Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Tale of Two Pro Ultimate Teams in DC

Not only do professional Ultimate leagues exist, but Washington DC now boasts two professional teams, one from each league! The two teams are DC Breeze and DC Current.  The Breeze will play in the 12-team American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL), while the Current will play in the 8-team Major League Ultimate (MLU).

Both DC Ultimate teams will launch their inaugural pro seasons on April 20, 2013. DC Breeze will play their first game at 1pm on Saturday in Anacostia. DC Current will play their first game on Saturday at 8pm in Silver Spring. There are four times when both teams play on the same weekend during the 2013 season. Though it would seem to make sense for the DC teams to have an intra-city scrimmage, each team plays in a different league, so inter-league play is not expected.

DC Current is one of the original teams in the Major League Ultimate. All MLU teams are owned by the first-year league which is funded by investors.

The DCC have been operating since November 2012, and focused on talent from the local elite club Ultimate team, DC Truckstop. Their roster is full of Truckstop players including their head coach - who also plans to play in games. Team news is posted online and seems to portray organized messaging; albeit limited.

The DC Breeze are an expansion team in the second year of the AUDL. The teams owners are Aaron Foreman, a native Washingtonian, and former quarterback Marvin Graves.

Since the Breeze publicly launched in September 2012, they have held one open meeting (Dec 2012), changed their logo (Jan 2013), and fired their coach (March 2013). Their team news is posted online and sporadically by "official sports blog for all things related to the DC Breeze", Cloud Coverage.

The played-led coaching coup was first reported on March 26 by Cloud Coverage. [Its online post has since been removed.] My recollection of the post was that Head Coach Tom Coffin would be kept on in a different role within the DCB organization. UltiWorld posted a detailed article two days later.
Cloud Coverage's March 26 tweet. Blog post on this topic has since been removed.
Pro Ultimate Game
Ultimate is played with a Frisbee ("disc") on a football-sized field. Seven players compete on each team during one point. A goal is scored when a teammate catches the thrown disc in the endzone while the defense tries to prevent catches by creating turnovers (e.g. drops, throwaways, interceptions). Any contact is a foul and there's lots of running (except when a player possesses the disc), so Ultimate showcases very skilled athletes. Games are divided in 4 quarters; the team with the most points at game's end, wins.

2013 Season
With 2 professional Ultimate teams, it should be a very entertaining opening day for DC Ultimate fans on 4/20, as well as throughout their 2013 seasons. DC Breeze has a 8 home games; DC Current has 5 home games. There are 4 occurrences when both teams play on the same weekend throughout the season. Having two DC teams gives area residents plenty of opportunity to to catch this new professional sport.

Opening Day - Saturday, APRIL 20, 2013
DC Breeze vs. Toronto; 1pm  in Anacostia.
DC Current vs.Philadelphia; 8pm in Silver Spring.

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