The Europeans get a new Callahan-like award for U24 players.
August 28, 2017 by Ravi Vasudevan in Awards, News with 0 comments
On Friday, Five Ultimate announced the winners of the first-ever European Youth Player of the Year (EYPOTY) award: Germany’s Levke Walczak and France’s Quentin Roger.
The award, aimed at boosting the visibility of ultimate in Europe and recognizing the best young players in the continent, is intended to be similar to the Callahan award in the US’s college division. Since university-level ultimate is not well established in Europe, any national or club team was allowed to nominate a single player under the age of 24 for the inaugural award; both a male and female winner would be chosen. Worried that the peer voting style of the Callahan would unfairly advantage players from countries with larger ultimate scenes, the winners were voted on by a panel of some of the best players in Europe and the US.
Levke Walczak claimed the female award, despite being relatively new to the sport — she only started playing in 2014 at the age of 18. However, within a year, she had already claimed spots on the German U20 Women’s team, the German U23 mixed team as well as the German mixed National Team for the European Ultimate Championships — a role she reprised for WUGC in 2016. Prior to playing ultimate, Walczak had already played soccer at an national level and brought athleticism and field sense to the game that few have been able to rival. She is now captaining the German U24 Mixed team as they train for the U24 Championships in Perth, Australia in January.
Caroline Tisson from Germany and Ksenia Yasalova from Russia tied for the women’s runner-up spot.
Quentin Roger of France won the male award. Unlike Levke, Quentin got a much earlier start to ultimate, having begun playing at the age of 9. Quentin has represented the French national team numerous times on both the Junior and Senior level. Notably, he was a large presence in the French national men’s team at the WCBU earlier this year and helped his team get past the legendary Philippines to earn a bronze medal there. He also plays for the French national club champions Tchac who came third at the EUCF last year. He is currently preparing with Tchac to go to Cincinnati next year to compete in the World Ultimate Club Championships.
Benjamin Oort from the Netherlands was the male runner up.