College Women's Startup Project Provides New Opportunities

Posted: November 16, 2018 01:16 PM

Colorado Springs, Colo (Nov. 16, 2018) – - For the past two years, the USA Ultimate College Women’s Startup Project has provided more than 250 free college memberships to players on new or developing teams, which has allowed countless more women to experience college ultimate. 

Sponsored by VC Ultimate, the Women’s Startup Project launched in 2017 to help foster the growth of college women’s ultimate by facilitating the development of new women’s programs. Each year, as many as 10 teams receive the resources necessary to not only build a program and compete, but also to experience friendships and a welcoming community unlike any other.

"Every single player was excited about Frisbee and getting this new team started," commented Kentucky Women’s Ultimate. "[This team] has truly facilitated wonderful bonds and friendships that will continue to prosper."  

When it came to seeking financial assistance from their respective schools, each of the Women’s Startup Project teams ended up receiving limited support. Most schools provide field space for practices twice a week, but that was as far as they were willing to budge. One school decided to split their allocation between the men’s and women’s teams, and another school outright denied funding.

Grants from the College Women’s Startup Project help relieve the players’ financial burden. As part of the project, each team receives 10 free college memberships during their first year, a startup kit including discs and cones, a free coach membership and discounts on uniforms and merchandise from VC Ultimate. The free memberships are particularly crucial and beneficial to the team forming a successful season.

"The membership grant was incredibly helpful for our team because the majority of our players were new to the sport of ultimate, and the less money they had to spend meant that it was easier to get them to commit," commented the new Kentucky women’s team.

"Being able to be a part of the USA Ultimate community for free has been [...] a good way for new members to see and get a feel of what being in the Frisbee community is like without the stress of paying for something they are unsure of," reflected Meeghan McCay from the University of St. Thomas.

Outside the lines of the ultimate field, the camaraderie among teammates is just as strong. Many teams established an executive board so players who weren’t captains or spirit captains on the field could be involved with the team’s logistics and building team chemistry off the field.

One way chemistry was developed was through recruiting and player retention events. This is where teams showed their creativity and commitment to inclusion. Christopher Newport often had "Bring A Friend to Practice" days, Drexel and Kentucky established buddy systems that paired up veteran players to mentor rookies, and many other teams bonded over dinners, homework, movie/game nights and special vacation outings.

With multiple new teams already on the the doorstep of a D-III College Championships appearance, the Women’s Startup Project has been extremely rewarding for both those college teams and for the division. Established in 2010, the D-III college division has amassed over 80 women’s teams, with the Women’s Startup Project contributing 10 teams in the past two years. The project has provided more competition for D-III teams as well as more opportunities for new teams to compete for a championship. In 2018, both Air Force and Tulsa competed for a chance to attend the D-III College Championships in their first year of existence!

2018 was a remarkable and successful season for this year’s group of Women’s Startup Project teams, and the players let it be known how much they enjoyed it.

"[The players] achieved many of their goals, including player growth, learning individually and as a team, as well as having fun," recounted the captains of Pittsburgh High Voltage.

"[We] did have a lot of fun, and all the girls improved so much from the beginning of the season!" added Madison Denny from the University of New Mexico.

Looking forward to the 2019 college season, teams are already gearing up their recruitment efforts to make next spring even more successful. From fundraising to social media to word of mouth recruiting, these women are on the front lines spreading the greatness that is ultimate across their respective campuses.

Are you excited yet? Applications are now open for the 2019 Women's Startup Project. Find more information, and apply at