Clubhouse Chatter: Searching for Meaning in SFI East Results

Broader takeaways from a tournament filled with Nationals attendees and hopefuls. Plus, international additions!

Northampton Starling nab the disc just past the outstretched Boston Siege player in the SFI East 2023 final. Photo: Rudy Desort – UltiPhotos.com

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Welcome to Clubhouse Chatter, where the Ultiworld staff keep you caught up on the major events of the club season. It’s always a tricky exercise to put events from a tournament like Select Flight Invite – East into a Nationals-level context. (And, to be sure, that is certainly not always the most enjoyable way to view a tournament.) Yes, there were a number of surprises in all three divisions. And yes, there are some wild games to watch in our video coverage of the event. But how much of what happened really rises above a Regionals-level intrigue?

The answer: some of it! Here are our main takeaways for how the action in Ohio might shake out when it’s time to hand out tickets for San Diego.

Women’s Division

A very strong showing from Northampton Starling (6-0 and a tournament win) could prove decisive come bid season. The Northeast region is a sure bet for two bids with last year’s semifinalists Toronto 6ixers and Boston Brute Squad earning with both hands;1 New York Bent should be right alongside them for a third this season after missing out in 2022. Between Starling, Québec Iris, and Boston Siege there is enough talent to hoard a fourth bid for the region. And should one of those teams put together enough of a run later this month to cement it, Starling may just have the inside track on going to Nationals – as demonstrated in their 14-12 win over Siege in the SFI East final.

Mixed Division

Cleveland Crocs bats the disc out of the way of the intended Denver Flight Club receiver in the SFI East 2023 final. Photo: Rudy Desort – UltiPhotos.com

Let’s not mince words: Cleveland Crocs are the real deal. Something has changed. They are no longer the team from the last few seasons who might challenge for a spot at Nationals – they are the odds-on favorites to win the Great Lakes (which, as we noted in an earlier Clubhouse Chatter, is well-positioned to nab multiple bids in 2023). Not only that, but they’re playing like a team who will notch great results on the biggest stage. Outside of narrowly knocking out a strong Vancouver Red Flag side in semis, they ran roughshod over the rest of the field. Even the final against the impressive Denver Flight Club was a 5-point margin of victory for Ohio’s rockin’est reptiles. And when you look at the roster? Iris Javersak, both Agami Contreras brothers, Libby Lehman, Mitch Cihon – these results are no mirage.

Men’s Division

Ottawa Phoenix rise up over Toronto GOAT for the disc and a spot in the SFI East 2023 final. Photo: Rudy Desort – UltiPhotos.com

By far the least telling of the three divisions was the morass in Men’s. Yes, the Southeast got a little boost from strong runs by Kennesaw Delirium and Columbia Lost Boys, but I’m willing to bet my 401k that it won’t translate into another strength bid for the region.2 The real action came out of the Northeast, where tournament champions Ottawa Phoenix pulled off the biggest upset of the weekend as they took countrymen Toronto GOAT down a peg with a 14-13 semifinal. Will that win help Phoenix earn another Northeast bid? Eh, jury’s out – but probably not. The real story is that GOAT’s loss – they were otherwise dominant – could result in a lost strength bid, setting up yet another fraught, musical-chairs-style regional tournament in Devens.

A Note on the 2023 Class of International Transfers

One of the benefits of USAU’s having such a robust club scene is that every season brings a fresh crop of international club stars to pick up with a US or Canadian team. In recent years, we have seen such leading lights as Gaël Ancelin, Kaede Yoshida, Laura Farolfi, Cat Phillips, and Tom Tulett – not to mention the Cardenas sisters – have a huge impact on USAU play. 2023 is shaping up along the same lines. Here’s an early look at which new international players will be making appearances for Nationals-level teams this year.

Atlanta Chain Lightning

  • Jan Schmidt – Bern Flying Angels, Germany (WUGC)
  • Liam Haberfield – Melbourne Ellipsis

Austin Doublewide

Boston Brute Squad

  • Lena “Lilli” Trautmann – Karlsruhe Colorado, Germany (World Games)

Chicago Machine

New York Bent

  • Elizabeth Mosquera – Medellín Revolution, Colombia (World Games, WUGC) (2019 Premier Ultimate League MVP)

San Francisco Fury

Toronto GOAT

Vancouver Furious George

  • Mauricio Martinez – Euforia, Colombia (World Games)
  • Tadhg Deevy – Dublin Ranelagh

Washington DC Truck Stop

  • Ben Oort3 – Amsterdam GRUT

If you have more information about international players who are new for the 2023 season that we haven’t included, please let us know and we will update the list!


  1. Shoutout to to any Sopranos fans out there 

  2. That will depend on what Tennessee Tanasi and Raleigh-Durham United can accomplish in August. 

  3. Technically, Oort played at the US Open with Truck Stop in 2022, but we are including him for what should be his first full season 

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