U.S.A. Takes the Opening Game at the 2015 U-23 World Championships

Posted: July 12, 2015 06:57 PM

London, U.K. (July 12, 2015) – The first game of the 2015 World Flying Disc Federation’s World Under-23 Ultimate Championships is in the books. The United States open team came away with a 14-10 win over hometown-team Great Britain.

The day began with the event’s opening ceremonies. The athletes from all competing nations made their way as a delegation across the arena field to the welcoming applause of all the spectators waiting in the stands. Forty-one teams from 23 nations made the trip to London for this year’s championships, and there were all represented this afternoon.

With the opening ceremonies came the rain – again. All day, clouds rolled in and out of the sky above the University College London Sports Grounds. Athletes and spectators got rained on three times during the course of the afternoon. But the sun appeared just in time for the start of the week’s first game.

Both the United States and Great Britain came out of the gate looking like they were really aware that it was the first game of the week and that they were front and center on the showcase field. They were also battling a wind that was gusty enough to make the disc bounce unexpectedly but frequently. The only point of the game scored without a turnover was the very first point when Jack Williams became the first player on the stat sheet at the 2015 U-23 World Championships. But after that, the nerves were evident on both sides. Unforced turnovers, including countless drops, were recorded on both sides. Despite it all, the United States managed to pull out to a 5-0 lead. When Great Britain put their first point on the board at 5-1, the crowd went wild.

The line of demarcation in the stands was clear. Fellow members of Team USA and their family and friends were the sole vocal supporters of the U.S. during the game. Understandably, Great Britain had a large, vocal contingent of fans in the bleachers. Plus, the U.S. is the powerhouse. They’re the team every other nation wants to be the ones to defeat.

Great Britain gave it their all and succeeded in making the American fans nervous for a time. After being down 0-5, Britain mounted a comeback. When they weren’t playing zone, the U.S. defense was working hard to take away any under cuts from Great Britain, and the U.S. had been incredibly successful. By changing their offensive strategy and taking more deep shots, Great Britain started to chip away at their deficit. They missed on the deep looks almost as often as they missed, but it was effective enough to bring them to 8-9.

It is definitely worth noting that the U.S. defense looked strong throughout the game. Despite the Brits closing the scoring gap, the throws they were completing were difficult ones, often just past the outstretched hands of a U.S. defender. The Great Britain handlers were often forced to resort to their second or third looks when they had the disc in their hands. The stringent defense even earned Chris Kocher a callahan, which brought the score to 7-4.

At times, the U.S. offense looked clustered downfield. Despite the fact that the athleticism of nearly any American player on the field could take over the game if necessary, the team’s flow looked like it still needed some figuring out. Most of that should be chalked up to first-game jitters. During their scrimmage against Chicago Machine, the U.S. faced similar challenges but found their stride late in the game. Expectations are similar for the tournament going forward.

When Great Britain narrowed the gap to one point, the U.S. managed to tick off three straight goals. When the offense moved quickly and utilized the breakside of the field, the U.S. looked great. And despite some unforced turnovers, the defense was strong enough to get the disc back in their hands.

The game was time capped at 13-10, making it a game to 14. Starting on defense, team captain Trent Dillon was able to snag an errant pass in the cutting lane about 15 yards out of the end zone. He quickly found Chase Cunningham right near the goal line. In turn, Cunningham found Zane Ranking, forcing him to layout to secure the disc, for the winning score, 14-10.

Despite looking frazzled at times, the U.S. open team stepped up when they needed to. And no doubt the coaching staff – Bob Krier, Jody Avirgan and Joe Durst – are hard at work strategizing on how best to improve the perceived weaknesses of game one.

Everyone in London will surely see an even stronger Team USA when they take on Team Colombia tomorrow morning at 11:30 a.m. BST.


Monday will also see the beginning of competition for the mixed and women’s U.S. teams, as well.

The mixed team will take on Chinese Taipei at 9:30 a.m. BST before meeting India at 1:30 p.m. The women’s team will face New Zealand for their first match of the tournament at 9:30 a.m. and see Japan at 3:30 p.m.

It promises to be an exciting day of competition on day two of the 2015 World Under-23 Ultimate Championships in London.

Follow Along:



 *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.

Have any questions or comments? We welcome community feedback and discussion made in a respectful manner. Please refrain from profanity or personal attacks, as such public comments negatively reflect on our sport and community.