WUCC 2014: Switzerland’s Freespeed Preview, Presented By VC Ultimate

Basel's Freespeed has been one of the top European clubs for years, but they are hoping to make the leap to another level. See how they plan to do that this season at Worlds.

Basel's Freespeed.It’s not easy to radically change your offense just five months before a major international tournament. But that’s exactly what Switzerland’s Freespeed did earlier this year.

Formed in 1996, the long-standing European side has continued to evolve over its history and feels that it has improved nearly every year since its inception.

Freespeed combines some international veterans with some outstanding young talent — now they hope to bring that together with their new offense to make a run at the bracket this year in Lecco.

“We’re a bunch of friends, we’re not just a tryout team that gets together for one season,” said captain Michael Martinec. “And I think that makes a big difference.”

Martinec identified three tiers of players — a group in their early thirties, a group in their mid-twenties, and a group in their late teens and early twenties — that make up Freespeed. “You need young players and you need the effort they bring,” he said.

But the growing youth movement may not be enough for Freespeed to keep pace with some of the other top European teams. The team did play excellent ultimate at the last European Championships, taking 2nd place behind Clapham.

But they haven’t been able to topple London’s Clapham for a few years now, and Germany’s Bad Skid has gotten the better of them lately (including last weekend in a WUCC warm-up scrimmage).

“[Bad Skid] already made a step forward that we are trying to achieve currently, as well,” said Martinec.

That’s a big reason why Freespeed is implementing a bold, new offense this year that has its roots in an American-style structure.

The team has long relied on an intuition-based offense that allows the long-standing chemistry between its players to flourish. But that lets them down in big games at times, and as more young players join the team, it’s more difficult to maintain that finely-tuned chemistry.

So they are putting into place a much more structured offensive framework (featuring lots of handler motion) that can act as a support for the more free-flowing style they’ve played in the past. They’ve been working on it since March, but it’s not quite there yet.

It may not be there for this week. But the team is taking a longer view — they want to continue to threaten as one of Europe’s best teams.

As for Worlds, they hope to finish in the top 10, which would require taking down two of the European teams in front of them in the seeding.

“We have to focus on winning games that we can win,” said Martinec.

The team’s offense is its calling card, featuring Luca Miglioretto (formerly with Toronto GOAT) in a primary handler role and Pieterjan de Meulenaere as a significant deep threat. Robin Bruderlin keeps things flowing as a predominantly under cutter.

Surely the team is eager to improve on its best WUCC showing: 23rd in 2010.

“We want to give the US teams tough fights,” said Martinec. “That’s one goal. To really show that our ultimate has improved.”

  1. Charlie Eisenhood
    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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