Sunday, August 20, 2006

WJUC 2006: Reflections

Another chapter closes in the history of the World Juniors Ultimate Championship and two winners are crowned - USA takes home the gold for the second year in a row in open as the USA women also took first place in a repeat of the 2004 finals with Canada.

Most players im assuming have made their trips home at this point so anyone wanna share some thoughts or reflections? Does it seem to you as if USA will continue to seperate itself from the rest of the pack in coming years, barring unforseen levels of expansion in high school leagues in other countries?

The tournament itself got some very positive press coverage nationwide - in The Denver Post, the Sentinel - (Article 1, Article 2), and the Lowell Sun among others im sure, if you saw any coverage post a link, as im sure people would be interested.

Other media from the tournament:
WJUC Site: Official Photos
Brian Cook Photos
Scoreomatic Results
Kevin Draper (coming soon?)
UltiVillage (more clips of the day coming soon?)

thoughts or comments?

4 comments:

Alex Peters said...

My WJUC photos will be up sometime in the next week on www.ultimatefris.be.

In the meantime, here is a teaser.

Ryan said...

Is anyone else disappointed with Canada's play in the finals after watching it on UVTV. That was a lackluster world championship game.

Now the girls game, on the other hand, was brilliant!

Alex Peters said...

Thursday pictures are now up.

leonardo said...

I think the Canada boys team kinda tried to make things happen their way and were just overpwered by the U.S. methods. Canada has good players, but they were not nearly as consistent overall in ability as the U.S. They needed a handler or two to step up. I recall their mids most of all (McPhee, Russell Street, Quinn Taylor) and their deeps (Miles, Kelian) which is weird. They did have Pat “Squeak” L’Esperance who was very solid, but definitely needed some other guys to step up.

The Aussie boys were good and fought valiantly. They needed one more big time receiver! With the strong handlers/huckers in the lineup (McNaughton, Rule, Turner) and one or two receivers (Blakeley comes to mind) but not anyone unstoppable. They had several drops on passes deep that their height got to over Colombia but couldnt hold on. They lost a receiver first game of the tournament against Canada -- that may have been a factor.

Colombia may have the japanese thing going on. Japan placed third at 98 worlds in Vancouver (i think?) because they were so fast, determined and had a unique game plan. But once teams just decided to huck over them, things changed (this is an over-simplistic analysis, to be sure)

Basically, Colombia had just about everything else. Great patience with the disc when needed. good hands, good throws, etc.

Sweden looked kind of thin all tournament. They needed a larger squad with more playmakers. Stefan told me that the Swedish Ultimate program is currently in a trough as opposed to the crest of 5 years ago or so. This may explain this team's show at Worlds here: they had height, throwers, solid players, but depth and one or two more money players were lacking.

Finland boys ran the Ho- stack which didn't really surprise anyone much. They also seemed to suffer from a bit of lax nature. Again, they ahd accurate throwers, good game but didnt have those guys that could take over a match. Australia, Colombia, US and Canada (to a lesser degree) all had guys that could take the game on their back, IMHO.

Israel needs more time to develop. They had a lot of beach freestylers! Plus their natue of the game is more attuned to something like Paganello. Their main tournaments are (in part) sponsored by BULA - the Beach Ultimate Lovers Association. BULA tournaments are super fun, good parties, lots of spirit, and 5 on 5 beach. I think the competition at Junior Worlds may have been a srurpise to them, but I am just guessing

on the Womens side --

Finland had one girl who threw l90percent of their goals. Overall, the team was too rigid. They didnt quite get down the pacing of the game either, knowing when they needed to really push for a good series of passes. They also had some drops.

Australia women were strong-willed, but had a lot of newbies. They told me that 18 women tried out for the team! Across all of Australia -- so the talent pool that you saw at Worlds was basically all of the junior women players in the country. Many were second year players. They had some huckers and some deeps though. They were much slower than Canada or US. They did put on a very good zone D against both of those teams though, so they came to play for sure.

US women looked out of place in the finals! I only saw the second half (was sending press releases out). But there were many miscues that could have been avoided. basically, Canada juked them somehow, got a mind-meld on them. US was a superior team (Canada had a really strong 8 or 9 though) but Canada got the US to get down on themselves at times in the game. And Canada really figured out the US offense, I think. I asked one of the Canadian coaches after the game about what his team did to make it such a thrilling match. He wouldnt tell me but said, "We couldn't have asked for anything more." implying that the team had really done a bang-up job.

As for the U.S. women -- a very impressive contingent. They had height, handlers, and great defensive players. The coaches had them focused and tough-minded, and they needed all the grit they had to withstand Canada in the finals.

on an overview sort of thing --

Australia has a good thing going and it seems like they are reallyt zoned in to Ultimate with so much success internationall of late. This is all true, but they will suffer from lack of depth at some point. They dont have the same amount of people playing as U.S. and Canada.

One could say the same for Finland and Sweden, too. But like the Olympics, good training, strong focus and steriods, oops, no, not that. But anyway, a small program can produce results.

great Britain I think has a larger Ultimate playing population. I think they have some 40-50 men's club teams playing? 20 or so womens? This GB squad that came to Worlds was kind of funky. They were either up, or down. they could play badly for a half, against finland, and then make a remarkable comeback on mad-crazy skies and D's. Or they could get hosed like they did against Colombia. Or they could beat Sweden at their own game. The team was a bit unfocused and hyper, reflective of their coach, and as such they could either lose concentration altogether or otherwise would out-hyper you and win the game.

Colombia and Venezuela (which coudlnt send a team because their sponsor dropped the ball at the last minute) are both supposed to have very active leagues. You could tell at trading night -- the Colombian kids had tons of jerseys from different club teams back home. There are supposed to be 40 club teams in Bogota and Medellin?

All of their players (well, their rotation was kind of tight, reserved to about 12 or so) had excellent disc skills. With Ultimate's supercheap start-up costs, it makes a lot of sense for Ultimate to do well in latin america. Soccer is king, then beisball, and then.... I can't see any reason why Ultimate cant get in at number 3 for team sports in South America eventually.

Tony