Colorado Springs, Colo. (January 15, 2021)–While disappointed and saddened for its current National Team athletes, coaches, support staff and future tryout attendees – many of whom are losing a unique and prestigious opportunity to represent the United States on the field in 2021 – USA Ultimate supports and understands the difficult decision made by the World Flying Disc Federation (WFDF) earlier this week.

The initial postponement and subsequent cancellation of the 2020 World Ultimate & Guts Championships, the cancellation of the 2021 World Under-24 Championships (W-U24) and the postponement of the 2021 World Championships of Beach Ultimate (WCBU) to the spring of 2022 are unfortunate, particularly for our remarkably dedicated players who invest an enormous amount of passion, effort and resources into pursing a spot on the National Team. The commitment they make to prepare, train and compete on a world stage is significant.

Leading up to WFDF’s deadlines for various commitments from teams, the vast majority of the National Team delegation, including athletes, coaches and support staff expressed an interest in keeping the option open to compete this summer. While there were concerns about health and safety protocols and financial risks, there was an ongoing discussion about these issues with players, coaches, staff, USA Ultimate’s medical working group, and WFDF, even as USA Ultimate expressed its continued interest in participating in the tournament if it was possible to safely hold the event.  

With a shared understanding that the health, safety and well-being of our athletes, coaches and support staff are of primary importance, and given the circumstances of the ongoing, global COVID-19 pandemic, USA Ultimate appreciates the thoughtful consideration and thorough communication of WFDF and its local organizing partners.  

Despite this latest round of cancellations and postponements, USA Ultimate remains hopeful and excited about the opportunities that lie ahead. For 2022, WFDF events on the international calendar tentatively include:

  • The World Championships of Beach Ultimate (WCBU)
  • The World Masters Ultimate Club Championships (WMUCC)
  • The World Ultimate Club Championships (WUCC)
  • The World Junior Ultimate Championships (WJUC)

Additionally, the International World Games Association (IWGA) will host the World Games in Birmingham, Alabama in 2022 after a one-year delay.

USA Ultimate will continue to learn about and evaluate the impact of the proposed 2022 calendar, both on the national team program and any domestic events used as qualifiers. (The 2021 Masters Championships and the 2021 National Championships would normally be used as qualifiers for the 2022 WMUCC and WUCC tournaments respectively.)

USA Ultimate will continue to communicate directly with its National Team delegation, including athletes, coaches and staff, as well as others potentially affected by these adjustments and the ever-changing landscape in light of the pandemic. USA Ultimate will also continue to collaborate with its competition working groups – including player-elected athlete reps – to assess competition structures and guidelines as necessary. 

Additionally, USA Ultimate, with the help of its medical working group, will publish updated Return to Play Guidelines in the coming weeks as it continues to review the latest health and safety guidelines and recommendations, evaluate government regulations, and learn from other amateur and youth sports that have already returned to competition.