennis Foundation General Coordinator…

Youngest World Champion coach in the Fistball history (33 years, 1 month and 11 days old).
Coach with the highest number of World Championships in the Fistball history (13 times).
Twice World Cup champion (Switzerland 1999 and Brazil 2003).
World Vice-champion, 2007 (Germany).
9 times World Cup champion.
World Games Champion, 2009 (Kaohsiung – Taiwan).
2 silver medals and 1 bronze medal in the World Games, (Japan 2001, Germany 2005 and Finland 1997 respectively).
13 times South American champion (clubs and teams).

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