Wednesday, February 28, 2018

United Ultimate League Seeks Crowdfunding for Startup

Today (February 28) is the last day of United Ultimate League's Kickstarter to fund their 2019 season. As of today, they are 43% funded of their $50,000 goal which will fund the two - northern and southern - East Coast divisions.

UUL - "Ultimate Frisbee's First Professional Mixed League" - will be played as 3:3 gender ratio, making this the first 6v6 semi-pro ultimate league and the first to be completely gender equal.

If the UUL Kickstarter is not fully funded, then UUL will go back to the drawing board or pass the torch to someone else. We believe that Pro Mixed Ultimate is the future for ultimate. Per the Kickstarter page: "The UUL is not an end-all to the discussion on gender equity, it is a step."

Support the UUL.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Chart: Originally Announced Locations of Pro Ultimate Teams in AUDL, MLU, UUL

Philadelphia is at the center of the "pro" ultimate league universe.

Locations per original announcement by leagues.
American Ultimate Disc League announced 8 teams for AUDL's inaugural season in 2012. Major League Ultimate announced 10 teams - later reduced to 8 teams - for MLU's first season in 2013. United Ultimate League announced 8 teams for UUL's prospective season in 2019.

Three other cities share/d representation - Boston New York, and Washington, DC.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Q and A with the Organizers of the Indianapolis Area Women's Pro Ultimate Team, Indy Red

It has been a busy start to 2018 for Lauren Piontek and Jackie Lai, the founders of the women's pro team known as Indy Red. Somehow they found time to provide insightful background on their women's pro ultimate team proposal and plans for their inaugural (2018) season as Indy Red (FKA Indy AlleyCats Red).

SLUDGE: Let's start at the beginning. How did you become aware that the AUDL AlleyCats were planning to have a women's team?
Lauren Piontek and Jackie Lai: The short answer: They weren't planning to have a women's team this season. We approached them with a partnership proposal.

The long answer: After Detroit announced their plan for a women's team but no scheduled games yet, my co-organizer, Jackie Lai, and I got together and decided we wanted to put together a team to be able to play the Women's Mechanix team. We knew there were more than enough women to put together a team and wanted to make sure the Detroit women had at least one team to play (this was before we knew anything about Nashville's plan). We were going to make a team no matter what but hoped to partner with the AlleyCats.

"We were going to make a team no matter what 

but hoped to partner with the AlleyCats."

SLUDGE: What was the AlleyCats' reaction to your proposal?
LP & Jackie: The AlleyCats' reaction was excitement.

When we approached the AlleyCats' owner, we knew their budget had likely already been set for the year and didn't expect full financial support. We hoped for any support we could get and thought it would look unified and positively for everyone if we were working together. We were greeted with excitement and a game plan to provide field space for us, along with a method to recoup expenses through some revenue-sharing.

SLUDGE: Can you talk about the decision of adopting the AlleyCats namesake & the 'Red' identity?
LP & Jackie: Part of our original agreement with the AlleyCats had included using the AlleyCats brand and logo, but we wanted to alter it slightly to distinguish us as a separate team. Changing the logo to red was suggested, and we decided to brand ourselves as the AlleyCats Red so as to avoid being branded as the AlleyCats' women's team.
"...we decided to brand ourselves as the AlleyCats Red so as to
avoid being branded as the AlleyCats' women's team."

SLUDGE: How have AlleyCats owners/staff been supportive of the ‘Red’ team?
LP & Jackie: The GM of the AlleyCats has been the main method of communication between us and the owner, and he's negotiated for us, given us information we needed to this team off the ground, and filmed part of our tryouts for review later. The men's team's head coach helped us plan our tryouts and gave us an extra set of eyes at the tryouts as well. His input was invaluable.

SLUDGE: Has anyone from American Ultimate Disc League office ever reach out to you during the last month or so?
LP & Jackie: No, they did not. We do understand from conversation with owners from different cities that any women's teams affiliated or funded by AUDL franchises are not affiliated with the AUDL in any manner.

SLUDGE: Have any AlleyCats (men) players been supportive of your team?
LP & Jackie: The players we talked to were all excited for us, and a few asked when they could buy jerseys. Since this was mostly run by Jackie and me, I don't think they were aware everything that was happening especially since it was so fast-moving, but I think they would have given us help if we had asked.

SLUDGE: What are some of your takeaways from organizing, conducting and participating in tryouts for this opportunity promoted as "women's pro ultimate" league?
LP & Jackie: One of the biggest takeaways has been that women have a enormous amount of desire to make this happen. We had women from St. Louis, Bloomington, South Bend, Cincinnati, and varying Indiana towns come in for tryouts - even when weather looked unpleasant (it snowed the first half of our second tryout).

Another takeaway is "build it and they shall come." I think similar to what Detroit had mentioned in their interview with Ultiworld, we just hadn't asked what the interest was in having a women's pro ultimate team was here, but within a day of posting the interest survey we had 50+ responses. All it took was asking and setting up a couple tryout times. Here we are, four weeks later, with a full roster of exceptional players after two rounds of tryouts featuring highly competitive play.

SLUDGE: What prompted the Friday's announcement becoming Indy Red and breaking away from Indy Alley Cats? 
LP & Jackie: Last weekend, it became clear that there had been a misunderstanding of our original agreement with the AlleyCats' owner. We tried to re-negotiate and weren't able to reach an agreement that Jackie and I felt truly promoted gender equity - prompting us to separate affiliation with the AlleyCats.

" became clear that there had been a misunderstanding of our original agreement with the AlleyCats' owner. We tried to re-negotiate and weren't able to reach an agreement that [we] felt truly promoted gender equity."

[UPDATED 3/8/2018 via] One main reason for the break was the final agreement on distribution of ticket sales. Tim [Held], the owner of the AlleyCats, would not budge past 50% of ONLY special Red ticket sales, no gate sales, for admission to both games. Obviously, this is not an equal distribution of value for both teams. Indy Red broke ties with the Indy AlleyCats due to circumstances that couldn't allow our leaders to genuinely partner in light of gender equity.

SLUDGE: How did Indiana Ultimate Foundation get involved?
LP & Jackie: The Indiana Ultimate Foundation (IUF) had originally agreed to fund most of our needs from the start (except for the field space and home game experience offered by the AlleyCats). When we announced we wanted to make a team, they opened a discussion with us on how they could help to make this happen, as their values and beliefs align directly with this endeavor, and they had the financial ability to help fund us.
via @IndyRedUltimate
Overall, the Indianapolis community has been overwhelmingly supportive. From financial pledges to volunteering their time, we've had no shortage of help. We're incredibly grateful and by no means have been alone in trying to make this happen.

"We're incredibly grateful and by no means 

have been alone in trying to make this happen."

SLUDGE: How's the reaction been to the recent announcement?
LP & Jackie: It has been bittersweet. Everyone, including Jackie and I, agrees it is unfortunate we aren't working with the AlleyCats anymore, but they continue to be very supportive of us moving forward to provide this opportunity for women in our region. We are still extremely excited to be able to have the IUF's support in providing this opportunity for women's ultimate to grow, and we continue to support the Indianapolis AlleyCats as they work towards success this season.

SLUDGE: What a whirlwind! What's next for Indy Red?
LP & Jackie: Next, we finalize our practice and game schedule. We have mostly solidified dates with Detroit and Nashville and are talking about a couple more games. We just need to figure out the logistics. This should all start around the same time as the AUDL men's season (March 31). We're in the final stages of firming up the dates.


Friday, February 23, 2018

Indy Red Breaks Affiliation From Indianapolis AlleyCats

In less than a month, the Indiana women's professional ultimate team went from being strongly affiliated with American Ultimate Disc League team, Indianapolis AlleyCats, to (as of today) breaking off their affiliation with the AlleyCats.

Here's a history of events:

January 25, 2018: Indianapolis AlleyCats announced a women's team.

February 5, 2018: Josh Fairbanks, Indianapolis AlleyCats VP of Operations: "We are excited for this new endorsed affiliation with this amazing women's team. We were honored that the women requested to don both the AlleyCats name and logo with the red variation."

February 10, 2018: Tryouts for AlleyCats Red were conducted indoors.

February 17, 2018: A second tryout for AlleyCats Red was administered outdoors.

February 23, 2018:
"AlleyCats Red" changed names to Indy Red and have updated their identity.
From Jackie Lai and Lauren Piontek, organizers of Indy Red:
...the Indiana Women's Professional Ultimate Team is officially separating affiliation with the Indianapolis AlleyCats. We hold strong with our mission to promote gender equity and to provide a platform for women to play at the highest level of visibility, while compensating them for their dedication, efforts, and talent...we will continue our endeavor and will fall under the moniker of Indy Red, funded by the IUF (Indiana Ultimate Foundation)...We wish the Indianapolis AlleyCats the best with their season moving forward.

New President of William & Mary Played and Coached Ultimate

Rector Todd Stottlemyer introduced Katherine A. Rowe as The College of William & Mary's new president, during which he highlighted Rowe's ultimate history. She will be the first female president of William & Mary (Virginia) in the school's 325-year history.

"Katherine also loves sports and has been a competitive athlete throughout her life. She remarked throughout the search process how sports – varsity, club and intramurals – are an important part of the university. Katherine also observed how well William & Mary does with its varsity sports in producing outstanding scholar-athletes who compete and win on the field of competition and in the classroom. On a personal level, Katherine is well known as a player and now championship coach of United States Ultimate Frisbee. Ultimate is a self-refereed team sport governed by the "Spirit of the Game:" the joy of play and a mutual respect for fellow players. This is how Katherine leads."
Rowe played ultimate a Carleton College and, more recently, coached the Lower Merion High School Girls Ultimate team to multiple state (Pennsylvania) championships. Additionally, Katherine Rowe built up her already impressive resume with a few articles published on Ultiworld.

W&M's announcement describes Rowe as having..
spent more than a decade coaching Ultimate Frisbee and has led multiple teams to state championships in Pennsylvania. She was a World Ultimate Club Finalist and a Women's Nationals Finalist. She also co-founded the nonprofit Boston Ultimate Disc Alliance and the Carleton College women's Ultimate team.
Rowe shares her love of Ultimate with her spouse, Bruce Jacobson...

Thursday, February 22, 2018

2018 Tryout for D.C. Breeze, DMV's Semi-Pro Ultimate Team

The D.C. Breeze will be hosting tryouts to roster a team their 2018 AUDL season. The Breeze look to improve upon their (10-4) record and 2nd-place finish in the East Division.
Similar to 2017, the Breeze tryout for American Ultimate Disc League will include presentations. Unlike last year, the Breeze will have no (public) connection to D.C.'s men's elite club team - DC Truck Stop.

Darryl Stanley returns to the Breeze sideline after a winning season in his inaugural year as head coach. According to the DC Breeze site, 2017 assistant coach Will Smolinski is not shown to be returning to the team in 2018, though will be at the 2018 tryouts.

The schedule for the 5-hour long tryout is:
12:00pm: Check-in for tryouts
12:30pm-1:00pm: Introduction & preparation with coaching staff & trainers
On-field activities [1-4:45pm]
1:00pm-1:30pm: Coach instructions and warmups
1:30pm-2:30pm: Rotations of box out, shoulder cutting & performance testing
2:30pm-3:00pm: Handler defense training
3:00pm-3:30pm: 4-line drills
3:30pm-4:45pm: Larger field scrimmages / mini games
4:45pm-5:00pm: Cool down & coaching staff wrap-up
5:00pm: End of tryouts

DC Breeze seek "to identify the best players among *all* those who come out, to offer them a spot on the 2018 Breeze roster." A total of 36 players can be selected to the practice and official roster while a maximum of 20 players can be named to the active gameday roster.

When: Saturday, February 24; 12-5PM

Where: Dunbar High School

Cost: $50 in advance ($60 day-of)

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

DC Breeze 2018 AUDL Schedule

The 14-game American Ultimate Disc League regular season 2018 schedule for Washington, D.C. Breeze was released.

7: Montreal Royal @ DC
22: Ottawa Outlaws @ DC
28: @ Philadelphia Phoenix

5: @ New York Empire
12: Raleigh Flyers @ DC
19: @ Toronto Rush
20: @ Montreal Royal
26: New York Empire @ DC

2: @ Pittsburgh Thunderbirds
9: Toronto Rush @ DC
23: @ Toronto Rush
24: @ Ottawa Outlaws
30: Philadelphia Phoenix @ DC

14: New York Empire @ DC

In 2018, DC starts the season on April 7 and ends 14 weeks later on July 14. The Breeze are scheduled to play 12 games in the AUDL East plus 2 cross-divisional games; one versus Raleigh (AUDL South) and another against Pittsburgh (AUDL Midwest).

Both of the Breeze's back-to-back games are road trips to Canada -- May 19-20 and June 23-24.

DC Breeze game tickets are currently available. All home games will be played at Catholic University in NE D.C.

Monday, February 12, 2018

AUDL Errs League Map with Portland Location

The American Ultimate Disc League updated its "The League" map and attempted to conflate its past 2017 season with 2018 updates.

  • Jacksonville Cannons (2017) have become Tampa Bay Cannons (2018)
  • The Nashville logo is circa 2017 instead of the updated 2018 NightWatch shield logo
  • The 2017 Championship Weekend is plotted in Montreal, while we know the 2018 AUDL postseason tournament will be hosted in Madison
  • Portland - formerly the Vancouver Riptide franchise - is incorrectly shown in Washington state

With the loss of Vancouver Riptide (and addition of Portland), the AUDL became more "American" Ultimate Disc League.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

[Compilation] Universe Point Cleats for AUDL Teams

Team-branded cleats for American Ultimate Disc League teams are the newest fashion trend for the upcoming 2018 season. Below are just some of the teams that have shown off their new footwear supplied by Universe Point:
[Updated on a regular basis]

DC Breeze

Madison Radicals
Minnesota Wind Chill
Nashville NightWatch
Pittsburgh Thunderbirds
Raleigh Flyers
San Jose Spiders
Seattle Cascades

The color-coordinated cleat tips and along the topline make these cleats especially sharp.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Projected AUDL Cross-Divisional Matchups in 2018

The American Ultimate Disc League teased their 2018 schedule with an expanded cross-divisional matchups. In the 2017 season, AUDL had 4 cross-divisional games in the regular season.

If, if, if next season's cross division games were scheduled based on how teams finished within their division in the 2017 regular season, here would be the hypothetical match-ups for all 2017 teams:

1st-place finish in the Division
Raleigh Flyers (13-1) @ Madison Radicals (12-2) *
Toronto Rush (11-3) @ San Francisco FlameThrowers (10-4) *

2nd place in the Division
LA Aviators (9-5) @ Dallas Roughnecks (11-3) *
Minnesota Wind Chill (11-3) @ DC Breeze (10-4)

3rd place in the Division
San Jose Spiders (8-6) @ Montreal Royal (9-5)
Tampa Bay Cannons (10-4) @ Pittsburgh Thunderbirds (9-5)

4th place in the Division
New York Empire (6-8) @ Seattle Cascades (7-7)
Atlanta Hustle (5-9) @ Indianapolis AlleyCats (5-9)

5th place in the Division
Philadelphia Phoenix (4-10) @ San Diego Growlers (7-7)
Chicago Wildfire (3-11) @ Austin Sol (4-10)

Last place in the Division
Vancouver Riptide (1-13) @ Ottawa Outlaws (2-12)
Nashville NightWatch @ Detroit Mechanix (1-13)

As of today, only 4 cross-divisional games have been released; three* of which follow the divisional finish logic plus a 2nd-vs-4th place meeting between Minnesota Wind Chill (3rd in Midwest) and Seattle Cascades (4th in West). The other 2nd-vs-4th scenarios besides Minnesota Wind Chill (11-3) vs Seattle Cascades (7-7) would be:

Indianapolis AlleyCats (5-9) vs LA Aviators (9-5)
Dallas Roughnecks (11-3) vs New York Empire (6-8)
Atlanta Hustle (5-9) vs DC Breeze (10-4)

NOTE: Vancouver is not scheduled to play in the 2018 AUDL season.

Monday, February 05, 2018

Super Bowl Champion and MVP Nick Foles Reported to Have Ultimate Frisbee Skills

Philadelphia Eagles backup QB Nick Foles completed 28-of-43 passes for 373 yards, three touchdowns, one interception, and a touchdown catch to win Super Bowl 52.

The New York Times reported about Foles' skills in Ultimate Frisbee. Eagles wide receiver Nelson Agholor is quoted: "You've got to see him in Ultimate Frisbee. We do a little conditioning in Ultimate Frisbee in the off-season. This dude's got hands. got routes. Stupid athletic."
Those stupid athletic hands came in clutch during the Super Bowl...

Again, NYT claims Foles as being a standout at ultimate Frisbee.
No word on why NYT's first reference to the sport was uppercase "U"ltimate Frisbee, and the second reference was lowercase "u"ltimate Frisbee.

Friday, February 02, 2018

Calendar of Ultimate Events in Summer 2018

The 2018 summer is going to be busy with USA Ultimate's Triple Crown Tour-naments, the WFDF Club Championships, and the American Ultimate Disc League's final weekend. 
7-8: USAU Pro-Elite Challenge (Broomfield, CO)
14-21: WFDF World Ultimate Club Championships (Lebanon, OH)
20-22: USAU Masters Championships (Aurora, IL)
28-29: USAU Select Flight Invite (Salt Lake City, UT)
29-: WFDF World Masters Ultimate Club Championships (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada)...

-4: WFDF World Masters Ultimate Club Championships (Winnipeg, MB)
3-6: U.S. Open Club Championships (Blaine, MN)
11-12: AUDL Championship Weekend (Madison, WI)
18-19: USAU Elite-Select Challenge (Columbus, OH)

1-3: USAU  Pro Championships (Middletown, NY)
8-9: USAU  TCT Sectionals
22-23: USAU  TCT Regionals

18-21: USAU National Championships (San Diego, CA)

Thursday, February 01, 2018

WUCC 2018: The Million Dollar Ultimate Tournament

WFDF 2018 World Ultimate Club Championships (WUCC 2018) will host over 125 club teams from around the world in July. The tournament's entry fees which are required by each participating team in addition to every player would top over 1.5 million dollars.

If teams were to roster the maximum number of player - 28 - and pay all fees at a discount, then each team would owe $12,000 [$1500 x 1 team = $1500 + $375 x 28 = $10,500; Total = $12,000]. With 128 teams expected in Lebanon and Cincy, the grand total for maxed out teams including players fees would bring in a total of $1,536,000 USD revenue for this WFDF tournament.

WUCC 2018 Fees
The per player cost for participating at WUCC 2018 = $428.57; ($375/player + $1500/28).