European Players of the Year 2023 (Open Div.)

The European season is about to start, with a brand-new structure and the inclusion of the World Ultimate Championships slap bang in the middle of the calendar. Many of the best players on the continent will be facing campaigns on several fronts and trying to peak for national, European and World titles. At the tail end of last season, Ultiworld ran a list of the top 25 female- and male- matching players in Europe for the first time. We haven’t celebrated the best of last year specifically, though, so with the new season on the horizon it’s time to recognise those who performed brilliantly last year so we can start getting excited about how they’re going to do in 2024. We started with the women’s awards and now present the open awards, which will be followed by mixed.

Player of the Year

Daan de Marrée (Mooncatchers and Belgium)

Daan De Marrée makes a high grab against Canada. Photo by Carl Mardell for WFDF.

De Marrée lost two games of any real consequence last season with his teammates. The Belgian under-24 team made it to the final in Nottingham only to lose to the mighty USA, while Mooncatchers couldn’t complete the perfect season1 and fell to a resurgent Clapham in the final at EUCF. De Marrée, though, was the standout player on the continent for the whole season. He was a defensive menace, his ability to read play and snatch the disc away was largely unparalleled, but his ability to play both ways and dominate was what set him apart. He can run an offense, he can cut and break down other teams’ best defenders, he can blanket top options and he can roam to create chaos. He’s still only 22 so this could be the first of many.

Runner-Up

Connor McHale (Clapham and Great Britain)

Connor McHale pulls at EUCF. Photo by Oliver Hülshorst for EUF.

McHale is another player who is among the best in Europe on both sides of the disc. He’s been one of the best defenders around for a while but the improvement in his offensive capabilities in the last few years means his game is as well rounded as anyone in Europe. He made huge contributions to Clapham, GB and to Machine in the USA last year, and looks set for another big year in 2024.

Offensive Player of the Year

Tobe Decraene (Gentle and Belgium)

Tobe Decraene reaches for a disc against Oscar Modiano in the EUC final. Photo by John Kofi for EUF.

Another driver of Belgium’s success on the international stage last season, the younger Decraene was an almost unstoppable offensive force whatever kit he was wearing. He was the second-highest goalscorer2 in his division at under-24s, third at EUC3 and was more of a creator for Gentle at EUCF, finishing fourth overall with 16 assists and 13 goals. His downfield ability is, at this point, well known but his ability with the disc and to make decisions quickly without letting the defense set is a vital part of the offense he’s playing with. Decraene has now won two Ultiworld awards and is only 20, so another to watch in future years.

Runner-Up

Tom Abrams (Clapham and Great Britain)

Abrams gets a layout block at EUC. Photo by Stephen Meagher for EUF.

Abrams was again central to a lot of the progressive movement of the offenses he played on in 2023. His ability to throw deep unlocked a lot for both Clapham and GB, with his semi-final performance at the Elite Invite a prime example of what he was able to do when he was firing on all cylinders. His relentless attacking and positivity with the disc helped his teams score points and his ability to execute late in games was hugely important in the big wins his teams were able to take.

Defensive Player of the Year

Conrad Schlör (Wall City and Germany)

Conrad Schlör catches the bronze medal-winning goal for Germany at EUC. Photo by John Kofi for EUF.

Schlör has been the most intimidating defender in Europe for some time. His ability to lock down top options is close to unmatched, and his ability to get blocks despite the difficulty of his matchups is amazing. Not only that, he’s become a brilliant driver of offense for the D line and has switched lines where needed to improve the O line both with and without the disc. His ability to change direction and explode for high discs are the key components of an incredibly well-rounded game, but at this point he doesn’t really have any weak points.

Runner-Up

Lander Decraene (Gentle and Belgium)

The Belgian D line was brilliant all year. They were able to generate blocks and breaks against anyone with a group of extremely talented players that had great chemistry together. Several players were in the running here and deserve a mention – Sofiène Bontemps and Gaëtan Vanden Broeck were also excellent for under-24s and the senior team, while Benjamin Vereecken was also great at EUC – but the elder Decraene was the metronome for the unit, setting the pace and the tone. He took the top downfield option most of the time, he was huge in the deep space and his pulls were among the best in Europe. A Decraene on each line was a great building block for Belgium all year.

Breakout Player of the Year

Elliot Bonnet (Tchac and France)

Bonnet playing for Tchac at EUCF. Photo by Oliver Hülshorst for EUF.

Bonnet was excellent all season, playing well for France at EUC as one of their best cutters and defenders as well as for Tchac in the early part of the year. At EUCF he was one of the best cutters for Tchac, constantly getting free downfield and scoring the fourth-most points at the tournament. He followed that up, as pretty much anyone reading this will know, by being perhaps the best player on the sand in LA as part of the team that won France a gold medal at WBUC in November.

Runner-Up

Louis Betrancourt (Mooncatchers and Belgium)

Belgium's Louis Bétrancourt gets a block on Team USA at the 2023 U-24 World Ultimate Frisbee Championships. Photo: Jon Hayduk - UltiPhotos.com
Belgium’s Louis Bétrancourt gets a block on Team USA at the 2023 U-24 World Championships. Photo: Jon Hayduk – UltiPhotos.com

Betrancourt was a good defender for Belgium under-24s and for Mooncatchers this year, playing at the highest level in Europe and looking like he fit in and could make plays. Any player who can contribute at that level is already impressie, but given Betrancourt is 20 and had been playing for less than a year at the start of the season4 it’s mind-blowing he was able to do so.


  1. After winning Tom’s Tourney, Windmill and the Elite Invite earlier in the year. 

  2. Joint with two others, one off the lead. 

  3. Level with Alvaro Monterde of Spain. 

  4. He started playing in August 2022 after playing football. 

  1. Sean Colfer
    Sean Colfer

    Sean Colfer is based in London. He’s played for teams across the UK since 2006 and has been writing about and commentating on ultimate since 2010. Follow him on Twitter @seancolfer, or follow @ShowGameUlti on Instagram for more on UK and Irish ultimate.

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