TOKAY SuperTeam, Best Pickup Team in the World?

An insight into the TOKAY SuperTeam's formation, players and first outing

Stefan Rappazzo, center with the trophy, is surrounded by his TOKAY SuperTeam following the win at Windmill 2024. Photo: John Kofi.

About a year ago, Stefan Rappazzo had the idea of gathering some of the best players around the world to play together. A year later, the Tokay SuperTeam made its debut at Windmill 2024. How well could a team made of all-star players do with virtually no pre-existing chemistry? 

Our first look at the TOKAY SuperTeam came early Friday morning in the first round of play. Crowds had formed on pitch five to catch a peek at the team. Their game against Irish team PELT, although a bit of a blowout in the end, was still an exciting début. With the SuperTeam trying things out in the first game, there didn’t appear to be any strict structure but rather a very fluid and give-go offense, with hucks going up when the opportunity presented itself. 

It was evident the team was still figuring out their playstyle; PELT managed to put six points on the board, including a callahan. However, it was already clear just how phenomenal the players on the SuperTeam were as individuals, and how their strengths matched into an intimidating collective. Valeria Cardenas’s explosive handler movement, Levke Walczak’s constant motion, Tobe Decraene’s downfield prowess, Angela Zhu’s pinpoint hucks, Joe White’s dynamic all-around game; every part of the team seemed a step ahead of everyone else at the tournament.

Team captain Tom Tulett of Ellipsis (Melbourne) and Team Australia was recruited first by Rappazzo and was involved in the selection process of the team. He spoke with one of our reporters after their dominant win.

Maya Israel: How was that [PELT] game for you?

Tom Tulett: That game was fun. I think that was the first time I’ve played against PELT Mixed. They tried hard, had a lot of tenacity, it was good fun out there. I like playing against the Irish, they’re cut from a good cloth. 

Was it fun playing with a new group of players? Was it the first time you played together and have you had any preparation for the tournament at all?

First game together – we’ve just been hanging out a bunch. We’ve got a group chat that’s just been going off for the last month or so. We’re still getting to know each other in person but the cool thing about getting a group of players together when they’re all this sort of caliber is that the chemistry doesn’t take too long to form. 

How was the selection process for the team? It’s a team with the best players around the world, so how did they get in touch with you and what was that like? 

Initially, it was Stef Rappazzo’s idea. He gave me a call about a year ago with this crazy idea about forming this team literally just to prove one guy wrong who said you can’t win Windmill with a pickup team. We put together this wishlist of players that we wanted and just asked them one by one. We got a core group together…maybe 12, 14 of us. A few dropped out but then one by one we added players that we wanted.

Are there any teams you’re particularly excited to play or hope that you’ll be able to play?

There seems to be a lot of talk about the French mixed team and the Italian mixed team, so it would be great to come up against them. XIST, the US club team, should be good as well. But I guess for me, coming across here, I don’t really know many of the teams or the strength of many of the teams here, especially heading into a Worlds year where I know this is a big lead-up tournament for a lot of the teams here. I think if we come up against any number of teams here, it’ll be a pretty cracking game. We’re trying to not underestimate anyone and try to give a good crack at each game.

Felix Soedira: On a more personal note, is there anything you’re doing in preparation for WUC or are you just here to have a good time and have fun?

I think I’m mainly here for a good time. I’ve never played Windmill before. I’ve played frisbee for a long time and Windmill’s been on the list of tournaments to play. And I guess opportunities like this to play with such a unique group doesn’t come around very often. I’m getting old now and I think if I didn’t come to Windmill this year then competitively, I wouldn’t have made it. It was this year or nothing. So, I’m here, here for a good time and I’m here for really good frisbee and this unique group of people. I think, honestly, it’s one of the craziest mixed teams I’ve seen assembled. It’s pretty cool and I think if you gave us some time, we could probably ride with some of the best mixed teams in the world.


And so they did. 

The TOKAY SuperTeam didn’t seem to come out slow against anyone until it met France mixed in the final round of Swiss draw on Saturday morning. Again, crowds formed to watch two forces collide – the French are, after all, European champions. The SuperTeam went down 2-0 down after an overthrow by Jimmy Mickle and then a drop from Decraene on the subsequent point. The polish seemed to have dulled from the SuperTeam’s play thanks to a tight, well-drilled French zone and, with a shortened game thanks to weather-related adjustments to the schedule1, every point mattered even more than before. 

Eventually, though, the SuperTeam cleaned things up and tightened the screws on defense, forcing high-stall throws with increased pressure. France began to struggle handling the disc in the wind against big, tough marks and they coughed up two breaks late in the game for the SuperTeam to win on universe. The TOKAY SuperTeam headed into the bracket ranked second and faced a rematch against a stacked2 Italian mixed squad to make it to the final. 

After dispatching the Italians 9-7 in a tight semifinal that came down to the SuperTeam being more clinical on turns – slotting in three breaks to none for the Italians despite good pressure and a spectacular double block from Simone Gasperini in his own end zone – the SuperTeam moved on to the showpiece final in the stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The final was an unsurprising and yet still heavily anticipated rematch against France, this time with a full game slot. Unlike the previous day, TOKAY SuperTeam went up early before France dialed up the defensive pressure to make it even. A few more breaks in the second half by the SuperTeam pretty much sealed France’s fate, though, and the pick-up team won 15-11 in a performance that always looked comfortable despite playing against an extremely talented and successful opponent. 

 

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After the win, Anouchka Beaudry of Team Canada and Iris (Montréal) spoke about how the team had progressed  and developed over the weekend.

Soedira: Anouchka, how was that game and how has the tournament been? 

Anouchka Beaudry: That game was fun, it was a little messy on O but I think we powered through it with our legs and the connections we figured throughout the weekend. The team is absolutely phenomenal, like so much fun, such powerful players on the team. If you compare us from the first game that we played where we barely knew each other’s names to now playing together and for each other, it’s very, very nice. 

You guys dominated the competition but you did have some tough games. You played France twice now and Italy quite close. How was it being really tested in those games? 

It was fun. I think the biggest way this team is special is the fact that when we were in a tough position, everyone had quite a bit of experience in that. We’re all people that maybe lead in these moments, and keep our heads up and stay in the game. I think we really showed that when we were down and could come back and just stay on top of it.

What was your individual selection like? When did you get asked and how did you plan everything to get here?

I honestly just got a DM on Instagram and [laughs] was like “Who is this?” Levke [Walczak] had told me about the team a few months ago and asked me if I would be interested. At first, I said no but then Stef messaged me and we talked about it and I saw the roster and thought this could actually be quite fun. So, I flew out a couple of days ago and it’s been really nice.


In the end, the TOKAY SuperTeam didn’t have to work too hard to put all the pieces together. Between the first game against PELT and the final game versus the French, it was evident that such an incredible group of players was developing connections with every passing point. When you throw together this kind of talent, players tend to figure it out. We see it every four years with the USA basketball teams at the Olympics – when every player can physically win practically every matchup as an individual, the team is starting from a point of enviable strength even without chemistry.

It didn’t seem like there was ever much doubt about the SuperTeam winning the tournament. They were certainly mentioned as favorites during the pre-tournament rumor mill, both before anyone got to Amsterdam and during the pre-game socializing on Thursday evening.

“[All the effort to put this together], it was worth it. It was worth it in the sense that for the players, for the sponsors, everyone was as happy as can be,” said Rappazzo. “Was it worth it for the time I put in? No, probably not! I am going to do it again though, 100%. The where, the when, the why, the how all still needs some thinking but the thoughts and conversations are underway. It will happen!

“I loved it, everybody loved it and more than anything the players loved it,” he continued. “At the end everyone was so grateful, so happy, it was an opportunity to be able to play with some of the other best in the world. It was just gushing love at the end and you can’t ask for much more than that.”

Sounds like we need a new question then: what other tournaments could a pick up team win?


  1. The games on Saturday were shortened thanks to rain making grass fields unplayable. Shorter games were played on the turf fields to keep the schedule rolling. 

  2. Italy has moved players from its open and women’s teams last season to the mixed squad ahead of WUC. 

  1. Felix Soedira
    Felix Soedira

    Felix Soedira is based in Manchester, UK. He has been playing ultimate since 2014 and has been writing since 2021. He has played for the University of Manchester, Manchester Ultimate and currently plays for SMOG Open. Off pitch, he is a struggling graduate. You can follow him on Instagram (@felixsoedira).

  2. Maya Israel
    Avatar

    Maya is based in Manchester. She's played ultimate since 2014, and has been writing since 2019 (intermittently). On pitch, she plays for SMOG Women and off pitch, she's a paralegal.

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