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.
Charlie Blair, the UK’s international poster girl, gives us her preview for the Women’s division at London’s Calling (WT1).
London’s Calling is by far my favourite event on the calendar. The event where all teams come both determined after month’s of pre season fitness, training and bonding, and charged by the anticipation of the first tour event, to make their mark and set the tone for the season ahead. So much so that it has become a worthy lure of international competition. Last year’s event itself didn’t disappoint for upsets, with the reigning champions Iceni being relegated to sixth position. London rivals SYC, being the sole representative of the English contingent, against the German national team in the final. This year, the stage is set for more teams to challenge the very top spots.
It appears that the broad selection of players up and down the country that were picked to represent GB last year has really benefitted investment in women’s clubs. As a result it is by no means a two horse race to the final any longer. With Nice Bristols, SYC and the newly rebranded Brighton outfit, Seven Sisters, having all come runners up at each of the tour finals, it thus goes without saying that all will be looking to better their 2012 performance.
Will an influx of fresh blood into SYC from those representing the u23 squad make the difference this year? SYC have clearly shown themselves to be formidable opponents but struggled to maintain consistency last year. Their strong start at London Calling ended up never bettered, or even matched at subsequent events. However, was this simply a result of their infancy as a club? They have never lacked quality, with a roster full of international experience. And so with another year under their belt, are things set to change?
Will Brighton’s famously incessant flair continue to baffle teams who prefer a more disciplined and regimented style of play? They are a team that thrive off the harsh conditions that the south coast hurls at them. Underestimate them at your own peril! Headed this year by Kent superstar, Kate Ford, rest assured, this is a team whose spirits will be near impossible for the most formidable of opponents to crush, and for whom the hammer is always ON.
Will Nice Bristols be able to maintain the momentum of last season having been the only other English team to join Iceni at EUCF 2012? Still with a handful of experienced, international players at the helm, they appear to continue building on solid foundations. They boast big turnouts at training have made getting on their first team fiercer than ever. In contrast LeedLeedsLeeds (LLLs), have lost many key personnel, including one of their most invested and influential players, Gemma Taylor. Consequently, the focus at LLLs is very much on their up and coming talent this year. With nothing to lose, will these fresh faces cause some surprises?
Equally, how will the first appearance of ROBOT fare? A team where much of LLL’s departed experience has ended up. Essentially an all-star masters team, ROBOT boasts the return of former captains of Leeds and Iceni, Sally Fraser and Whitney Kakos, who were last seen together on pitch competing against each other in the xEUCF 2009 final. The disappearance of Bears and ISO at London Calling this year, also begs the question of how these players have redistributed among other teams/clubs. In the case of the southerners at least, the demise of ISO has given rise to two new teams, Discie Chicks and Something Different.
Finally, last year’s tour champions, Iceni will be determined to defend their home turf, in their quest to retain both domestic and European domination. Like last year, they have picked a very big squad to keep the level of competition and play, within the club as high as possible. And with four GB World Games player’s setting the standard, the bar is indeed high. Will this dynamic again led to Iceni Savage (their iron man spin off) upstaging Iceni ‘full fat’ at London Calling as they did last year? Unfortunately, the former will not have the chance to repeat their impressive victory over the German national team, with Parisian based YAKA being the only international team to attend this weekend. Yet, having been freshly crowned champions of France for the sixth time in a row just last weekend, will they continue to ride high on success over the Channel and be the source of the biggest upsets?
Just as last year, I am continually excited by the development and level of increasing investment in women’s clubs. As such, this year, I genuinely believe the competition to be wide open. None of the teams working hard for those top spots deserve to be underestimated. However, as an Iceni warrior myself, named after the tribe that so happened to famously dominate the St Albans area two thousand years ago, I’ll be attending London Calling with every belief in my team coming out on top!
|UKU Open/Women’s Tour 1: London’s Calling!
So who are you backing? Comment, like, share and more! Use the #ukut1 hashtag over the weekend and keep an eye on here for scores. Watch out for our Open preview, soon…
With the final installment of Mixed Tour this weekend, what have we got in store for Cheltenham?
The weather looks to be cold with some chance of rain later in the weekend. This never stopped us but please pack warm and stay warm camping!
Sadly we still have no schedule (mostly down to late dropouts) but we know where to look for excitement. We will see the likes of RGS, World Games, Cambridge, Brighton, DED, Black Eagles and Herd fighting for top spots. Watch out for some of the next 8 fighting their way up, Bristol, Shiny Happy Meeples and U23’s will not give up and will want to finish off the tour strongly.
Last chance saloon for Mixed tour glory. Keep an eye out for our review next week covering Mixed Tour as a whole and looking forward to Nationals and further.
EDIT: Full standings (so far) can be found here
See y’all there use the hashtag #ukumt3 for more info and results! Want to give us your opinion? Don’t be scared! Like, share and contribute. tSG
The Grapevine covers almost every UK blog and a mention to our European partners Get Horizontal!
Mark Earley interviews the Shiok Ultimate player Nick See on Ultimate Interviews.
Our European friends Get Horizontal review the Belgian mixed tournament G-SPOT, where Cambridge came out Spirit winners! Also go read a preview of Tom’s Tourney where some UK teams will party and play over in Brugges as of yesterday.
Barry O’Kane talks to Lauren Bryant and David Pryce on his unedited UTalkRaw Episode 18 about GB Beach Mixed, part of the GB squad series.
An amazing slo mo video of a recent MLU game shows us how Ultimate should be filmed.
Glastonbury has opened its registration for the weekend of 7/8th September, go register here.
A great piece on why children should be their own referees in sports and in particular play Ultimate.
Donate towards the GB World Games cause, it’s not a cheap trip to Columbia!
Benji Heywood talks about cutting and in particularly getting separation on a new post in the Understanding Ultimate blog.
Finally, go see who we are and what we are all about!
|The UKU works alongside Matalan and Steve Redgrave to get school children into Ultimate. Photo Courtesy of Carl Fox.
A quick request: anyone want to write more on the Women’s division?! We are in need of such a writer, please contact us! Also remember to share, like and tweet :).
A review of the second Mixed Tour event held in Manchester.
Last weekend saw 52 teams from all around the UK converge on Manchester for Mixed Tour 2. The seedings for this Tour were, on the whole, more accurate as they were based on the finishing positions for Mixed Tour 1 but some teams still felt they had a lot to prove and wanted a shot at the top spot currently held by the World Games squad.
With the WG squad being selected we lost one team from the tour, as well as the Irish u23’s. This paved the way for a couple of teams on the waiting list and bumped a few teams up a seed or two.
|DED vs Herd 1: Matthew Hodgson grabs over his team mate whilst pressured by Luke T. Courtesy of BlockStack.
The info graphic below shows how teams moved from their initial seed to finishing place.
Fun fact – Five teams retained their initial seed: WG (1), DED (6), Bear Cav 2 (29), Brixton (46) and Flyght 2 (48).
- Team Shark +13
- Flyght +12
- JR 1 +11
- Devon +9
- Magic Toast/Some Team 1 +8
- Curve -11
- Golden Ants/Lemmings -7
- Peeps/Halcyon -6
This was Team Shark’s first appearance of the season and they were probably slightly under seeded but a great jump up into top of the bottom half. Great work from Flyght, JR, Devon and Some Team to truly beat the system. Magic Toast (having picked up some of the WG trial players) got themselves back where they belong in the top 4.
The final, between World Games and Royal Goaltimate Society, started off a rather one sided affair with WG taking the first half convincingly. However, RGS were not going to sit back and let them win easily. A second half comeback brought them within a couple of points, but the athleticism and experience on the WG squad told in the end and they finally pulled away to take the title 15-8.
|Guess the WG player? Courtesy of Rien de Keyser.
My final note is one on the sadder side of our sport: injuries. In rather innocuous circumstances, a Scarecrew player suffered a dislocated knee and broken ankle that not only ended her game but the entire game. Josh and I would like to wish Eley Haslam a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing her on the field when the time is right.
To everyone else, please stay safe and do your fitness!! See you at Mixed Tour 3 in a couple of weeks in Cheltenham.
|The ups and downs of Mixed Tour 2 (comparison of initial seed to final position).
|Want to contribute please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or simply like what you see? Comment, like, tweet any feedback is welcome!
Every Friday – A summary of some of the latest Ultimate based posts from UK, Europe and beyond…
Ka-Pow! repeat last year’s win at the DED warm-up, write up by Eddy Van Der Kloot.
Our friend and contributor Mark Earley gives us another great interview with the Ireland u23 Open coach Leo Yoshida.
Barry O’Kane talks to the one and only Ultimate Rob in Episode 15 and aforementioned Mark Earley in Episode 16 (with a great shout-out cheers Mark!) on UTalkRaw.
UKU AGM takes place at MT2 in Manchester, agenda here.
PushPass have filmed 20 games at Uni Nationals, buy and watch for only £8.99.
Also check out the latest post in ‘Drama‘ discussing the recent ESPN/USA Ultimate deal.
Cardiff beat Swansea in their University varsity, watch some footage here.
WFDF announces the number of preliminary slots countries are allocated for their club teams at WUCC 2014 in Italy.
The GB World Games team was announced a fortnight ago for Cali 2013
Do you own or know of a blog or website that should be here? Let us know!
The British outdoor season kicked off again a week ago in Cardiff with the first instalment of the UKU Mixed Tour. David Pryce summarises the weekend’s action.
A grand total of 52 teams descended on the University of Cardiff sports fields including two trialling (now selected) World Games teams, GB U23’s and Ireland’s U23 squad.
Alongside these national squads the regulars canada goose Calgary Jakke mænd of Bear Cavalry, Thundering Herd and Brighton were mixed in with newer/pick up squads Royal Goaltimate Society (RGS), Magic Toast and Meeples. Further down the seedings we saw the likes of Reading, JR, Guildford, ABH, Steal and many more battle it out for a possible higher seed at the next tour.
Below is a graphic of how the teams rose or fell from their initial seeds. Of course, I know that the TD’s struggled with the seedings this time round, not made easy by the new teams. Overall most teams stayed within a fair margin of their original seed so the TD did a great job there (and with the rest of tournament, as ever). However their were a few big jumps:
- Ireland U23 +11
- Reading +10
- ABH C +10
- Steal +10
- Choke Hazard -15
- GU1 -14
- St Albans -13
- Flump -9
Some of these falls are most likely to do with strong players going to new teams or not playing at all but in general I think the returning national players missed over past canada goose Canada Goose dame few years now in the WG, Magic Toast, RGS teams has pushed the standard up once again.
The teams eating up seeds appear to have worked really hard and fought out every game, everyone loves a challenge and being that initial underdog can really work in your favour.
Black Eagles yet again perform well after a solid season last year.
Brighton are always high in the tour and remain solid at 4th.
Some Team rising from 38th to 29th have really found some flow.
Note of interest:
Bear Cav were missing their main man Dave Tyler and so didn’t top the club team table but I wouldn’t count them as out yet. For teams in the top 10 anything can happen.
GBWG really showed us what they plan to take to Cali with everyone able to pick the disc up and scoring easily with defences lagging behind. Look out for them as one team in Manchester.
Ireland U23 were probably a little under seeded but still came out strong. In a similar manner to their slightly older beach counterparts played a very good mixed game to secure some invaluable playing time together.
GB U23 had a great Saturday but struggled a little on Sunday with team dynamics holding them back at times. Some true moments of great ultimate were mixed in with a few too many turns and mis communications. These guys and gals will definitely be back next tour and will hopefully use the great training they are having to step it up ready for Worlds this summer.
|Final positions and how they have moved.