With only one week left to the first pull in London, the suspense gets real. Over the last couple of months, we’ve unfolded the inside stories from our Singapore Opens, Masters, Womens and Mixed teams, all whom are headed up to Worlds to play the best Ultimate they’ve played in their lives. 

But everyone knows an undying thirst can’t be quenched. We turned on our fan mode, and here we are with a bonus edition just for you. The world is excited to see some of the best players and teams put on a big show, and as the curtain unfolds, the limelight will no doubt be cast on the champions of WUGC 2012. We speak with a very special someone, who has inspired many and also probably touched the hearts of many girls…

As Team USA takes to the field for their  warmup match against Evolution in Medellín, Colombia, there is a familiar face missing from the starting line-up. Instead of having a disc in his hand, he’s busy trying to provide a livestream for the game using Facebook and his phone… An MCL injury just a few days ago forced him to watch from the sidelines. With WUGC 2016 happening in just a little more than 2 months, such an injury inevitably cast doubts on his participation, and would set just about anyone’s spirits back. As one of the most recognizable faces in the Ultimate scene, we wanted to know if Beau Kittredge would bounce back up in time. We also speak to him about Team USA’s preparation for Worlds, his thoughts on Asian Ultimate, and what makes Ultimate so special. Read on to find out more…

But first up, here’s a video featuring Beau Kittredge’s Ultimate journey.

Watch Beau Kittredge Hype from Wesley Chow on Vimeo.

“For me spirit comes down to respect. Respect for your opponent, respect for the game and respect for yourself.  If sport represents life then perhaps in one way life can follow our sport. In a world that seems to increasingly resolve confrontation with violence, I wonder what what would happen if we all had a bit more SOTG.”

 – Beau Kittredge on Spirit of the Game. Read more on SKYD Magazine

1) Hi Beau, can we say how fortunate we are to be able to interview you! It was heartbreaking to learn about your injury recently, how is the recovery so far and will we still have a chance to see you at WUGC 2016?

There’s a 95% chance that you will see me playing at Worlds. I’m going to hit this rehab really hard, I love a good challenge. Plenty of other good athletes have played without their MCL. Yeah, so 95%, give that a 5% window of error.

  • Ultiworld reports Beau Kittredge’s knee injury and the play during a Dallas Roughnecks game against the Charlotte Express here.
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San Francisco Revolver’s Beau Kittredge (Team USA) laying out against Clapham Ultimate’s Cian Ó Móráin during WUCC2014 | Photo Credits: Agnieszka Skorupka, Get Horizontal

“Most people don’t even understand what it means to make hard work a way of life. There is no offseason, there is speed season, lifting season, active recovery season, yoga season, eat healthy season so on and so forth.”
– Beau Kittredge on working hard. Read more on SKYD Magazine.

2) Team USA will be heading into WUGC with a star-studded roster to say the very least. In your opinion, how different is this squad compared to the one that clinched the gold four years ago in Japan?

This one is a lot different than the team that won 4 years ago. Completely different people coming together, a higher ceiling but a lot more challenge. Hence, its a lot more harder to get to that ceiling.

Photo Credits: USA Ultimate

Team USA for WUGC 2016 | Photo Credits: USA Ultimate

  • Check out who are the players on the USA National Team for the 2016 World Ultimate Championships here.
  • See the standings for 2012 World Games here. USA won Great Britian 14-5 in the Open Division Finals. 

3) While there is no doubt regarding the quality and depth of the squad, other teams have the advantage of being able to send squads that have played together for a long time. In the case of Team USA, the squad consists of players from all over the country from different clubs and professional teams. How do you all make it all work on the field?

Jonathan Helton (Team USA) in action | Photo Credits: Tim Vo

Jonathan Helton (Team USA) in action | Photo Credits: Tim Vo. Read more about Jonathan Helton a.k.a Goose here on AUDL and here on Ultiworld.

The fact that we are all coming together from different systems is really challenging, so what we’ve done is basically  try to make a simpler, easier system. Basically, giving each other space to cut into, relying on the athletes and throwers we have to make the right decisions, to make the right cuts. Nothing too complicated as we only have three or four practices together. That’s the idea, rely on our good throwers and good athletes.

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Beau Kittredge (Team USA) high-fiving Cassidy Rasmussen (Team USA) | Photo Credits: Beau Kittredge. Read about Cassidy Rasmussen on Ultiworld here.

4) Who do you think will shine for Team USA for this upcoming WUGC?

I’m gonna say Dylan Freechild, Kurt Gibson. Maybe Jimmy Mickle, I can see him playing well. Oh and Dillon, Trent Dillon, I like that kid.

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Dylan Freechild (Team USA) going up for the D | Photo Credits: Natasha Won Photography

  • Read and watch Dylan Freechild’s give and go moves in a Video Analysis powered by Agility from Five Ultimate here
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Kurt Gibson (Team USA) in action | Photo Credits: Ultiphotos.com

Jimmy Mickle in action at Santa Monica Beach | Photo Credits: Natalie Bigman, Pimentel Photography - NBP

Jimmy Mickle (Team USA) in action at Santa Monica Beach | Photo Credits: Natalie Bigman, Pimentel Photography – NBP

  • Jimmy Mickle is the 2014 Callahan Award Winner. Read about him and watch his play here on SKYD Magazine.
PIttsburgh’s Trent Dillon v. Minnesota. Photo: William Brotman — UltiPhotos.com

PIttsburgh’s Trent Dillon (Team USA) v. Minnesota. Photo: William Brotman — UltiPhotos.com

Watch Beau himself rocking it at AUDL 2015. Beau was awarded MVP.

“To me, it embodies what a sport should be: easy to set up, easy to learn, easy to play, hard to master. …The parallels between this team sport and life are everywhere: the commitment, the constant training, the hardships, the small victories, the grand failures, and the constant pursuit of future goals that will always wait just out of reach.”
Beau Kittredge, on why he chooses to play Ultimate. Read more on SKYD Magazine.

5) The Ultimate scene has gone through a huge transformation since the last WUGC, with an increased global audience, more media exposure and lots of new players all over the world. How do you think the competition at WUGC this year will be like compared to the last edition?

Yeah, it’s super cool that so much energy and money and time is going into growing the ultimate scene. I expect this Worlds games to be better than the last. Maybe not play wise, but definitely as far as all the rest of the things is concerned. I think we’re finally catching up to some of the other sports as far as the quality of content we can put out and that’s awesome. I’m looking forward to seeing the US teams play against the world, cause it will be interesting to see if we can come together in the limited amount of time we have.

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Our very own Uncle Eric will be at Worlds to capture the highlight moments! | Photo Credits: Jihoon Choi, captured at AOUC 2015 in Hong Kong

6) Having been in Manila last year for Manila Spirits, what impressed you the most? What are your thoughts about Ultimate in Asia and the growth of it?

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Beau Kittredge’s team (Dragons) for Manila Spirits 2015 | Photo Credits: All about U. View full album here.

The thing that impressed me the most is the knowledge that all the Asian teams had of the US pro teams and the sport in general. They knew more about ultimate than I did, and their passion for the top players and teams is a lot higher than the US fans. They idolise top players and top teams. I think that’s really cool to have. It’s kind of the way in the US people look up to the stars of basketball or football, they do the same for the athletes in (Ultimate), at least when we were there, which is really cool. Glad to see that some of the top players and top teams finally getting their recognition.

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Boracay lovin’ after the Manila Spirits 2016 | Photo Credits: Matthew Pan

7) Having said that, do you think that an Asian team can challenge for the gold this year?

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KuoHsun hanging on to the disc in the finals vs the Philippines (Mixed Nuts) at Manila Spirits 2016| Photo Credits: All about U. See full album here.

I think the gold will absolutely be challenged by Asian teams. They play a different style of Ultimate. They play with a smaller squad, or a smaller stature, which results in them being quicker, throwing different throws and running a different offense than we are used to playing against. They’re very hard to defend. It’s definitely a big challenge for the US team, having these big guys try and cover the little quick guys. It’s something that challenges me. I really enjoy playing against the Asians because it’s so different and so hard. But yeah, I love a challenge.

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Kuoshun marking Beau Kittredge at Manila Spirits 2016 | Photo Credits: Amy Smith. View full album here.

8) Much has been made of your AUDL switch from San Jose Spiders to Dallas Roughnecks during the off season, how has the transition been so far?

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The Dallas Roughnecks, a Professional Ultimate Disc Team located in Dallas Texas. Part of the AUDL | Photo Credits: Dallas Roughnecks

The transition has been great! Jim Gerencser, owner of the Roughnecks, is super passionate about really growing the sport. He’s really putting his time and money where his mouth is. And we have a swimming pool here – what more do you need in hot weather but a swimming pool? Yeah, so go Dallas Roughnecks!

9) Followers of you would know that you live and train with Cassidy Rasmussen and Jimmy Mickle, two very talented players in their own right. How is the relationship between the 3 of you? Do you see yourself as being more of a mentor to them due to your experience or do you regard them as rivals and constantly challenge them?

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Photo Credits: Amiel Hanley

I don’t live with Cassidy anymore, I now live with Jimmy Mickle and Dylan Freechild. It’s awesome to have people who are equally passionate about the sport. If one of us is having a hard time or hard day, the other two will usually pick him up and get him going by really killing him. Trainings are always good. As far as Ultimate goes, we are always pushing each other and that is something that is super helpful if you want to get better in something. If you want to get better this sport, definitely (you need people who are passionate about it around you).

10) Ultimate has seen a huge increase in global audience over the years, and with you being one of the most recognizable names in the sport; do you see yourself as a spokesperson for the sport itself?

Photo Credits: Mike Payne

Beau Kittredge with a pancake in mid air | Photo Credits: Mike Payne

I guess I do see myself as a spokesperson or an ambassador. I don’t know if it adds that much responsibility, though sometimes I think I will not say things that I want to. I will hold back a little more and try to be a kinder, nicer and better person. But at the same time I don’t want to lose what makes me, me, and who I am. So I’ve been trying to stay true to myself which I think is hard sometimes, especially when you are put in the spotlight and you have so many people telling you that you shouldn’t act or behave in a certain way.

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Beau Kittredge touching down with a score | Photo Credits: Brian Canniff Photography. View full album here.

Nonetheless, I’m going to grow this sport the best way I can. Sometimes that might sting a bit or hurt others, but it’s all in good cause. I’m most of the time just trying to have fun, and push the sport in a unique and different way. I might have a personality that might rub people the wrong way at times, but that’s the way life goes. 

Beau Kittredge going up for the disc| Photo Credits: Five Ultimate

Beau Kittredge going up for the disc | Photo Credits: Five Ultimate

11) Away from the field, you have spent a lot of time and effort helping out with the organisation E.R.I.C. (Early Recognition Is Critical). Tell us more about the organisation and what the public can do to help.

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Beau Kittredge & Jimmy Mickle conducting an E.R.I.C clinic | Photo Credits: E.R.I.C

E.R.I.C. stands for Early Recognition Is Critical. I think whoever comes to watch us do a clinic – myself, Jimmy and Dylan, they see how much fun the kids have and how much good is done during that brief time with them. Simply watching them turn from initially being apprehensive towards something new, to falling in love with playing Ultimate by the end, it’s something very special that I have never seen in other sports. 

I guess it is probably because most kids understand the other sports, so this is an entirely new experience that they get to experience with us for the first time. Watching them adapt, change and become better, not only as Ultimate players, but as humans who work together with other humans, you can see them grow both mentally and physically. It’s awesome!

  • Read about why Beau Kittredge joined E.R.I.C here on SKYD Magazine, what E.R.I.C does to help fight cancer and where your donations go. 
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Beau with his E.R.I.C Squad | Photo Credits: E.R.I.C

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Team E.R.I.C at the Manila Spirits 2015 All Stars Exhibition Match vs Philippines | Photo Credits: Michael Lorenzana Photography and Videography. See the full album here.

If you want to help, head over to www.earlyrecognition.org, send us an email and tell us that you want to run a clinic. We have raised quite a bit of funds, and all of them go to sending out these clinics. It is really cool to see and be a part of an organization that takes the money and puts it right back into helping and developing youths. Not just from recognizing cancers early, but through the teaching of Ultimate. The two make a great combination.

Be sure to follow E.R.I.C on Facebook here. If you need a little convincing, here’s Beau Kittredge. 

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Beau Kittredge of E.R.I.C | Photo Credits: E.R.I.C

We end off our bonus edition with an interview with Beau Kittredge on film.  Enjoy!

We wish Beau and his pals all the best for WUGC 2016!

In the meantime, be sure to check out Beau Kittredge’s column on SKYD Magazine here. Follow him on instagram @beau_show here and his Facebook page here. Other than playing Ultimate, Beau also writes children books and makes video games. Check out his site at www.beausbooks.com and www.snowsuitstudio.com.