Wildfires Force USAU To Move West Coast U24 Tryouts

Event moved to San Luis Opisbo due to concerns over unhealthy air quality.

Ella Hansen competes with the 2018 US U24 team in Perth. Photo: Kingsley Flett — Ultiworld

This weekend’s West Coast u24 National Team tryout has been moved from its original location in Tracy, CA three and a half hours south to San Luis Obispo, due to concerns about air quality.

The Camp Fire, which has been raging in northern California since last Wednesday, has left much of the Bay Area and central valley choked by smoke for more than a week. The EPA’s Air Quality Index 1 has hovered between 150 and a little over 200 for much of the last week, a range deemed unhealthy to very unhealthy for outdoor activity. With the fire still not contained, conditions are not forecast to improve before the scheduled tryouts this weekend.

“Simply put, it is potentially dangerous to run the event in Tracy this weekend, and that is not a risk we are willing to take,” said Tom Manewitz, Manager of College Competition & Athlete Programs at USA Ultimate and the manager for the U24 National Team program.

USA Ultimate has been monitoring the fires since late last week, and by Monday had decided they would likely need to move the tryout, alerting participants to prepare for a potential change. The governing body considered locations in Carmel, Tahoe, and even an indoor facility before settling on San Luis Obispo, which has largely been protected from the fires’ effects. USAU had hoped to keep the tryout close to the airports in the Bay Area, but was competing with a number of soccer events being moved out of the area this weekend and all field options anywhere nearby were severely limited in either space or available time.

Thankfully, Cal Poly SLO was already scheduled to host Southwest College Mixed Regionals this weekend and had extra field space reserved. The tryout will now be conducted alongside that tournament.

The schedule of the tryout has been significantly adjusted to accommodate travel to and from the new location. The tryout will start at noon on Saturday, giving participants time to drive down from the Bay Area in the morning; Cal Poly SLO has lights on their field, allowing the tryout to run into the evening. Sunday will see an early start and finish by noon so players have time to make it back to the Bay for flights Sunday evening.

“I believe most understood that this was necessary and a better alternative than rescheduling entirely given the costs involved with travel and time,” said Manewitz.

  1. A measure of particle pollution in the air. 

  1. Steve Sullivan
    Steve Sullivan

    Steve Sullivan is the Executive Editor of Ultiworld. He began playing in 2001 at Boston University, helped found and then played 14 seasons with Slow White, and most recently competed with San Francisco Blackbird. He has volunteered as a college Sectional Coordinator, a club Regional Coordinator, served three terms as a player-elected representative for the Mixed division on USAU's Club Working Group, and is currently an At-Large rep on the USAU Board of Directors. He has previously written for the USAU magazine and The Huddle, and was editor of the book "Ultimate: The First Five Decades, Vol II." You can reach him by email ([email protected]) or on Twitter (@sjsully21).


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