[Team Interview] #YAKAddict

One of the first teams we worked with, and perennial first ladies of France: YAKA. Known for their 10 French Nationals wins, team selfies, and intimidating team pictures; YAKA are aiming to equal or improve on their 2017 bronze medal finish at EUCF. Read on to see how YAKA, despite player turnover, are working hard to present a united front at WUCC. 

Cover Photo: YAKA’s Virginie and Daniela in the Tom’s Tourney 2018 Finals vs. Iceni
Cover Photo Credit: The ShowGame © Tristan Millington

Fact Card

Club: YAKA
Year club was founded: 1986, women’s team YAKA was founded in 2005
City, Country :  Noisy-le-Sec, France
Division: Women’s

Best Results :
National Championships:
outdoor: 1st in 2007 and from 2009 – 2017 (10 titles)
indoor: 1st in 2015/16, 2016/17, 2017/18 (3 titles)

Continental Championships: 3rd in 2017
World Championships: 23rd in 2014, 22nd in 2010

Crowdfunding Campaign?
Yes, right here: link.

What are the goals of the team at WUCC and beyond? How are you preparing to accomplish these goals?

WUCC 2018 will be our third World Club Championship. After Prague in 2010 and Lecco in 2014, this year we intend to continue our quest for international results, of course, by improving our previous ranking. But in terms of sport, we would especially like to confirm our European bronze medal by finishing in the top 3 of the attending European teams.

From the point of view of Spirit, we are insisting that every player knows the rules perfectly, but especially that every player takes pleasure in being at these World Championships. This is a huge celebration of the ultimate world, and it is up to us to represent French Ultimate in the most beautiful way possible!

YAKA team picture taken at Tom’s Tourney
Photo Credits: YAKA

Our preparation is built on collectivity. We had a big roster turnover between the 2017 and 2018 season, so we organized several training sessions (and selection rounds) to quickly build a new group, and then we immediately went to confront other European teams: in Ghent for a training camp with the Belgian team Gentle and the English team Iceni, and then at different tournaments: Vienna, Brugge, Amsterdam. Our first sports results are very encouraging for the future! (A victory in Brugge, 2nd place in Vienna).

We will continue our training plan until the end: 2 technical and tactical training sessions per week, as well as 3 physical training sessions. A large core of players train together in Noisy-le-Sec, but we also have several players located far away, including 2 players from Nantes, 2 from Grenoble, and 6 girls living abroad. While some might think this is not ideal for preparing to attend a World Championship, at YAKA we are used to working with remote players. Our communication within the team is essential; even at a distance, we are in touch every day to give news, to motivate, and especially to share jokes and various delusions. The YAKA 2018 group is doing extremely well as we prepare for the big appointment of the summer!!

YAKA’s Robyn and Virginie facing the Dutch U20 team in the Tom’s Tourney 2018 Semi-Finals
Photo Credit: The ShowGame © Claire Baker

What should the world know about your team and its journey to Worlds?

For Cincinnati, we think we have armed our squad to fight against any team: our American recruits will help us to decipher the American and Japanese game that they are used to dealing with; our European recruits (Austrian and Dutch) will bring us better knowledge of the Northern and Eastern European game. This is a real asset to us who are by now very familiar with the Belgian, English and Italian game, teams that we have played very often over the last 2-3 years.

For WUCC, we have worked on our collective trust! Going to the other side of the world to play Ultimate is just huge. It will therefore be necessary to enjoy every moment and to make the most out of this opportunity!

Anecdote: During our European bronze-medal run in 2017, the mayor of Noisy-le-Sec, Mr Laurent RIVOIRE, made the trip to Caorle in Italy to support us and experience that adventure with us. With two club teams in Cincinnati (YAKA in women and Iznogood in open), will the Mayor be present in the United States?!

YAKA’s Sarah and Aude in the Tom’s Tourney 2018 Finals vs. Iceni
Photo Credit: The ShowGame © Tristan Millington

What can your opponents expect from you this season?

In terms of our team cheer we will not be original: we have had the same yell since 2007, a cheer that has been passed down from generation to generation 🙂

On the other hand, in terms of playing style we will continue the work of recent years: that is to say (without revealing too much), a well-oiled offense with dangerous players in the different areas of play, and several defensive cards in our pocket: from great individual physical capabilities to different collective zone defenses!

We can not wait to launch our “Makina” lines (powerline) in Cincinnati!

YAKA’s Rasta at Vienna Spring Break and Robyn at Tom’s Tourney
Photo Credit (one): © H.-P. Zerlauth
Photo Credit (two): © Tom’s Tourney

Thank you YAKA for enabling us to get even more YAKAddicted! Best of luck to you and the Mayor at WUCC!

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