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Southpaw Won’t Return For Club Season, Top Players Headed To Truck Stop?

by in News with 26 Comments
Southpaw's final game, the 2012 Mid-Atlantic Regional Finals.

Photo by Kevin Leclaire — UltiPhotos.com

The Philadelphia area club team Southpaw will not return for 2013 after missing out on a bid to the Club Championships in 2012, Southpaw captain Trey Katzenbach told Ultiworld.

“We basically just came to the realization that we weren’t going to be able to have enough guys to field a team that reaches the quality that Southpaw has had over the last three years,” said Katzenbach.

Some of the teams stalwarts — Jake Rainwater, Greg Owens — had already expressed their decision to pass on returning this season, other players moved away, and still others — like out-of-towners Izzy Bryant and Lucas Murphy —   weren’t likely to return.

Over the course of the last month, Southpaw core members met to discuss the state of the team and realized they just wouldn’t be able to have a competitive team this season.

Last year, they struggled to have practices as a lot of players didn’t fully commit and others were commuting into the city, typical problems for club teams around the country. Some players also felt that the team’s stint playing as the Philadelphia Spinners in the AUDL hurt the team’s chances in the USA Ultimate season, since they got a late start and had already physically worn themselves down.

“I personally don’t think there’s truth to that, but I think there are people out there that believe that,” said Katzenbach. “We knew from the start that we were going to have to meld the two together, and I thought we did a good job…In many ways, I thought our 2012 team was better than our 2011 team.” He did acknowledge that some players may have burned out after the extra long season, from April to October.

He said the issue was more that they didn’t bring enough players to the Labor Day Championships, where they lost all of their games. They had just 16 guys fly out — and “not necessarily” their best sixteen. That performance left them just outside of earning the Atlantic Coast region an additional bid to Nationals, which likely would have gone to Southpaw. Instead, the Philly team lost to Truck Stop in a now-infamous game at Regionals.

“I guarantee you that with 27 guys we would have won some games out there and we would have earned a bid,” said Katzenbach.

Now, the team’s top players will splinter into different teams, as everyone makes a push for a bid to Worlds in this qualification year. Some will likely play on AMP, the top mixed team in the city.

But Katzenbach says he plans to try out for Truck Stop and take the best players with him. He’s already talked with the Washington, D.C. team’s leadership; they’re on board.

“We’re trying to put together a team that can win Nationals, not just make Nationals,” he said. Last year, Truck Stop finished tied for 13th out of 16 at the Club Championships.

For now, the two teams continue to battle hard in Major League Ultimate — both the Philadelphia Spinners and DC Current rosters are home to many of the Southpaw and Truck Stop players, respectively.

As a side note, Katzenbach said that the decision to disassemble Southpaw was not due to the fact that they would have had to play in the Select Flight in the new USA Ultimate Triple Crown Tour.  ”We were having a hard time last year getting guys out to practice, not knowing what [flight] we would be in,” he said. “When I told USAU we would be declining our Select bid, I told them as such.”

If a number of the best Philadelphia players decide to join Truck Stop, it would be another consolidation of talent in the club circuit, following in the footsteps of the hybrid Florida-Texas Doublewide team last season that won the National Championships.

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About Charlie Eisenhood

Charlie Eisenhood is the editor-in-chief of Ultiworld. You can reach him by email (charlie@ultiworld.com) or on Twitter (@ceisenhood).

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  • John

    That region is going to be a joke now. Welcome to the NBA ladies and gentleman. That being said as a fan this is extremely exciting

  • Carl

    Physically word themselves down while playing AUDL? The Spinners’ AUDL schedule is 10 games. If NBA and NHL can play 82 games, NFL can play 16, MLS can play 34 and MLB 162, the top ultimate athletes should be able to play 10 games and not be physically worn down, don’t you think? That cannot really be a factor, can it?

    • http://www.ultiworld.com/ Charlie Eisenhood

      I think they played 16 games last year. Practice + games + mental drain. Not easy to train at a very high level for that long.

      But, as Trey pointed out, not everyone felt there was a negative impact from Spinners.

    • Matt

      I would think of it more as a mental thing as well. Keep in mind that these guys, unlike most professional athletes, also have day jobs. So these guys are working all week (and practicing), then traveling every other week (or playing two games at best) for three months, THEN they start the club season. Physically, perhaps not that challenging, but I would have no trouble believing it’s a grind.

    • Oly-phant

      I definitely agree that 10 games shouldn’t be *that* draining, but I think we also have to look at this in terms of opportunity cost. If the players took the AUDL seriously, they likely weren’t doing the kind of intense preseason training they normally would before a club season (in an effort to spare their legs for weekly games). The fact that other teams could do this may have put them at a disadvantage.

    • http://www.facebook.com/rthompson Ryan Thompson

      Pro tryouts started in January, the club season ends in mid October. 10 months of trying to achieve and maintain top fitness is difficult for real pro athletes too.

    • Juice

      It’s hard to win the first ever PRO WORLD ULTIMATE CHAMPIONSHIP, right? Oh wait, it’s not. The teams last year were terrible. Somewhere between an awful and average Regional team.

  • Truckpaw

    So, Mid-Atlantic now has the lock-down on worst region in the country status. At least Truck Stop doesn’t need to worry about their string of mediocre Nationals finishes ending.

    Winning Nationals? That’s cute.

    • guest

      Amp is the big winner here.

      • Mixed = Summer League

        Nobody that plays mixed is a winner.

  • I Doubt It

    After regionals last year do you really think Southpaw guys will be that eager to go over to Truck Stop?

  • epig

    Bring back Pike!

    • Philly Rage

      Eh…Screw Pike.

  • Miyagi

    There was always a Philly presence in the region, I guess before SouthPaw that is. I think they [TruckStop] could make another run for semis. Finished 5th place three times. Once with EPig and twice(?) with Truck. That was with a Philly circle.

    Some of the head way established from the DC Elite Programs was the fact that there were several “second tier” teams. Vault, MedicineMen, HOV. These brought the top tier players together and still reloaded talent through.

    EPig+Vault disformed and joined TruckStop once the rust was banged off.

    Was there ever a second-tier in Philly? Or could this just be a great opportunity to have a new college-all star team forming in that region?

    The real question is, What is Purifico gonna do?! Btw, anybody in NYC wanna throw sometime?

    • Purif

      Miyagi!
      Lets get the old gang back together. I’ll call Jack Gaynor and the Gordons.

  • http://www.facebook.com/patrick.stegemoeller Patrick Stegemoeller

    Who becomes the second best team in the region now? Oakland?

    • me

      Oakland or Cashcrop. Oakland is a joke though, they try to play Pitt’s college style at the club stage, and it is super ineffective. Looks to be a 1 bid region that Truck will take easily

      • Nathan

        Cash Crop is in the Southeast Region post redraw, with Ring of Fire and Chain Lightning.

        • me

          Gotcha, so yeah, Oakland I guess

  • Glen

    “Infamous”? That game gets more hype than it’s worth. A player not knowing the rules cost Southpaw a possession. Teams in every region have contentious games. Not even universe point.

    • wtf?!

      Yeah.. I’m not sure anyone cares about that game except Southpaw players, Truckstop players, and the writers at Ultiworld…..

  • Pkap & the Zman

    sooooo Amp/ Termite’s Entourage now look more like Amp/ Hooray did circa 2007-2008… philly open is in a good place though- stick with me here

    trey has been a massive presence for a long time and with good reason- amazing leader, athlete, teammate, etc… but his style and command have shaped the teams in the region for a long long time… chance for players (purfico, panna, miggs, baer, etc) to step up and create a younger, hungry team- something philly should do just fine at… if they don’t all fly out to DC

    Look at Heva Havas- young, athletic, devil may care- almost made nationals… athletes are present in that region, just need a leadership group that is about results not reputations or a particular style…this could do good things long term for philly

  • heva

    if ya ain’t runnin wit it run from it

  • waphtuos

    When the going gets tough, the tough fold and play mixed.

  • mid atlantic guy

    I think the 2 teams other than truck that will benefit are hevas (pa) and gunswick (nj). these two teams will gather some of the talent from philly and could become “select” teams. Both of these teams have really young cores and could grow to become competitive teams with some stability and commitment.

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