Ironside 2011 Preview

by | June 27, 2011, 7:00am 0

Recent History

Boston remains a hotbed for ultimate, and I expect that the top team in the Boston area will be in the mix for a club championship for the foreseeable future. After the 2007 merger of Death or Glory and Twisted Metal into TBA also known as Boston Ultimate, Boston has done very well in Sarasota. After a quarters exit in 2007, the team changed their name to Ironside, and since then, they’ve made finals twice (2008, 2010), and lost in semis in 2009. The first Boston championship since DoG still eludes them, and everyone there is still hungry for it.

Roster Turnover

Ironside's Teddy Browar-Jarus makes Brian "Boo" Garcia as Boston watch from the sideline - Photo by Kevin Leclaire (

Not much can be said about the roster turnover quite yet, as Ironside’s roster won’t be finalized until after this past weekend’s Boston Invite.  Coach Josh McCarthy said, “We are fortunate that we have had such great interest in trying out this year, both from certain former players on the Bodhi team as well as from others.  This year, it does not seem that a lot of guys have moved into town who have high level club experience and are ready to contribute to Ironside right away, but there are a few who are definitely in the mix.” Despite not knowing who made it, we do know that there are a lot of losses, including some big name players. An O-line without Jeff Graham and Adam Simon and a D-line without Will Neff and Seth Crockford means there will be a huge gap between this and last year’s team. In addition, the loss of Sam Rosenthal will shift the team culture, but Ironside hopes he’ll remain involved in one capacity or another.

Strategy, Leadership, and Philosophy

Behind the helm for Ironside is Coach Josh McCarthy, who works in conjunction with captains Matt Rebholz and Mike Zalisk; last year, former DoG and Brown coach Nathan Wicks also helped coach, putting a strong presence in the huddle. Josh said that “the coaches will handle the subbing and typically the line calling on O and D, as well as individual player management during games,” while the captains are more focused on the huddle and their own playing.

Revolver's Sam Kanner marks Adam "Chicken" Simon - Photo by Kevin Leclaire (

As for strategy, Ironside will have to tailor its game to this year’s players, as 4 or 5 players from each line departed. D-line stalwarts George Stubbs and Colin Mahoney won’t be around until August, but that gives them plenty of time to gel with the new players and figure out how to best get back to playing on Sunday in Sarasota.

Spring Results and Regular Season Schedule

After a win at the Cazenovia Ultimate Tournament, McCarthy said, “We have looked solid in the preseason but I expect with a number of new players unfamiliar with playing with one another we’ll be working out a number of kinks all the way through October.  We have had some close contests thus far, but given the very high level teams that we’ve played, we expect a battle every time we take the field.  As in years past, we will attend Boston Invite, ECC and Chesapeake.  We’re not concerned with the win-loss record during the regular season; we will use these tournaments to figure out roles, get comfortable playing our O and D sets, and, hopefully, peak as a TEAM in Sarasota.”


The obvious goal is to bring the title back to Boston, but don’t expect Ironside’s regular season to have the same results as last year. They’re focusing on becoming the best team they can come October, so that they can bring home the trophy.

Community Involvement

Ironside's O-line handler Matt Rebholz elevates to make a grab over John Levy - Photo by Daniel Tjioe (

While there is no specific pipeline like Colorado to Bravo or Texas to Doublewide, Ironside draws on the entire Northeast, which provides a lot of high level talent. Occasionally, talent becomes dispersed (see: Twisted Metal & DoG, Bodhi & Ironside), but there seems to be plenty of it to go around though. In addition, Ironside has coaches at Tufts, Brown, MIT, and Harvard, so college kids looking for high level ultimate often have someone pointing them toward Ironside. McCarthy said that they “haven’t taken a proactive approach as a team, but it is something that we will continue to look into.”

2011 Outlook

While some may consider Ironside to be “rebuilding” due to their losses, don’t rule them out to make a run late into Saturday and possibly Sunday. Their O-line is disciplined, their D-line is out to prove themselves, and two finals appearances mean those who are returning are especially hungry. With excellent leadership and some of the best coaching staff, expect the team to mature quickly and find roles by Chesapeake. The influx of young players and the experience of the returners makes me feel bad for whoever is in their pool at Sarasota. Sometime in the next few years, Ironside will join the list of the four other Boston teams and bring home a championship.

Ironside has an infrequently updated blog at, where they will post tournament summaries in the future once the roster is settled, as well as discuss any other social media plans.  Josh also reminded me that, “certain personalities on the team also tweet tournament (and other colorful) updates from time to time.”  That would be Brandon “Muffin” Malecek’s Twitter, @BigMuffNuts.


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