Page 1

MLU Offseason everything you need to know about the 2014 season 16 pages of team features

Q & A with

mlu founders 2014 Jerseys Unveiled

December 2013


AD HOLDER


Contents About the MLU....................2 Eastern conference Boston Whitecaps..............4 Washington DC Current.....6 New York Rumble...............8 Philadelphia Spinners.....10 Western conference San Francisco Dogfish.....16 Seattle Rainmakers.........18 Vancouver Nighthawks....20 Portland Stags.................22 Question & Answer...........24 2014 MLU Jerseys...........25 I am a senior at Marist College studying Sports Communication; as my capstone project, I decided to create an MLU offseason magazine that featured articles on each team along with some other pieces. All team features were written by me, while other content was taken from MLUltimate.com with permission. Logos were also taken from MLUltimate.com, while the in-game photos could be found at Ultiphotos.com. I would like to thank the MLU for being a great help with this project, especially Paul Des Marais and Nic Darling. Enjoy. – Matthew Hunt (@MattHunt22) MLU Offseason / 1


What is the MLU?

The Teams

Major League Ultimate was formed out of a long held belief in the bright future of ultimate. Those of us who gathered together to start this league know that ultimate is played by too many amazing athletes, features too many dramatic moments and produces too many incredible highlights to find itself on the sideline of spectator sports. We understand the potential of the game and know that ultimate, properly presented, can be the next sport to grab the attention of the world. The league finds its direct origins in the experience of the 2012 Philadelphia Spinners and their coach and GM, Jeff Snader. The Spinners demonstrated the viability of professional ultimate through the commitment of their fans, the excitement of their games and their engagement of those outside of the existing ultimate community. However, they found themselves hemmed-in and held back by the situation in which they played. Jeff was forced, as the leader of the team, to find a new direction in which to take this promising beginning. And so the MLU was born. Jeff pulled together a core group of individuals that shared his vision for the sport and together they established a space in which professional ultimate can grow and flourish.

The MLU consists of 8 teams in 2 divisions. The Eastern Conference is home to Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington DC, while the Western Conference will feature San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver. Each of these team locations was chosen based on their population, existing sports culture, relative distance from other franchises and existing ultimate community. When considering the ultimate community of a city, the youth scene was given particular attention as a developed youth program is a sure sign of future growth.

The mission The MLU will bring ultimate to a world-wide audience by making it accessible and exciting for our fans, rewarding for our players, profitable for our investors and productive for our partners.

The 2013 season

Our inaugural season began on April 20, 2013 and consisted of 40 regular season matches, two playoff matches, and the 2013 MLU Championship game. Regular season matches in the first season were played within the conference over a 10 week season. On July 13, the post-season pit the Eastern and Western Conference champions — the Boston Whitecaps and the San Francisco Dogfish — against each other in the MLU Championship game at Franklin Field in Philadelphia. With a 20-15 win over the Dogfish, the Boston Whitecaps became the first MLU team to achieve a perfect season (12-0) and the champions of Major League Ultimate’s first season.

The 2014 season Season Two will begin on April 12 and run until the Championship Weekend on July 12. Comprised of the same 8 teams in 2 divisions, the regular season will span 11 weeks this year allowing for rainouts and other schedule issues. This second season promises to be bigger and better, complete with the best ultimate talent in the nation, improved fan experiences, updated stadiums, comprehensive game coverage, and new sponsors.

From MLUltimate.com - by Paul Des Marais 2 / December 2013


2013 Standings W-L

GF

10-0 219

GA

+/-

160

59

4-6

176

187

-11

3-7

172

188

-16

3-7

164

196

-32


BOSTON WHITECAPS

The Boston Whitecaps have a long road ahead of them if they want to repeat their 2013 Championship season. After defeating the DC Current in the Eastern Conference Championship, the Whitecaps headed to Philadelphia to play the San Francisco Dogfish for the MLU National Championship. The Whitecaps beat the Dogfish 20-15 to earn the league’s first title. Not only did the team win the Championship in the league’s first season, but they managed to go undefeated as well. Winning the Championship was the team’s goal right from the start and they did not hesitate getting to work. “Before our first practice last winter we sat the entire team down in a conference room with the coaching staff and front office. Jason Adams, our head coach, as well as Jeff Graham and Mike Wiseman

laid out a whole set of plans on how the team would work on the field,” said David Kucherlapati, the general manager of the Boston Whitecaps. “We all knew that there was more than enough talent and drive in the room to get us to the championship game so Adams and Graham started right off the bat; our goal is to win, because we can.” Jeff Graham’s leadership on and off the field translated to his play during the season as well. Graham had 49 points in 2013, only trailing Josh Markette and Peter Prial for most on the team. Graham also won Most Valuable Player of the MLU Finals. According to Kucherlapati, the depth of great players around Graham is what made the Whitecaps such a dangerous team. “Every team in the MLU had stars but the Whitecaps are bursting at the seams with talent,” explained Kucher-

“Our goal is to win, because we can.”

4 / December 2013


lapati. “Jeff Graham set the bar pretty high in those first few games and the other teams came to realize that they had to limit his effect on the field. But if you put more coverage on Graham downfield then you open up the door for Danny Clark, Peter Prial, Brian Zid or any number of the elite players on the Whitecaps roster.” It’s tough to say the team has a weakness when they have won every matchup, but that hasn’t stopped the team from working hard. “It’s always about the next game,” said Kucherlapati. “We’re always looking for ways to improve the team for our fans…regardless of the scoreboard at the end of a game practices and team workouts were always tough.” The team plans to carry their strengths and hard work into the 2014 season, as the competition will likely be much tougher. The Whitecaps will also have a target on their back as teams will be trying to hand the defending champions their first franchise loss. “We fully expect every team in the league to be stronger this coming season,” stated Kucherlapati. “I think we’ll see a few new faces coming into every team this year, there’s certainly no lack of talent in any of the MLU cities.” With the same core group of elite players expected to return for the 2014 season, the Boston Whitecaps are an early favorite to reach the 2014 National Championship. According to Kucherlapati, the team’s goals for 2014 are no different. “Our first goal will be to get back to the Eastern Conference Championship…and of course we’ll be gunning for the MLU Championship again.”

2014 TEAM SCHEDULE 4/12

vs.

5/17

@

4/19

@

5/24

vs.

4/26

vs.

6/7

vs.

5/3

@

6/14

@

5/10

vs.

6/21

@

*All games scheduled for 12:00pm*

2013 TEAM LEADERS Josh Markette Points: 62*|Goals: 23|Assists: 39* Peter Prial Points: 55|Goals: 35*|Assists: 20 Jeff Graham Points: 49|Goals: 30|Assists: 19 * - denotes league leader

MLU Offseason / 5


washington DC Current

The Washington DC Current’s taste of success in 2013 appears to be a promising sign of things to come in 2014 and beyond. The team finished the regular season in a dramatic fashion, defeating the New York Rumble 22-20 in the final game to secure the second playoff spot. Unfortunately, the team fell to the Boston Whitecaps in the Eastern Conference Championship, losing 23-15. The DC Current gave the undefeated Whitecaps the most trouble in 2013, almost defeating them in the second game of the season. The team hopes that they could build off of that with a win over the Whitecaps in 2014. “Boston is top dog right now and deservedly so,” said Matt Dewhurst, the general manager of the DC Current. “But they can be beat. I just hope it’s us that beats them.” Although the team made the play-

offs, they had an unimpressive 4-6 record (4-3 outside of games against Boston). One of the team’s struggles was staying consistent in games. Keven Moldenhauer, the Current’s head coach, stated during the season that the team could not “put together a complete game.”` However, the team showed improvement as the season went along, finishing strong after an 0-2 start. “The Current had kind of an up-anddown season but you could really see the team gelling at the end, which is why, I believe, we made the playoffs,” claimed Dewhurst. The team has firm expectations for the team in 2014, based off of the strides made in 2013. In fact, the team not only expects to beat the Whitecaps, but to overtake them for first place in the Eastern Conference as well. “I expect us to be battling for the top spot in the Eastern Conference,” said De-

“I expect us to be battling for the top spot.”

6 / December 2013


whurst. “We were there at the end last season and I see no reason that this team should not be right back in the conference championship.” The team also made a change in the front office after the 2013 season. Dusty Rhodes, the general manager of the Current in 2013, left the team for another position with Major League Ultimate. Matt Dewhurst was hired as his replacement and he did not hesitate in making moves to meet 2014 expectations. The team announced the resigning of seven players on November 27th. Some of the players resigned include the league leader in throws completed (481), offensive handler Alan Kolick, as well as Calvin Oung and Sean Keegan, two of the team’s top offensive cutters. The team’s 2013 points leader, Markham Shofner, is also expected to resign along with Ryan Todd and Delrico Johnson. Players also stated the team’s goals after resigning with the team. “Our goals are simple. Win the Eastern Conference regular season title. Win the Conference Championship game. Win the MLU Championship game,” said defensive cutter David Cranston. Alan Kolick also discussed the team’s expectations. “I think that we all expect to win this year. I know that we have the talent to win it all; we just need to demonstrate that on the field.” It is also believed that the fans will impact the team’s success in 2014. “I also expect our fan experience to be one of the best in the league which I think will give us a big advantage,” said Dewhurst. “Our fans are great in DC and I have some ideas to pay them back and really make each home game an event.”

2014 TEAM SCHEDULE 4/12

@

5/17

@

4/19

vs.

5/31

vs.

4/26

@

6/7

@

5/3

vs.

6/14

vs.

5/10

vs.

6/21

@

*All games scheduled for 12:00pm*

2013 TEAM LEADERS Markham shofner Points: 50|Goals: 17|Assists: 33 Alan kolick Points: 47|Goals: 13|Assists: 34 Calvin Oung Points: 43|Goals: 21|Assists: 22 MLU Offseason / 7


New york RUMBLE

The New York Rumble had a rough end to their 2013 season, losing to the DC Current in a game that would have sent them to the playoffs with a win. Despite a slow start, the Rumble found themselves in a heated playoff race towards the end of the season. The Rumble and Current both entered the last game tied for the final playoff spot, meaning that the winner would travel to Boston for the Eastern Conference Championship. The Rumble fought hard, but could not secure a playoff berth, losing 22-20. Although the team enjoyed some success during the inaugural season, they were disappointed with the way it ended. “It’s never easy to lose a game,” said Michelle Kondracki, the general manager of the New York Rumble. “The team reacted how most competitors would, like we left the job unfinished.”

Some of the success that the team enjoyed was making plays that found their way onto ESPN’s SportsCenter. “For the MLU and the Rumble specifically, I think it shows how great the talent pool really is in this league,” said Kondracki. “When people think about ultimate players, they don’t think of talented athletes; I think people will start to rethink that paradigm.” Making highlight reel plays was not the only strength that the team had. The Rumble were one of the top defensive teams in the league, led by Rob Baker who had a league-leading 21 throws defended. The Rumble also had one of the most prominent offensive players in 2013, Chris Mazur. Mazur, the 2013 Eastern Conference Most Valuable Player, led the team in all offensive categories. Although the team had one of the biggest offensive threats, the team strug-

“Being so close... has only made the team more hungry for this season.”

8 / December 2013


gled as a whole on offense. “The Rumble had too many turnovers on offense which hurt our team’s chances last season on making the playoffs,” claimed Kondracki. “In 2014 we will continue to increase defensive intensity but we will give more focus on strengthening the offense as well.” According to Kondracki, the 2013 season was a learning experience, as well as establishing something to build from. “While I think that the first season was a great success, there is always room for improvement,” stated Kondracki. “Next year, we plan to have that same jump in success.” The team will be working hard to make that same jump in success. Players have been staying in game shape during the offseason by playing for club teams and working out. The team will also look to make improvements on the roster. “We will be looking for top talent at our tryouts to fill in some of our weaker spots and create a much deeper team,” said Kondracki. With returning players improving in the offseason and a deeper roster, the Rumble will be a strong competitor for the 2014 season. Staff and players will not only strive to prove that they are a playoff team, but that they are capable of winning the MLU National Championship as well. “Being so close to that opportunity has only made the team more hungry for this season,” said Kondracki.

2014 TEAM SCHEDULE 4/12

@

5/17

vs.

4/19

vs.

5/24

@

4/26

@

6/8

5/3 5/10

vs.

vs.

6/14

@

@

6/21

vs.

*All games scheduled for 12:00pm*

2013 TEAM LEADERS Chris Mazur Points: 56|Goals: 24|Assists: 32 Ben faust Points: 45|Goals: 16|Assists: 29 Kevin terry Points: 30|Goals: 7|Assists: 23 MLU Offseason / 9


Philadelphia Spinners

The Philadelphia Spinners played in their second consecutive inaugural season in 2013, but their season with the MLU did not meet expectations set by their 2012 season. The Spinners were a part of the American Ultimate Disc League in 2012, winning the championship in its inaugural season. After the 2012 season, the team left the league to help form the MLU. With high expectations entering 2013, the Spinners had a disappointing season, finishing in last place with a 3-7 record. The biggest factor of the team’s last place finish was the loss of seven players from their championship season. However, the Spinners have been working to bring some of them back. The team announced in November that they have brought back one of those players; star offensive handler David Brandolph. Brandolph is a huge acquisition for a team that struggled on offense in 2013. “Brando will

help us be more dynamic on offense, but the real thing he will bring is chemistry,” said Billy Maroon, the team’s head coach. “He has played with these guys for years on a club team in Philadelphia, and everyone is pumped about him coming back to the team.” Jake Rainwater, who took 2013 off from professional ultimate, also signed with the team. Rainwater was the team’s Most Valuable Player in 2012 and he is already eager to make a statement in 2014. “Obviously, the impact I want to have would take place in the wins column,” stated Rainwater. “Unlike someone who is brand new to the Spinners organization, I know this team, how these guys play as well as the general system and style of this team.” Although the team struggled in 2013, expectations are still high going into the 2014 season. “I expect to regroup and go in strong,” said Jacqueline Freedman, the gen-

“I expect to regroup and go in strong.”

10 / December 2013


eral manager of the Philadelphia Spinners. “Last season was tough for everyone, and I want to focus on how we are going to succeed this year.” Team management is mainly focused on how to improve strategically in 2014. “We are going to have set plans and outlines for how we will execute each move we make,” stated Freedman. “These will be the means of how we plan to accomplish our season goals within the time frame that we have.” Mark Evangelisto, the former GM of the Spinners, left the team to become a part owner of the Washington DC Current. Freedman, who was named the interim GM after his departure, has been keeping players busy even after the end of the USA Ultimate club season. “Under our new management, we have been successfully upping the amount of outreach that we are doing,” said Freedman. “The guys have all been busy with clinics, high school events, and hat tournaments.” The Spinners will have tough competition in 2014, especially in the Boston Whitecaps. The team understands that improvements need to be made if they want to be in contention for the championship. “The 2014 season shouldn’t be about trying to replicate our success and style of play from 2012 but rather building off the things that the Spinners did well from this past year and being more prepared and focused,” claimed Rainwater. With players from their 2012 championship roster returning for 2014, it would not be unlikely to find the Spinners with a 2014 Eastern Conference title.

2014 TEAM SCHEDULE 4/12

vs.

5/17

vs.

4/19

@

5/31

@

4/26

vs.

6/8

@

5/3

@

6/14

vs.

5/10

@

6/21

vs.

*All games scheduled for 12:00pm*

2013 TEAM LEADERS Sean murray Points: 38|Goals: 26|Assists: 12 Arthur shull Points: 34|Goals: 19|Assists: 15 David baer Points: 25|Goals: 5|Assists: 20 MLU Offseason / 11


2013 MLU NATIO THE BOSTON


ONAL CHAMPIONS WHITECAPS


AD HOLDER


2013 Standings W-L

GF

GA

+/-

8-2

204

164

40

8-2

188

155

33

3-7

175

191

-16

1-9

151

208

-57


San francisco Dogfish

The San Francisco Dogfish fell just short of winning the MLU National Championship in the league’s inaugural season. The Dogfish found themselves in the finals after a tough battle with the Seattle Rainmakers in the Western Conference Championship, winning 18-17. However, the team could not pull off the win against the undefeated Boston Whitecaps, falling 20-15 in the National Championship game. Although the team failed to win the championship, the season held many bright spots to build off of heading into the 2014 season. The Dogfish scored the most goals in the Western Conference, a result of their talent and great chemistry. The team also had a strong fan base for the inaugural season, drawing an impressive 1,300 fans for the opening game. The Western Conference champions also have improvements to make if they want to build on the 2013 success. The

team struggled without the crowd, losing both regular season games on the road as well as the championship game that took place in Philadelphia. “I want to play better on the road…” said Justin Safdie, the Dogfish head coach. “We struggled in all of our road games, and that carried over into the championship as well.” Safdie also believes that some improvements could be made by strengthening the coaching staff. “Having offensive and defensive coordinators will be key to our success moving forward,” claimed Safdie. “I would have structured my coaching staff better in order to both prepare and review content better.” The team is also focused on matters off the field. “One of our core principles is to promote the sport of ultimate,” said Chris Sherwood, the general manager of the San Francisco Dogfish. “We have plans to run many more clinics and make the

“...coordinators will be key to our success moving forward.”

16 / December 2013


game more social in order to fully engage our loyal fans. We are also going to work hard to promote the sport to people less familiar with the game of ultimate and get them excited about the game we all love.� The Dogfish also developed an early rivalry with the Seattle Rainmakers. The two teams both finished with an 8-2 record and fought back and forth throughout the season, most notably in the Western Conference Championship. The rivalry will make for added intensity, for both the players and the spectators, making it much easier to promote the sport in the way that Sherwood hopes. Dogfish players kept active following the end of the 2013 MLU season. Seventeen of the Dogfish players also played for Revolver in the fall, a team that is part of the USA Ultimate Club Division. Revolver faced off against Boston Ironside, a team that consists of many Boston Whitecap players, in the finals of Club Nationals. Revolver defeated Ironside in a game that may have felt like redemption of the 2013 MLU Championship to many players. Defeating some of the Whitecap players in Club Nationals may have felt nice, but Dogfish players still have their eyes set on the 2014 MLU National Championship. With other teams improving and making changes, the Dogfish must improve as well if they want to find themselves in the 2014 MLU Finals. If the Dogfish make the finals, it is quite possible that they face the Whitecaps again in a 2013 MLU Championship rematch.

2014 TEAM SCHEDULE 4/12

vs.

5/4

@

4/19

@

5/17

vs.

4/20

@

5/31

vs.

4/26

vs.

6/7

@

5/3

@

6/21

vs.

*All games scheduled for 12:00pm*

2013 TEAM LEADERS Beau kittredge Points: 46|Goals: 32|Assists: 14 Eric greenwood Points: 39|Goals: 25|Assists: 14 Ashlin joye Points: 34|Goals: 9|Assists: 25 MLU Offseason / 17


Seattle Rainmakers

The Seattle Rainmakers came as close as you could get to an MLU Championship bid in 2013. The San Francisco Dogfish narrowly beat the Rainmakers in the Western Conference Championship, 18-17. With seconds remaining in the game, the Rainmakers put up a Hail Mary to tie it, but the Dogfish caught the disc as time expired. Part owner and 2013 general manager of the Rainmakers, Max Vitali, believed that they could have won the game if the team tied it. “Our game plan was to give everything in the second part of the game and we were one play away from making it to overtime…and I think we would have won,” claimed Vitali. He also thinks that the tough loss is the start of a rivalry with the Dogfish. “It is a rivalry,” stated Vitali. “We’re definitely looking for revenge and they’ll be the team to beat next year; but I don’t see

big problems in beating them.” Although the Rainmakers failed to reach the MLU Championship, they were one of the top teams in the league in 2013, finishing with an 8-2 record. The team allowed the least amount of points in the league and also had some of the top offensive players. Adam Simon, the 2013 Western Conference Most Valuable Player, and Mark Burton, the Western Conference leader in points, were key players in the team’s offense. The Rainmakers may struggle to repeat their offensive success in 2014, due to Mark Burton leaving the team to join the Portland Stags. Seth Wiggins, who was injured for the majority of the season, also decided to leave the team. Although losing both Burton and Wiggins is tough, Vitali is not worried. “Seattle is a huge area with tons of tal-

“We definitely have our chances at a championship bid.”

18 / December 2013


ent...top of the country with ultimate talent,” claimed Vitali. “Although it is a big loss, I don’t think it will be a problem replacing them with other big names. We thank them for everything they have done.” In fact, Vitali believes that the Rainmakers will do even better in 2014. “We definitely have our chances at a championship bid. Last year was really close and I think we could do better,” stated Vitali. “I believe Seattle not only deserves to be first in fan recognition and perception around the world, but also on the field. We will definitely have our chance. We can’t say yes we’re going to win, but we have a good chance.” The team’s fan recognition may be the best in the league as well. Between the Rainmakers’ Facebook page having the most likes of any MLU team and players being recognized outside of games, the amount of recognition is something Vitali did not expect. Vitali also claims seeing a Rainmakers jersey in a Paris, France airport, about 5,000 miles away from Seattle. Another reason that Vitali is not worried is the new general manager that the team hired, Rusty Brown. Vitali was impressed by his work as the team’s operations manager in 2013 and has no doubt that he will do even better as a GM. Brown will face many challenges, especially with holes left by Burton and Wiggins. He has yet to sign anyone for 2014, but he intends to have one of the top teams in the league. It will be very hard to build off of their 2013 success if the team enters 2014 with a diminished roster.

2014 TEAM SCHEDULE 4/12

@

5/17

@

4/19

vs.

5/31

vs.

4/26

vs.

6/7

@

5/3

vs.

6/14

vs.

@

6/21

@

5/10

*All games scheduled for 12:00pm*

2013 TEAM LEADERS Mark Burton Points: 54|Goals: 33|Assists: 21 Adam simon Points: 43|Goals: 18|Assists: 25 Daniel trytiak Points: 28|Goals: 16|Assists: 12 MLU Offseason / 19


VANCOUVER Nighthawks

Although the Vancouver Nighthawks struggled on the field in 2013, the team established themselves not only off the field, but as a team that could be dangerous in the future. Despite a 3-7 record, the Nighthawks believe that 2013 was a success, especially with it being the inaugural season. “It was a very successful season,” claimed Andrew Lugsdin, the head coach and general manager of the Vancouver Nighthawks. “Obviously we would have loved to have seen better results in the win column but the fans had a great experience, the players had a great experience, and everyone involved wants to build on what’s been started.” One facet of the organization that has room for improvement is the roster that mainly consists of young players. “We knew that we had a young team as a basis to build from,” said Lugsdin. “I would

say…that we were successful at improving the young talent on the team which is something that we knew we needed to do to eventually build towards being a champion.” The players have already shown improvement during the 2013 season as well. “There were a number of folks that were on the cusp of being productive at this level and they’ve now shown that they can be a part of a championship team,” stated Lugsdin. “What we need to do is continue to build more of those pieces and find a way to fit them all together.” According to Lugsdin, the team played hard all season, claiming that one of their biggest strengths was their effort and focus. However, the by-products of being a young team showed, as the Nighthawks lacked consistency throughout the season. Lugsdin believes that the young

“...they’ve now shown that they can be a part of a championship team.”

20 / December 2013


players could eventually develop into players that can make great plays with consistency. Lugsdin also noted that the team lacked confidence, another side-effect of being a young team. “I think with a young team there can be issues with confidence whenever you’re in a very competitive situation….The guys wanted to do so well to represent Vancouver and I think that this pressure caused some tightness and some frustrations during the year.” The Nighthawks recently announced that they have resigned three key players of 2013, Alex Davis, Morgan Hibbert, and Aaron Loach. Hibbert, who was injured for a significant portion of last season, plans to make a bigger impact in 2014. “Health has always been and will forever be a constant struggle for me,” said Hibbert. “I am currently as healthy as I have ever been and am looking forward to throwing my body around as recklessly as ever.” The Nighthawks hope that these roster moves are the first of many that improve the team for 2014. The team’s only wins in 2013 came against the Portland Stags, but an improved roster could make the Nighthawks a threat for the Seattle Rainmakers and San Francisco Dogfish. “When you’re 3-7 you know that you need to get better. There’s no magic solution that will give us more wins, we need to improve ourselves,” stated Lugsdin. “Seattle and San Francisco beat us every time we played them; that’s not a fluke. If we want to win, then we need to, at the very least, get to their level.” The Nighthawks have the potential to be a strong contender; it is just a matter of finding the consistency and confidence to make it happen.

2014 TEAM SCHEDULE 4/12

@

5/24

vs.

4/20

vs.

5/31

@

4/26

@

6/7

vs.

5/10

vs.

6/15

vs.

5/17

@

6/21

@

*All games scheduled for 12:00pm*

2013 TEAM LEADERS oscar pottinger Points: 38|Goals: 6|Assists: 32 Mark Leduc Points: 37|Goals: 27|Assists: 10 Andre gailits Points: 35|Goals: 25|Assists: 10 MLU Offseason / 21


Portland Stags

Although the 2013 standings suggest that the Portland Stags will not be a threat in 2014, the team thinks otherwise. The Stags finished with an unimpressive 1-9 record, the worst in the league. However, the team arguably has the most potential in the league. “Some of our biggest strengths on the Stags are the youth of our players and their athleticism,” said Nathan Schorsch, the general manager of the Portland Stags. “We have a great group of young talent that are the rising stars on the national ultimate stage.” Due to being such a young team, a lack of focus has been a main concern. “One of our biggest weaknesses is that the players here haven’t committed their time to ultimate like many of the other west coast cities,” claimed Schorsch. “We have great potential, but the culture needs to be shifted towards committing to a team with the goal of winning.”

Many changes are being made for the 2014 season in order to take advantage of the potential that the team has. “There are some areas that we can improve upon, and we are taking steps in the offseason to make sure that our organization is running as efficiently as possible,” said Schorsch. “We went out and hired two new coaches to replace Justin Becker, and we are working on a cohesive strategy for the 2014 season that will seek to fix many of the issues we had in 2013.” According to Schorsch, Portland consists of many players with limitless potential, and the changes being made will make it easier to add these players. “The makeup of our team will be somewhat different in 2014 as there is much more player interest and community involvement,” stated Schorsch. “This will lead to us picking up better players and being able to make a stronger team from top to bottom.”

“...we’re in the race, we just need to finish.”

22 / December 2013


The Stags have already added one of the top players in the league, Mark Burton. Burton scored 33 goals, the second most in the league, for the Seattle Rainmakers in 2013. “When I tried out with them last year, I liked the energy and the style of play that the core of the Stags-to-be had,” said Burton. “The encouragement coming from the players’ mouths after a good play or hustle points and the love for the game of ultimate really excited me about playing with the Stags.” The team’s capability to compete in 2013 is a good sign heading into 2014. “Despite our 1-9 record in 2013, we had a number of close games that we simply couldn’t close out, so we’re in the race, we just need to finish,” said Schorsch. Their win against the San Francisco Dogfish proves that they can compete, as the Dogfish were the Western Conference champions. However, the team is strictly focused on 2014 rather than past accomplishments. “Looking ahead at 2014, we’re not really concerned about what happened this past year,” stated Schorsch. “It was great to get that win, but our guys know that we can be in every game we play, so it’s not as though we’re looking back to that game as a confidence boost.” After their last place finish in 2013, the Stags are eager to prove that they are capable of being a winning team. “We already have most of the top club players excited and anxiously awaiting the 2014 season,” said Schorsch.

2014 TEAM SCHEDULE 4/12

vs.

5/31

4/26

@

6/7

@ vs.

5/4

vs.

6/14

5/17

vs.

6/15

@

5/24

@

6/21

vs.

@

*All games scheduled for 12:00pm*

2013 TEAM LEADERS Cody bjorklund Points: 41|Goals: 15|Assists: 26 Timmy perston Points: 36|Goals: 32|Assists: 4 Eli Friedman Points: 25|Goals: 13|Assists: 12 MLU Offseason / 23


question & answer with mlu president jeff snader & VP Nic Darling Question: How do you grow a sport where most of the fans would rather play than watch? and why don’t couch potato sports fans like ultimate? Nic Darling: This is a great question and is central to our work. It’s also probably too big to answer briefly, but I’ll have a go. ultimate is a huge participation sport in the US (bigger than lacrosse and hockey combined) but there has never been a great place for the casual fan (or even those who play) to watch. We are creating that place. The casual sports fan doesn’t dislike ultimate. They don’t know it. We have had a great response from first timers through our live games and Comcast broadcasts, and our work placing clips on outlets like ESPN is starting to make a difference. This is an incredible sport to watch when presented well and people who have never played are beginning to see that.

Question: Do you have plans for any Midwest teams in the near future? Do you see the MLU and the AUDL merging someday? Jeff Snader: No merger plans. MLU has a different vision and trajectory. Impressed with some teams in AUDL; might look at them in the future. Question: Midwest division? Is that a possibility? Or does the AUDL have too much of a monopoly there? Jeff Snader: We have expansion plans to Pittsburgh, Minneapolis, Denver, Chicago and Toronto. Those teams are in development but are not slated for 2014. When we launch them we want to come in with a bang Question: Will Pittsburgh have a team? Nic Darling: We have a crew in Pittsburgh that is passionate about building that team. We won’t see them playing in 2014, but I’d look for some more info on the team in the near future.

Question: Would you consider 2 pointers for full field huck scores for increased entertainment and end game excitement?

Question: Were you pleased with attendance this season? Do you expect higher attendance numbers next season?

Jeff Snader: Something we are going to test this offseason. Question: Will we see an All-Star/ all-MLU game this season? I think most people would like to see more competition between coasts beyond the championship game. (I think people would also like to see some more full-team inter-conference play as well.) Nic Darling: We would like to see more inter-coastal play as well, but logistically it is challenging. That said it is something we are looking at closely for 2014 and we think we have some creative ways to get there. I can say no more for now. An all-star game is definitely on the table for 2014. Any thoughts on the process for choosing players? Question: Will there be any expansion teams/interleague play during the regular season in 2014? Jeff Snader: We’re looking to expand the experience in our current 8 markets. New teams are in development but will not be added in 2014. 24 / December 2013

Nic Darling: I think it might be impossible for me to ever say I am pleased with attendance. I also wouldn’t say I’m disappointed. In many ways we did what we planned for this season, but I can see what’s possible and I’m not going to be happy until we get there. Next year I am confident we will see better numbers because of our ability to turn more of our attention and funding in that direction. We can focus a little more on attendance now that some of the other pieces are in place. Question: You faced underwhelming attendance in some cities, well below what you averaged in Philadelphia in the AUDL. What needs to change? Jeff Snader: We average 700+ across the league, close to our goal. We were always behind the curve in 2013 since we created the league September 28th. Out stadium locations and planning efforts will be 4-6 months before they were last season. It will allow for better promotion.

From MLUltimate.com


2014 Team Jerseys ReVEALED


AD HOLDER

MLU Offseason Magazine  

December 2013

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you