Photo by Kevin Leclare – Ultiphotos.comvian34.ru
After an up and down 2015 season that saw the D.C. Current miss the playoffs for the first time franchise history, the team has regrouped, refocused and is ready for a resurgence in its’ 2016 campaign.
Since the inaugural season of Major League Ultimate in 2013, the Current have made it a point that they were determined to build a dynasty. That is actually easier than it sounds. It doesn’t happen overnight, and it certainly doesn’t happen without bumps in the road. But what it does start with is a dedicated coaching staff and front office that is focused on building a team that is committed to winning and doing it the right way.
“I think if you look at the past two seasons, it’s pretty clear we have one of the most dedicated staffs in ultimate,” said General Manager Matt Dewhurst. “And that’s because this is much more than a job for us. It’s a passion. We have a chance to build the District a professional ultimate franchise that continually contends for a championship. That alone should be enough to get your juices flowing, let alone being able to represent your home city.”
Since the end of the 2015 MLU season, the Current leadership have wasted no time in working on its plan for 2016 and what it would take to bring D.C. back to the top of the Major League Ultimate mountain. And that plan doesn’t just include next season, but also sets the table for the future of the franchise.
It’s not that the Current are changing the direction, rather, defining it with a precise plan of player development and training that will make the team strong for years to come.
“The biggest difference is an approach that looks for sustained growth that involves a focus on helping players push their limits and develop a well-rounded skill set,” said coach Will Smolinski, “We have done a great job of developing newer talent over the last three years, but it will be part of our organizational structure.”
Like many great teams in professional sports, the Current are looking to bring back a strong core of players that mix together dedicated veterans and talented young players. The roster structure will also feature many more practice players than years past, in an effort to cultivate talent throughout the D.M.V. for future Current teams. This is one of the more exciting developments according to Smolinski.
“As a High School coach, we always knew the Seniors would graduate. The same thing is true for the pro game, you just don’t know each players graduation date. Having opportunities to get reps against the best players in the game today, even though they might only be practice or pod players, builds tomorrow’s superstars.” Smolinski said. “Look at the Yankees, Cardinals, Steelers, Patriots… the best teams across professional sports have a mix of experienced top end talent and a development system for young players to learn in.”
But don’t think the extra emphasis on a younger core means a departure from keeping or securing top-end talent. Exactly the opposite. Any good team is built on leaders and captains that can not only make the highlight reel, but are also there when their teammates make a big play. And those superstars can be found in a lot of places according to Smolinski and Dewhurst.
So while Current fans will likely see a fair amount of familiar faces playing at the Dojo next season, they shouldn’t be surprised if there are new faces from around the mid-Atlantic region. With Truck Stop (open), Scandal (women’s) and Ambiguously Grey (mixed) all representing D.C. at USA Ultimate Club Nationals this fall, it is clear that the level of talent has never been higher around the D.M.V.. And the Current hope to continue to find it, no matter what club team it calls home.
“Many of these players have elite break throws or are athletically gifted, but they need to work on their field sense or footwork. This team is where those players should be getting reps, we have the leadership that can help them develop those skills without fear of struggling at first,” said Smolinski. “We are looking for players that are ready to make the Current a top priority and work to make this franchise great and our fans proud.”
The Current will kick off the 2016 season with players, staff and fans at its annual signing day party in December. Open tryouts in will again be held in February. Those dates and times are currently TBD. Stay tuned to TheDCCurrent.com for more to information on the 2016 season.