Colorado Springs, Colo. (June 22, 2017) – USA Ultimate, the national governing body for the sport of ultimate in the United States and proud member of the U.S. Olympic Committee, announced today head coaches for the teams that will represent the U.S. at the World Flying Disc Federation’s 2018 World Junior Ultimate Championships.
Sam O’Brien (Minneapolis, Minn.) will lead the men’s team, and DeAnna Ball (Columbus, Ohio) will coach the women’s team. Both coaches return to the sidelines at the World Junior Ultimate Championships (WJUC) after previously serving in assistant coaching roles. O’Brien was an assistant for the men’s team in both 2016 and 2014. Ball made her debut as a national team coach with the women’s team at the last WJUC in 2016.
O’Brien was a WJUC veteran even before serving as an assistant coach, having won a gold medal with the 1998 U.S. Junior National Team before continuing his national-level and international experience in the club division. He was part of the team that helped design the USA Ultimate Coaching Certification Program and is currently a high school ultimate coach in Minnesota.
“I am sincerely looking forward to supporting another campaign for Team USA,” said O’Brien. “The most impactful moments of this experience are the ones that are about cooperation, collaboration and pushing ourselves to be contributors to the success of the team. After my first Team USA experience as a player in 1998, I’m honored to come full circle and coach this team in 2018.”
Ball has been active in the ultimate community as a player and coach for more than 20 years. She is the current head coach of Ohio State Fever; she led the team to their first-ever national title at the 2014 College Championships. She also coaches Rival in the women’s club division. Rival qualified for the National Championships in 2016 in just their second year as a team.
“It is an honor and a privilege to have this role in the development of the U-20 girls’ national team,” said Ball. “As my predecessors have taught me – give them the tools and support them, and these young women will work endlessly to compete hard and showcase Spirit of the Game on an international stage. The players that will eventually come together will represent the U.S.A. as young and strong female leaders in our sport, and I am excited to be a part of it.”
Applications for those interested in being an assistant coach are now open. Applications are due July 7.
The 2018 World Junior Ultimate Championships will be held August 19-25, outside Toronto in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. The event will be hosted by the World Flying Disc Federation with members of Ultimate Canada and Ontario Ultimate serving on the tournament organizing committee.