The EUROSTARS stunned the Ultimate world with their results last year, bringing by far the Americus Cup to Europe. This results is even more astonishing when you realise how little time they had together to build a team. We sat with Bex, to talk about that.
What were the main milestones to build this team?
Putting together the team is broken into various parts: Scouting and selection is an in depth and lengthy process.
This is followed by the hefty tour logistics and the final component is the actual playing strategies that only happens when everyone is together on the tour.
How did you recruit the players?
There is an application process that begins with an open call. This is a very important aspect because reaching less connected but equally amazing players is at the root of the EuroStars mission. These types of players are less well known and hard to find but the impact on their playing career and their communities is bigger because of it.
Video footage is essential for the application process and players submit footage of two games, highlights reels are not accepted as they don’t provide enough accurate information. After the shortlist is announced an even more in depth scouting process continues with further video scouting (on non submitted video) references are contacted and opinion sought from elite players across europe and previous EuroStars. The final few team spots are always really difficult to fill because direct comparisons are difficult to make. A tryout would be much easier! Footage where players are marking known elite players is invaluable for this.
How did you build the team?
Once the selection is finalised the logistics take over. There is no playbook preparation before the tour because the subtle style and focus of each movement in strategy is vital and full team understanding is crucial as there is no time for the team to ‘work it out’. A crystal clear vision delivered with nuance is really important.
Because there is usually a large portion of the team I have never met before there are challenges in bringing out the best in players you are trying to get to know quickly. I have enjoyed this challenge of bringing in and pulling together strangers with multiple cultures and playing experiences and providing a professional experience that is unmatched particularly in Europe.
On the first jetlagged night we have a meeting, we meet each other, set out expectations, logistics and professionalism. THe next day is our first practice and here we focus on offense. The team is divided into 2 but in the first day combinations are moved around quickly to assess compatibility of natural playing styles. A lot of trust is required from players you have just met.
A system of plays and an overall playing style is introduced and enforced in a way that hopefully promotes clean offence without stifling players. This is usually a work in progress through the entire tour. What is clear is the vision. The style of play and the mechanism that players are expected to perform in. What is different about this team is the expectation of mental concentration. It is extremely high. There is no time for lapses. The players themselves are highly motivated players so this isn’t an issue normally but it can be challenging. It is an entire Season squashed into 2.5 weeks. Added challenges are that players are outside their normal playing position, english may not be their mother tongue, it’s hot, jet lagged is a factor and players maybe homesick.
Each game there is a very specific game plan and the training before each game we often introduce a new strategy that will be executed that night. This fast and specific turnaround is something that I know the players were surprised by, challenged by and ultimately enjoyed (I think)
Can you tease us a bit about the plans for next year?
EuroStars is just beginning to start preparations for 2020. It will look similar to previous cycles with a tour in mid to late August. Perhaps the last time in this format. Stay tuned on @eurostarstour.com insta, facebook et twitter and www.eurostarstour.com for further announcements.
If you are interested in helping with running aspects of the tour, fundraising, marketing or are interested in sponsorship opportunities please email email@example.com
TOKAY is proud to sponsor the EUROSTARS. Get the perfect pair of cleats for your Gameday with a discount and Support that awesome project by ordering at tokay-ultimate.com with the coupon code: EUROSTARS