Photo by Pete Guion –

Nearly 60 professional Ultimate hopefuls attended the first of two D.C. Current’s open tryout this past Sunday.

A total of 58 players — 49 prospects and nine players already under contract — took the field promptly at 5 a.m. at the Soccerdome in Hyattsville, Maryland.

The D.C. coaching staff intentionally started the tryout at the break of dawn in order to attract only serious players.

“The 5 a.m. start time, we love it. We know we are going to get guys that are willing to sacrifice to be on the team, and any great team needs every member to be willing to sacrifice something,” said Assistant Coach Will Smolinski. “I’m sure most of the guys that came out would love to have been hanging out late with their friends, but they didn’t. They came in and worked out instead.”

Those who were eager enough to drag themselves out of the house early on a Sunday morning were rewarded with a rigorous, three-hour workout that tested their Ultimate skills. The potential professionals participated in drills that measured their throwing, catching and marking skills as well as their ability to adapt to in-game situations.

In addition to zone, huck and cut timing drills, Head Coach Keven Moldenhauer and Coach Smolinski focused on a reset drill that demonstrates a skill they hope will become an essential feature of this season’s offense.

While the tryout was an opportunity for hopeful candidates to show off their skills, the practice also served as a chance for returning and new D.C. Current members to take the field together. Jeff Wodatch, who scored a team high 30 goals last season, was encouraged by what he saw at the open tryout.

“There were a ton of athletes. Everyone was in great shape,” Wodatch said. “I think the three things that will show who is ready to play at this level is the ability to make a play, field awareness, and throws. Somebody who always impresses me is my Truck Stop teammate Ben Fleming; he’s one of the most athletic players out there. And it was also great playing on the same side as [recent D.C. Current signee] Peter Prial after playing against him these last few years.”

The group of prospective players will gather again this Sunday for another open tryout, before the team narrows down the candidates during invite only tryouts on February 9 and 16.

While the season is still a few months away, the tryout served as a nice appetizer to wet the palate of Wodatch and his teammates who are chomping at the bit to claim this season’s MLU crown.

“The closer the season gets the hungrier I get,” said Wodatch. “The beginnings of a season are always exciting especially with all those potential Current players out there. However, these indoor fields are a little small and crowded. I’ll be even more excited when we get outside onto the regulation field.”

Check out the UltiPhotos gallery of the January 26 open combine, and be sure to watch the tryout recap video.

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