Table of Contents
- Registration Deadlines
- Team Requirements
- Player Requirements
- Competition Guidelines
- Additional Rules & Requirements for U20 Mixed Division
The goal of the USA Ultimate Beach Division is to provide national level competition for players in the sand. USA Ultimate will host one event in 2024: the Beach Championships, which will be held in Virginia Beach, VA, on May 11-12. The guidelines that follow are USA Ultimate’s requirements for qualification and criteria for acceptance for this year’s event.
In order to award bids early enough so that teams can prepare and finalize their teams, and so that organizers can make the necessary preparations, there will be a registration period during which the minimum number of teams (six per division) must register in order to automatically include the division in the event.
With the goal of growing the amount of beach/sand play and building a connected local and national infrastructure, USA Ultimate will be rewarding communities that provide local playing opportunities to members, and, in so doing, encouraging communities to offer those playing opportunities going forward. Bids will be considered, giving decreasing preference to the following:
- USA Ultimate affiliate with beach/sand activity;
- USA Ultimate affiliate without beach/sand activity;
- Unaffiliated organizations with USA Ultimate-sanctioned beach/sand activity;
- Applicant teams with history of USA Ultimate-sanctioned beach/sand participation;
- Applicant teams with history of beach/sand participation;
- Unaffiliated organizations with unsanctioned beach/sand activity;
- Unaffiliated organizations without beach/sand activity; and
- Applicant teams without history of beach/sand participation.
Applicants will be asked to specify under which of the eight categories they are applying. A current list of USA Ultimate affiliates can be found here. Along with the above, teams will be selected with emphasis being placed on geographic distribution and team strength.
For 2024 the following changes will be in effect (with further details below):
- USA Ultimate will be adding the U20 Mixed division.
- The U20 Mixed division will play 4v4 on a smaller field.
II. Registration Guidelines
- Team Registration Deadline: Team must submit the online application (a pdf of the application can be found here) by February 11, midnight mountain time to USA Ultimate headquarters. For a division to be held, at least six teams must register by the Team Registration Deadline. Note: Registration does require the submission of a partial roster on the application of at least five players.
Team Confirmations will be sent out by February 26.
- Confirmed teams must have 10 current members rostered (all teams in mixed divisions must have at least five man-matching and five woman-matching position players rostered) and player fees paid by March 15.
Note: Acknowledging that not all players’ gender identity may align with their sex assigned at birth, we will be using the terms “man-matching” and “woman-matching” in reference to on-field personnel matchups in all mixed divisions.
- Final Roster Deadline: April 30 – Teams will have until this date to add players to their roster, submit team info form and pay player fees.
- Event Date – May 11-12 in Virginia Beach, VA.
There will be twelve potential divisions in the Beach Season: U20 (Under twenty) mixed, men’s, mixed, women’s, masters men’s, masters mixed, masters women’s, grand masters men’s, grand masters mixed, grand masters women’s and great grand masters men’s, great grand masters women’s.
Historically there has been greater interest in the Beach mixed divisions than the beach men’s and women’s divisions including their various masters levels. To further encourage the formation of teams for the non-mixed divisions, geographic requirements will be relaxed for those divisions only. U20 Mixed will have its own requirements in this inaugural year. See 7.b. below, “Geographic Requirements.”
- All teams must meet the registration deadlines with the appropriate materials as outlined in this document.
Final Roster Deadline
- Beach Championships – April 30, 5pm MST.
- Earlier registration deadlines are outlined in the section above. Player requirements are outlined below.
Requirements for Final Roster:
- Players may be added, dropped, or swapped before the Final Roster Deadline.
- Players may not be added, dropped, or swapped after the Final Roster Deadline.
Registration clarifications and exceptions:
- Up until the Final Roster Deadline, an unlimited number of changes may be made to your roster.
- All rostered players must be entered into the online registration system prior to the Final Roster Deadline.
- Roster Changes
- Men’s, mixed and women’s divisions will be allowed a maximum of 18 players on a roster.
- Masters divisions will be allowed a maximum of 20 players on a roster.
- MIXED DIVISIONS: The number of rostered man-matching and woman-matching players may not exceed one another by more than one.
Example: If a team has nine woman-matching athletes on a roster, they must have between eight and ten man-matching athletes on the roster. A team could not have ten woman-matching athletes and eight man-matching athletes.
- The USA Ultimate Beach Division sets specific player minimum requirements for both registration and competition.
Registration minimums: Set to determine whether a team can officially register for the event.
- 10-player minimum registered and attending. For the mixed division, a minimum of five man-matching and woman-matching players.
Competition Minimums: Set to determine whether a team can continue to compete safely at the event.
- Five players to start, three to continue playing. Fewer than three is a forfeit. For the mixed division, three man-matching and three woman-matching players to start and three each to continue playing.
- For the U20 Mixed division, four players are required to compete.
- Contact USA Ultimate headquarters to determine any requirements beyond these minimums.
- A team must represent at least one of the current club regions.
Mixed, Masters Mixed, and Grand Masters Mixed teams are only allowed up to six out of region players depending on their roster size. The following are the out of region limits per roster size.
- 15-20 players = Six out of region players
- 13-14 players = Five out of region players
- 11-12 players = Four out of region players
- 10 players = Three out of region players
Teams in the non-mixed divisions are allowed two additional out of region players for each roster size above (15-20 players = 8 out of region players and so on).
- U20 Mixed will not have a geographic requirement for this inaugural year.
Residence is defined as meeting BOTH of the following requirements:
Location where person is living for the majority of May,
- Location where person is living for the majority of either the three months prior to May 1, 2024 or immediately following May 31, 2024.
- Location where person is living for the majority of May,
- If the above definition means a player does not have a region as their “residence” then the player is considered to be an out-of-region player and counts towards a team’s out-of-region limits.
- Rosters are closed once the Final Roster Deadline has passed. No players can be added to a roster for the event without the approval of USA Ultimate staff.
- Failure to abide by any of the above rules may result in ramifications outlined in the “Violations and Sanctions” section of these guidelines.
Age limits – The minimum ages (as of 12/31/24) for the 2024 USA Ultimate Beach Season are as follows:
- Great Grand Masters: 50 for men, 47 for women, non-binary and players who prefer to self-report their gender identity
- Grand Masters: 40 for men, 37 for women, non-binary and players who prefer to self-report their gender identity
- Masters: 33 for men; 30 for women, non-binary and players who prefer to self-report their gender identity
- U20 Mixed: players must not turn 20 prior to January 1, 2025 and be at least 14 years old at the time of the event
- All players participating on a team must be registered on the team roster. Players may only participate in one division and be registered for only one roster for the Beach Championships.
- All players registered on a team’s Final Roster must be current USA Ultimate members in good standing.
- All players must fill out (completely and correctly) the appropriate USA Ultimate waiver form for the year in which they will be competing. This form is good for the entire calendar year of USA Ultimate membership.
- Tournament fee – $80.00/player tournament fee for all players listed on the Final Roster for all divisions other than U20 Mixed. U20 Mixed fee will be $70/player.
- Failure to abide by any of the above rules may result in ramifications outlined in the “Violations and Sanctions” section of these guidelines.
III. Competition Guidelines
Spirit of the Game
Spirit of the Game is a set of principles which places the responsibility for fair play on the player. Highly competitive play is encouraged, but never at the expense of mutual respect among competitors, adherence to the agreed upon rules or the basic joy of play.
All players are responsible for knowing, administering and adhering to the rules. The integrity of ultimate depends on each player’s responsibility to uphold the Spirit of the Game, and this responsibility should remain paramount. Teams are expected to have a spirit captain, a player that has been designated by their team to address, discuss and resolve spirit-related issues at any point throughout the competition with opponents, teammates, coaches and event officials. Spirit captains should do spirit scoring with their teams after each game and are responsible for the timely submission of spirit scores.
It is assumed that no player will intentionally violate the rules; thus there are no harsh penalties for inadvertent infractions, but rather a method for resuming play in a manner that simulates what most likely would have occurred absent the infraction. An intentional infraction is cheating and considered a gross offense against the Spirit of the Game. Players are morally bound to abide by the rules and not gain advantage by knowingly committing an infraction, or calling one where none exists.
Name/Logo Uniform Guidelines
USA Ultimate reserves the right to alter, or require a team to alter, a team name, player nickname, team logo, jersey graphic or uniform, and/or suggest alternatives at, or in conjunction with, a USA Ultimate program or event should USA Ultimate personnel determine the existing name, logo, graphic or uniform might hinder the mission of the organization or the goals of a specific USA Ultimate program or event. This includes, but is not limited to, sexual references, profanity, drug references, and any discriminatory language or graphics. Alteration must meet the approval of USA Ultimate personnel.
- All players participating in the USA Ultimate Beach Championships for a given team must wear jerseys of identical color and design.
- Teams must have two jerseys of distinctly different colors, one predominantly white and one predominantly dark. A jersey that is not white does not automatically qualify as a dark. Any color that may be described as light does not qualify as a dark jersey (e.g. yellow, light gray, light pink, light blue).
- Jerseys must have numbers on the back of the jersey. The numbers on the back must be at least six inches high, be one- or two-digit Arabic numerals, be solid and be in clear contrast with the jersey. No two players on a given team may use the same number or numbers with the same value (e.g. 00 and 0, 01 and 1). It is recommended that jerseys have numbers on both the front and back of the jersey.
- Uniform bottoms worn by players on the field must be of identical color and design. Teams are not required to have numbers on their uniform bottoms. However, if teams do opt to include numbers they must be on the front left or right leg of their shorts, although teams may opt to do both. The placement must be the same for the whole team. The numbers must be at least two inches high, match the number on the back of their jersey and be in visible contrast with the jersey.
- It is recommended that uniform accessories, including tights, undershirts, hats and socks, be identical or coordinated in style and color.
- Shoes or cleats are not permitted.
- USA Ultimate reserves the right to disqualify and/or fine players who fail to meet the uniform requirements.
Violations and Sanctions
Failure to abide by any of the above guidelines may result in sanctions through the USA Ultimate conduct process. Such sanctions may be imposed on a team or on individuals associated with a team deemed to be in violation of these guidelines, and may include, but are not limited to, suspension or disqualification from USA Ultimate competitions. In order to help teams follow Beach Division Guidelines and avoid violations, USA Ultimate will continue to work to improve registration procedures and communication of information pertaining to the USA Ultimate Beach Division. As these improvements are made by the organization, teams will continue to be held more fully responsible for understanding and following Beach Division information and procedures. Because consistency in holding all participants to the same administrative and competitive standards is vital to the integrity of the Beach Season, because many violations lead to unfair advantages in competition and because it is often difficult to determine intent, guideline violations will result in serious repercussions. Such repercussions will provide an incentive for players and teams to understand the guidelines fully (or ask questions for clarification), follow the guidelines carefully and avoid violations.
The formats for the event will be determined by USA Ultimate Championship Series staff, with the goal of determining a champion, showcasing the division at its best and providing a great playing experience for all the teams.
The USA Ultimate Beach Championships event seeding will be done by USA Ultimate staff and Regional Beach Directors using the following information: input solicited from all the captains of participating teams, results of head to head match-ups prior to the Championships and team composition prior to the Championships. USA Ultimate has the authority to adjust the seedings according to the best information available.
The 2024 Beach Season will be played under the current 2024-2025 Edition USA Ultimate rules. See Appendix E for Beach Ultimate Rules Adaptations. The U20 Mixed division will have some additional rules outlined below.
Gender Division Eligibility
In their USA Ultimate membership account, every athlete should select the gender identity option that best aligns with their gender identity. Athletes should select to participate in the division in which they feel most comfortable and safe based on their indicated gender identity.
- Players who select Man (cis or trans) as their gender identity option are eligible to compete in men’s/boys’ divisions or as a man-matching player in mixed divisions.
- Players who select Woman (cis or trans) as their gender identity option are eligible to compete in men’s/boys’ or women’s/girls’ divisions, or as a woman-matching player in mixed divisions.
- Players who select the Non-Binary or Prefer to Self-Report gender identity option are eligible to compete in the division in which they feel most comfortable and safe, as per USA Ultimate’s Gender Inclusion Policy (approved 11.2020). Note: For those who select Prefer to Self-Report, there will be a fill-in option to provide any additional information regarding your gender identity. This is for internal educational purposes only and will not be shared.
- On-field personnel ratio rules for the mixed division are described in the On-field Personnel Ratio for Mixed Division section of the Competition Guidelines.
On-field Personnel Ratio for Mixed Division
The personnel ratio on the field at all times for the mixed divisions will be 3/2 (three man-matching players and two woman-matching players, or three woman-matching players and two man-matching players).
- The U20 Mixed division will be playing 2/2 rather than 3/2.
- At the start of the game, after the first disc flip, an additional disc flip happens with the winner selecting the personnel ratio for the first point. For the second and third points the ratio must be the reverse of the first point. For the fourth and fifth points the ratio must be the same as the first point. This pattern of alternating the ratio every two points repeats until the end of the game (half time has no impact on the pattern).
Each point, a player representing the gender match-up with three players on the field must pull for that point. That is, if there are three women-matching players a woman-matching player must pull.
- For the U20 Mixed division, the first pull is thrown by a woman-matching player, the second and third by man-matching players, the fourth and fifth by woman-matching players, and so on.
If a team cannot match the entire five-player personnel ratio of the opposing team, then it must play with fewer than five players, matching the personnel with as many players as possible, subject to Team Player Minimum Requirements above.
- For the U20 Mixed division, if a team cannot match the entire four-player personnel ratio of the opposing team, then the team forfeits the game, per Team Player Minimum Requirements above.
- Majority Pull Violation: Violations of the majority pull rule will be handled the same as an offsides violation (9.B.4.d), but instead of calling “offsides,” the offense should call “majority pull violation.” Like with offsides violations, after the first majority pull violation, any subsequent majority pull violations should be handled as described in 9.B.4.d.2. Majority pull rule violations accumulate separately from offsides/false start violations. In games with observers, either the observer or a player on the field may call the violation.
Substitutions: Player substitutions can be completed only:
- after a goal and before the substituting team has signaled readiness; or
- to replace injured players, replace players with illegal equipment, or to resolve an incorrect personnel violation. In this case, the opposing team may substitute a like number of, or fewer, players. In the Mixed Division the substituting players must be of the same gender match.
- The personnel ratio on the field at all times for the mixed divisions will be 3/2 (three man-matching players and two woman-matching players, or three woman-matching players and two man-matching players).
IV. Additional Rules & Requirements for U20 Mixed
The following adaptations to the rules are to be used for the U20 Mixed Division at the Beach Championships. These adaptations may be additions to the current official rules or may supersede existing rules. Other than these additions and changes, the current official rules and guidelines will apply.
Number of Players
- The number of players per team is four (4)
Playing Field 4v4 Field Beach Playing Field Dimensions
- The standard field of play, including end zones, is 66 yards (60 meters) long and 27 yards (25 meters) wide.
- The standard end zone is 16 yards (15 meters) deep.
- The brick marks are located 11 yards (10 meters) from the goal line.
Additional requirements for the Beach Championships U20 Mixed Division in terms of eligibility, coaches, and chaperones will parallel those for 2024 USA Ultimate Youth Club Championships (August 3-5, Aurora, CO).
- On-time receipt of application
Adequate adult support
- At least two USAU-qualified chaperones 25 years of age or older with a USA Ultimate membership, signed waivers, a current NCSI background check, and current SafeSport training.
At least one rostered coach with USA Ultimate coaching certification (this is in addition to being a Foundational Coach). Information on where to obtain certification can be found here.
- Coaches must be High School or Middle School level certified.
- No coach or chaperone may be listed on two or more rosters at the same event (including across multiple gender or age divisions). Those fulfilling the required roles of certified coaches and chaperones CANNOT compete in Beach Championships.
- A coach who meets the chaperone requirements may fulfill both roles on one team roster.
Beach Championships Player Eligibility Goal
To include as many players as possible who are in 12th grade and below, while maintaining consistent cutoffs that allow for fair competition. We extend this invite to players who have just graduated High School in the past several months and have not yet started competing with college teams. We do not want student athletes to feel obligated to make disadvantageous academic decisions to play youth ultimate. We recognize that school/educational options are increasing, including homeschooling, non-traditional schools, small private schools, and dual HS/college enrollment. (commonly HS Seniors turn 18 during their academic year).
- Players must be students currently enrolled in high school, middle school, or junior high. Recent high school graduates are permitted if they have graduated (or received a GED) within the last 12 months prior to May 11, 2024.
- No player can currently or previously have played college ultimate; rostered as practicing with team or competed at a sanctioned event
- Each player on the roster must be a USA Ultimate member in good standing at all times during the event. Players may not use Affiliate Membership or pay one-time event fees for YCC.
- No player may be listed on two or more rosters at the same event (including across multiple gender or age divisions).
- Players under the age of 18 must have a completed Medical Authorization Form onsite at the event with their coach or chaperone.
- To be eligible for the U20 Mixed Division, players must not turn 20 prior to January 1, 2025 and be at least 14 years old at the time of the event.
Application and compliance of the above guidelines will be subject to the discretion of the USA Ultimate Competition staff.
Minor (Under 18) Player Info
Minors must have a Medical Authorization Form completed prior to participation. A team with minors on it must have two or more approved, background-checked Chaperones listed on the team’s official roster.
The medical release form is the responsibility of the chaperone; it must be brought to USA Ultimate Beach Championships and kept on hand by a rostered chaperone. This form will allow medical personnel to treat an injured minor without a parent/guardian having to be present. Without this form, a doctor might not be able to treat an injured minor.
Note: A Medical Authorization is not the same as the USA Ultimate liability waiver or infectious disease waiver.
Coaching Certification Requirements
- Each team must have one rostered coach with USA Ultimate High School or Middle School Coaching Certification (this is in addition to the Foundational Coach requirements).
- All other coaches must be rostered, which means that they have completed the Foundational Coach requirements.
Information on upcoming certification clinics can be found here. If there is not a clinic in your area, contact your local organization to request getting a clinic set up near you.