2015 World Under-23 Ultimate Championships Get Underway Tomorrow

Posted: July 11, 2015 03:40 PM

London, U.K. (July 11, 2015) – The entire U.S. delegation has arrived in London. Given that the delegation includes 90 people – 76 athletes, nine coaches, three staff and two trainers – the journey to the University of Hertfordshire has been smooth. A couple of passport glitches that were easily solvable, a short flight delay and a couple misplaced bags later, the team arrived at a hotel near London’s Heathrow airport for the night before making the hour drive north to Hertfordshire early this afternoon.

The university is the team’s home for the duration of the World Under-23 Ultimate Championships. Each day, they will hop on a shuttle for the 30-minute drive to the event venue at University College London’s (UCL) Sports Grounds in St. Albans. Other nations’ teams are spread around at a couple other locations, but we are joined at Hertfordshire by the Australians, Colombians and Japanese delegations, plus a group of athletes competing at the Taekwondo World Championships, including a U.S. team that was excited to see 90 people show up in Team U.S.A. gear this afternoon.

All the athletes continue to put a premium on time spent together. No matter the activity, they realize the importance of continuing to develop those relationships. Plus – they actually seem to enjoy each other’s company. Games of mafia are still commonplace for the men’s team, while a new game that involves trying to bounce a tennis ball off your head around a circle with different variations on how you have to catch it to win is the new game of choice for the mixed team.

The teams’ identities have continued to evolve over the past week. The men’s team is the quietest but is still involved in many of the larger group’s impromptu sing-alongs. The mixed team is the most gregarious. They are energetic and outgoing and make having fun on a constant basis look easy. The women’s team falls somewhere in the middle. Not as extroverted as the mixed team, but a little more playful than the men’s team.

As far as I know, the number of times the athletes were told to keep it down on the plane ride over was kept in the single digits.

Now that we have arrived, everyone is in the process of adjusting to all things British – bangers in the morning rather than typical American sausages, unexpected results after pressing the button for Americano coffee at the hotel restaurant, and driving on the "wrong" side of the road.

Everything that has gone on this week – all the team bonding, inside jokes, hard work, practices and travel – leads up to tomorrow afternoon, when competition officially begins. The captains’ meeting and spirit captains’ meeting will be held tomorrow afternoon at UCL. Shortly thereafter, the opening ceremony and parade of athletes will take place. The day wraps up with the event’s opening game between home team Great Britain and the United States in the open division.

Both teams will have impressive fan support, so the atmosphere on the showcase arena field should be exciting. The first pull of the 2015 U-23 World Championships is scheduled to go up at 4:30 p.m. GMT (11:30 a.m. EDT).

The game will be the first of several live streamed on Skyd Magazine’s YouTube channel: youtube.com/skydmagazine.

Be sure to tune in and follow along to support your U.S. National Teams!

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 *Check out the Twitter feeds for more insight into and information about Team USA's exploits in the lead up to the 2015 U-23 World Championships.

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