Naperville, Ill. (Aug. 16, 2018) – Forty-eight players. Six coaches. Two teams. Six days. That is all the U.S. Under-20 National Teams have had to prepare for the 2018 World Junior Ultimate Championships (WJUC), which will officially get underway on Saturday.
The girls’ team had a training weekend earlier this summer, giving them a leg up on the boys’ team, who had many members introducing themselves to each other as they arrived at Chicago’s airports last Saturday. But both teams have come a long way this week, learning more about each other as individuals and athletes and how they operate as a team, as well as learning more of their ultimate basics, like implementing the teams’ offensive and defensive sets.
Team cheers and chants are commonplace, and excitement levels are high. George, the team’s mascot (and named in homage to George Washington), has made regular appearances at practices and amongst the players’ activities.
North Central College has been the host for the U-20 National Team and its training camp. And with its proximity to Chicago, the area club teams were gracious enough to make the drive to Naperville to scrimmage the U-20 teams, helping them prepare for next week’s competition. The boys took on Black Market on Monday night, an early week barometer for the team. The U.S. came away with a win in that match up. Nemesis came out to scrimmage the girls’ team on Tuesday. After going down a couple breaks early, the U.S. girls found their footing and eventually pulled away to a 15-12 win. The scrimmages wrapped up tonight, with the boys’ team taking on Chicago Machine. Although the U.S. didn’t end up with the W, it was a great test for the team and an excellent outcome to take with them into Canada.
Next up for the teams is the eight-hour bus ride to Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, which begins bright and early tomorrow morning. Opening ceremonies for WJUC are on Saturday afternoon, with competition for the U.S. beginning on Sunday. The boys’ team kicks things off against the Dominican Republic at 9:00 a.m. ET. The girls’ team’s first game will follow – a 1:00 p.m. showdown against Japan.
Be sure to follow along with both teams here and on Twitter @USAUltimateU20. Plus, follow USA Ultimate on Snapchat to get more behind-the-scenes glimpses from the players. And don’t be surprised if you keep seeing cameos from George.