James Burbidge takes a look at Team USA in the second installment of his World Games series.
About the team
Selectors seem to have opted for wise heads rather than youthful legs here, particularly on the men’s side of the game where only Stubbs is of the NexGeneration. He is team Captain, following a year’s experience in that role at club team Ironside, as well as 3 years in the role at Harvard, during which time he won the Callahan award as the best player in College. He is extremely athletic, has big throws and cool head. Captaining alongside George is Alex Snyder, who captained Fury back in 2008 and was selected by Ultiworld as MVP of their latest Club Championship final. She has plenty of experience at the highest level of the game and knows what it takes to win – two big assets for the team.
|Cara Crouch goes up over GB at World Games 2009. Photo courtesy Scobel Wiggins
Whilst neither George nor Alex played on the 2009 team, USA will be bringing 3 returners to Cali: Cara Crouch, Dylan Tunnell and Beau Kittredge. Cara Crouch is an experienced handler with big throws and a Callahan award (2005) under her belt. She plays for Showdown and so will be facing up against teammate GB’s Bex Forth. Dylan Tunnell is one of the most respected players in the US, a stalwart for club team Chain Lightning (Club Champions 2009) and picked by Club Jr to be part of a US All-Star team flown out to Japan’s Dream Cup. You can read an interview with him after the 2009 World Games here. And finally, not much needs to be said about Beau, surely? He’s one of the most dominantathletesinthe game– and that’s not even his game anymore. These days Beau is so feared for his deep ability that people back him by ridiculous amounts – so has evolved into a reset and distribution player, coming under far more than he goes deep. It’s unlikely that anyone else in the world is going to front him so this seems like a plausible position for him to play again. That said, I’m sure we’ll see a few goals and posterisations by the end of the tournament.
|Georgia Bosscher lays out for the D
Rounding out the female half of the team are Georgia Bosscher a redoubtable defender (see picture), her former Fury teammate Cree Howard (a 5’8 deep cutter), Seattle Riot’s speedy Sarah Griffith and DC Scandal’s Octavia Payne.
On the male side there are a pair of club captains; captain of reigning National Champions Doublewide – Mike Natenberg and captain of Johnny Bravo Ryan Farrell. Filling out the last spots are Revolver teammates Ashlin Joye (defensivehandler mostly) and Mac Taylor(does everything).
Coach and expected playing style
USA is lead by Coach Alex Ghesquire and Assistand Coach Matty Tsang. Those names alone put them into the top 3 teams at World Games. Alex Ghesquire has coached the club team Revolver to 2 National Championships and 2 World Championships. He will bring established relationships with Beau, Ashlin and Mac from that team. Matty Tsang has arguably an even more formidable pedigree – he has coached Women’s team Fury to 7 National Championships (adding to the two they had won before his arrival) and 2 World Championships. He brings relationships with Alex, Cree and Georgia to the team.
With a limited amount of training time, and some of the best players in the world, it would be surprising if this team worked on anything too tactically complex – expect them instead to focus on their fundamentals and run simple, disciplined offense. Defensively, again I’d expect them to use their legs rather than zone, but they’ll be sure to have some junky sets designed to disrupt pull-plays and change the rhythm of the game.
Expected finishing place
Some of the best players in the world, coached by some of the best coaches in the sport. Every single one of these players has experience of the toughest competition and knows what it takes to win. A team of the highest calibre.
[edit: A documentary is being made about Team USA’s journey to Cali. You can now see the trailer for ‘Bidding for Gold‘]
Sounds like team GB have their work cut out! Like what you read? Remember to share and comment. Keep an eye out for OWT2 Preview coming later this week – JCK @ tSG.