Here’s How the Club Nationals Pool Draw Will Work

Randomized pools with minimized regional rematches

UPDATE 10/2: USA Ultimate has decided to disallow the top two ranked teams from a three-bid region to be in the same pool. The lowest ranked team from a three-bid region can be in a pool with either of the two top seeds.

USA Ultimate introduced a new process for arranging the pools for the opening portion of the USA Ultimate National Championships during the 2023 club season. This “World Cup-style” draw process will be in effect this year. Gone are the prefabricated pools that gave us the 4-5-9-16 Pool D and 1-12-13-17 Pool A. So how will this new system operate?

Step 1: Re-run the Rankings after Regionals

This step remains the same: once all of the regional championships have concluded after this weekend, re-run the USA Ultimate rankings to grade teams’ seasons. No adjustments will be made for things such as head-to-head matchups, as might have happened in the past when seeding Nationals.

Step 2: Identify the Top Seeds

The top four teams, in order, will be assigned to A1, B1, C1, and D1, respectively. Functionally, they’ll be the top four seeds of the tournament, in order of algorithmic placement. Their results at Regionals will not matter, nor will any specific head-to-head results only their final ranking.1

Step 3: Group Teams into Pots

The new rankings will be used to sort the remaining qualifiers into pots.

  • Pot 2: Teams ranked 5-8
  • Pot 3: 9-12
  • Pot 4: 13-16

Step 4: Randomly Draw from Pots to Place in Pools

Once the pots are created, USA Ultimate will draw teams from within the pots, working sequentially from Pot 2 to Pot 4. One team from Pot 2 will be randomly selected into each pool. Once Pot 2 is drawn, Pot 3 will be drawn, and so on.

However, there is a wrinkle: if a region has two bids, the teams cannot be in the same pool together. If two teams from the same region were to be placed into the same pool, when the second team is drawn, that second team is placed into the following available slot. If the final draw from a pot would cause two teams from a 2 bid region to be in the same pool, then the previously selected team will be placed into Pool D.2

For three bid regions, no more than two teams from the region can be together in a pool, but the top two highest seeded teams cannot be in the same pool. So the bottom ranked team from a three-team region can be in a pool with either of the top two teams.

As there are no regions with more than three bids this season, there is not yet a process for a 4+ bid regions.


Tune in to the Deep Look podcast on Monday, October 2nd, at 2:30 PM Eastern to watch the Nationals pool selections happen live on the Ultiworld YouTube channel as USA Ultimate’s national club directors draw the ping ping balls to see where teams end up!

  1. Which, of course, accounts for their Regionals results. 

  2. For instance, if D1 is a team from SE Men’s (2 bids) and there is an SE Men’s team in Pot 2 and that team was not drawn as A2, B2 or C2, when C2 is drawn, that team will be placed in D2 with the SE team placed into C2 

  1. Keith Raynor
    Keith Raynor

    Keith Raynor is a Senior Editor and the Business Development Manager at Ultiworld. He co-hosts our Deep Look podcast and does play-by-play and color commentary. He coaches UConn Rise, the college's women's team. You can reach him by email ([email protected]) or on Twitter (@FullFieldHammer).

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