Gearing up for the 2010 Youth Club Championships

Posted: August 9, 2010 11:40 AM

 Sporting Goods Manufacturer Association (SGMA) recently named Ultimate Frisbee the fastest growing team sport in America. This is evident in the Youth Division as this year’s USA Ultimate Youth Club Championships (YCC) proves to be the largest one to date, with a total of 23 teams ready to descend onto the National Sports Center in Blaine, MN, on August 14-15.

This August marks the sixth consecutive year for the YCC event, which was started in 2005 to encourage youth from different schools to compete in a summer season of youth leagues and events. Giving an opportunity for players that do not have a high school team to get involved and participate in the game of Ultimate, as well as foster spirit of the game and respect among the youth.

Returning this year is the ever strong DiscNW Youth Club from Seattle, WA. Ever since the start of YCC, this team has made its mark in the Girls and Open Division, with the girls clenching the title all five years. The Open team has also been holding its own by winning four out of the five years.

Consistently, DiscNW sends teams to compete in all of the YCC division (Open, Girls and Mixed). According to William Bartram, the Executive Director of DiscNW, there are over 2,000 youth players in the Seattle Metropolitans area. "When we have that big population of players it becomes easier for us to maintain excitement about our YCC teams."

In order to keep the players interested, DiscNW tries to make the experience worthwhile and makes participation easy for their players. They employ coaches and a general manager as well as try to involve the player’s parents so Bartram says, "for the kids they really just show up and play."

Bartram sees the YCC event as, "a great opportunity for Seattle players to compete at a high level and it also really strengthens the Ultimate community, both at a local level here in Seattle and at a National level."

The program allows players to make friends with athletes that they have competed against in Seattle leagues and Bartram sees it as something that "really reinforces the sense of community that we hold dearly."          

As the event brings in veterans year after year, this year is the first year to date that Nebraska will competed in a USA Ultimate sanctioned event. The Lincoln Ultimate Disc Association (LUNA) will be competing in the Open Division against nine other teams.           

Seth Colaner, the State Youth Coordinator for Nebraska and LUDA Youth Director, worked closely with other youth coordinators to create LUDA last fall.

The need for a Youth Division was seen after an increase in the amount of youth playing on adult leagues, club teams and in pickup games.

With the recent start of the Youth Division Colaner said, "sending a team to YCC in 2010 quickly became one of the main goals for our nascent youth program." 

The Nebraska Ultimate community is relatively small, but according to Colaner it is growing steadily.

"I think having a strong youth program will lead to exponential growth in both the number and quality of players over the next several years," Colaner said. LUNA anticipates sending a team to YCC every year from here on out, to help add to the growing number of youth teams being represented at a national level.

USA Ultimate is extremely proud of the growth of YCC’s in the last six years, expanding from 17 teams to 23 in just six years in monumental. The event features the nation’s best youth and USA Ultimate is looking forward to this year and future YCC events hoping to one day expand the championships to a five day event which would model itself in the same way as the College and Club Championships.