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Espíritu Sudaka 2014 Recap

by | May 16, 2014, 6:00am 0

To read Drew’s Espíritu Sudaka preview, click here.

I left this year’s Espíritu Sudaka with a smile on my face and a warm feeling in my heart, content from having participated in the third edition of this growing South American tournament. As always, Sudaka proved itself a good blend of competition, learning, and fun, and was definitely worth the large chunk of change I had to spend to attend this year. Let’s take a day-by-day look at how the tournament fared and what the future may have in store for the mixed teams of Cono Sur.


Thursday opened up with a clinic about the non-ultimate disciplines of disc sports. Guts, Goaltimate, Double Disc Court, and Schtick were presented as alternate disc games, as well as tools to develop skills for Ultimate. After a quick break for lunch, the remaining three clinics (youth, players and coaches) were all administered simultaneously. Approximately 15 kids, between the ages of 10 and 14, participated in the youth clinic, where they played games to become familiarized with a disc, followed by an adapted game of mini-ultimate. The coaches clinic opened with discussion about experiences, especially those from countries with long standing programs, and an introduction to teaching Ultimate to an audience of about 20. The presentation touched on the basics of throwing, catching, and stalling, and how to teach them to new players. The speakers also talked about inclusion, drills, and spirit of the game and the values it transmits, and concluded by explaining how to play and utilize mini-ultimate.

The players clinic was broken into three parts, statistics, communication, and training, and had an attendance of about 30. Part one addressed the how and why of statistics, the pros and cons, and how to interpret the data. The main point to take home was that statistics should be used to improve the team as a whole, and not as a measure of an individual player’s abilities. Part two, communication, included a discussion about both verbal and visual, and how they can be used effectively with teammates, opponents, the sidelines, and during foul calls. Part three covered how to train for ultimate, with a special focus on preventing injury and proper nutrition. The clinics ended with a large game of “Galaxy Wars” in lieu of the show games, and a brief opening ceremony from the tournament director.

Day 1:

6AM on Good Friday and Buenos Aires was more or less empty, which made catching a bus or taxi to the fields a bit difficult. After about 20 minutes of hailing cabs, one that wasn’t returning late night partiers to their homes pulled over to take us to the University of Buenos Aires sports fields. With ten teams, the tournament organizers had planned on having four available fields to allow for all teams to play each other round-robin, but had to accommodate for a last minute field change by UBA. With only three fields available for the first two days, the daily schedule was increased to six time slots, which meant early morning start times. Furthermore, there was now a ten minute walk between the soccer fields and rugby fields that we were allotted. That being said, the soccer fields had a nice view of River Plate’s stadium across the street, and the rugby fields were located right on the river, next to the university’s yacht club.

Field relocation was not the only surprise in the first day of play, many of the results were unexpected. Despite the fact their several women had dropped last minute, and those that were left were late for the first game, the new guys of Águilas still managed two close losses. Although it was a 4:3 gender ratio tournament, Clovers allowed Águilas to play with six men until their girls arrived, and again later in the game to let them take a break. This was a generosity that almost came back to haunt them as Águilas were able to capitalize on gender mismatches even though they were a man down. Sapukay also squeaked by the newcomers with a two point win, playing their veterans in new positions, giving their rookies a lot of playing time, and allowing a 5:2 ratio. But the Uruguayans showed great determination playing both man down and with very few substitutes while still managing to keep themselves in each game.

Aside from their universe point win over Águilas, Clovers managed two more thrillers against the Brazilians and their cross town rivals. Following a comprehensive defeat at the hands of V, Clovers took on Soulfrisbee, with a 3:4 gender ratio for most of the game. The Chileans worked hard to make up any breaks they conceded to the Brazilian zone. The most dramatic of these was a full field hammer and layout catch from Clovers’ two Colombian players to force universe point. The final point had a few turns, drawing various reactions from both sidelines, but resulted in Soul preventing the break and getting the win. As the final game of evening, Chilean teams Clovers and Revolución faced off on the turf field under the lights. Both teams traded breaks back and forth, with Revolución generating a break to force Universe Point and Clovers marching down the field for the win.

BigRed played below their expectations, conceding two losses to V and Sapukay, and small wins over UTA and Cimarrón. V found only one tough match up, against Cadillacs, in their four wins, the other three had a comfortable margins. UTA lost all four games, but came within three and even took Revolución to universe point.Cimarrón also lost all four games, however, they closest margin they achieved was three.

Another change to this year’s tournament was moving the tournament party forward one day. Unfortunately, attendance was low, most likely due to early games and sore feet from the hard fields. Those who did make it out to the bar enjoyed themselves with some games, dancing and socializing. Every team had at least one representative there, but no one got as wild as the previous two years.

Team Record   Points For
 Points Against
Point Difference
V 4-0 45 23 +22
Soulfrisbee 4-0 35 25 +10
Sapukay 3-1 43 46 -3
Cadillacs 2-1 32 17 +15
Revolución 2-2 40 41 -1
BigRed 2-2 36 37 -1
Clovers 2-2 37 42 -5
Águilas 0-3 25 38 -13
UTA 0-3 28 35 -7
Cimarrón 0-3 28 46 -18


Day 2:

The second day of games saw some changes, mainly from the teams at the top end of the table. V continued their unbeaten streak, and posted some big scores over UTA and Águilas. Soul finally encountered two teams that efficiently dismantled their zone, in BigRed and V. Their clam/sponge zone helped Soul get to the final last year, and was still proving to be effective this year. V and BigRed were only able to beat the Brazilians by two goals each. BigRed made up for their subpar performance on day one and won all of their games on day two. Clovers followed suit and won their three games, adding yet another universe point game against Cadillacs. The Chileans were able to win a break force universe, and survived a marathon ten minute point to break for the win.

Cadillacs split their other two games, defeating Sapukay and losing to Soul. UTA was able to post two wins, over both the Uruguayan teams, while both Águilas and Cimarrón were unable to taste their first victory. Sapukay was unable to continue their success from day one, only defeating Cimarrón, while dropping against Clovers, Revolución, and Cadillacs. The rankings at the end of the day saw BigRed and Clovers climb up, and Cadillacs and Sapukay slide down even though they had a better point differential and more points scored than the three teams above them, respectively.

Team Record   Points For
  Points Against
Point Difference
V 8-0 90 46 +44
BigRed 6-2 78 64 +14
Soulfrisbee 5-2 62 59 +11
Clovers 5-2 67 64 +3
Revolución 4-3 69 63 +6
Sapukay 4-4 76 86 -10
Cadillacs 3-4 65 55 +11
UTA 2-5 55 60 -5
Cimarrón 0-7 54 83 -29
Águilas 0-7 43 87 -44


Day 3:

With all the results in for day two, the standings were almost solidified, even with most teams having two round robin games remaining on day three. V had already qualified for the final, but it was not clear who might be joining them. Three teams sat beneath V with only two losses, and several outcomes could be in the works for day three. BigRed would secure their spot in the final with a win over Clovers, but if not Soul would take the spot with wins over Águilas and Sapukay. Clovers had the most unlikely chance of making the final, needing to both beat BigRed and hope that Soul would drop one of their two games, most likely against Sapukay.

BigRed settled things early, and got the job done with a universe point win over Clovers. While both teams were playing competitively to try and make the final, the game started to get slowed down by calls, and felt reminiscent of sub-elite college and club ultimate. Clovers emptied the gas in their tank against BigRed, but still managed a two point win over Cimarrón afterwards. Soul did all that they could to try and reach the final, and beat both Águilas and Sapukay. Meanwhile, V almost picked up a blemish on their unbeaten record with a one point win over Revolución, who also faltered against Cadillacs, losing by two. Cadillacs bagged another two point win over UTA, and leapfrogged up to fifth place over Sapukay and Revolución. The final match of round robin play was between the two winless teams from Uruguay, which saw the more experienced Cimarrón emerge the victor against Águilas, by three points.

After all the teams had played round robin, they were paired up again to play for first, third, fifth, seventh, and ninth places. Cimarrón defeated Águilas for the second time of the day to claim ninth. Sapukay edged out a one point win over UTA for seventh. Cadillacs also got a one point win over Revo, playing them for a second time of the day, for fifth. Soul had a very high spirited nine point win over Clovers for third. V and BigRed played an entertaining final that had a little bit of everything, big plays, back and forth breaks, and some questionable calls. When the game was flowing, it was a delight to watch, but some of the calls not only bog the game down, but did not demonstrate the high spirit of the game that is normally present at this tournament. Ultimately, V was able to break BigRed on universe point to go undefeated for ten games and claim first place.

A small awards ceremony took place afterwards, acknowledging the first and second placed teams, as well as the individuals who lead each statistical category for both the men and the women. The men had different recipients for goals, assists, and D’s, and the MVP, which was chosen objectively by combining all three statistics, was a repeat of the three leaders. The women did not have as much variety, with one girl sweeping assists, D’s, and MVP, and only missing out on taking goals for herself by two. The last trophy was the for the team with the highest spirit score, a part of the game that often goes overlooked in the US. As games get more competitive, it is common to see the teams that finish with a high placement often are perceived as having low spirit. While the spirit scores adhered to this commonality, with three of the top four at the very bottom of the spirit rankings, it also showed that it is entirely possible to play well, and still have great spirit, as Soulfrisbee took home the spirit trophy, to accompany their third place finish.

Team Record Points For Points Against Point Difference
V 9-0 101 56 +45
BigRed 7-2 87 72 +15
Soulfrisbee 7-2 90 67 +33
Clovers 6-3 84 80 +4
Cadillacs 5-4 86 72 +14
Revolución 4-5 88 84 +4
Sapukay 4-5 82 99 -17
UTA 2-7 63 70 -7
Cimarrón 1-8 68 96 -26
Águilas 0-9 43 109 -66


What conclusions can we draw from this year’s Espríritu Sudaka? The obvious one is that ultimate is in South America to stay, and is continuing to show continued growth and support. The countries below the equator should aspire to the participation levels of Colombia and Venezuela. It is an attainable goal, but should be approached with caution. The ultimate programs in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile should focusing more on gaining local exposure and attracting new players. It is not to say that they shouldn’t try to be competitive, but it should not be the top priority.

Tournaments like Sudaka are not only a good test against unfamiliar opponents, but could provide enough competitiveness to try and focus the domestic leagues more towards teaching and exposure. Instead of playing both spring and fall leagues with club teams, perhaps one of the two could be a draft/hat league, to try and include and teach new players.

Speaking of growth, Uruguay has a considerable number of youth players, not only playing at home, but traveling with the two teams. Even though they are a small program in a small country, having a handful of youth players will give them a strong core of experienced players in the coming years. But more importantly, they can start to propagate the sport to other kids via these players. While it is unlikely that there will be an ultimate revolution to uproot soccer as the most popular sport, it is feasible to get kids interested and have them bring a disc along with them to pick up soccer games, beaches, parks, and schools. The programs in Brazil, Argentina, and Chile should try and generate more youth participation as well, which is something a draft/hat league could accomodate.

Aside from local growth in each of the countries, the tournament itself has some room to grow and change as well. The first being a small suggestion of adding an individual award for spirit, which teams could vote for a male and female player from the opposing teams on the spirit score sheets. It would be a nice recognition for the players that brings the teams together during and after each game. The other point of improvement for Sudaka is participation. Although there has been a steady expansion every year, the tournament could feasibly have sixteen teams, and return to a pool play format. If the same ten teams from this year return, there are more than a handful of others that could work on getting enough players for the trip to Buenos Aires. Some of these teams participated in the past like Córdoba, Moreno, Bahía Blanca and a second Brazilian team, and others would be new additions like growing teams from Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador.

In addition to getting the developing programs to attend, inviting a few experienced teams would be beneficial as well. A Venezuelan team has participated in the past, and shared their style of play with the Cono Sur teams. A Colombian team would be a valuable addition not only as a competitive team, but as a knowledge source on how to grow the game in a soccer-dominated country. It would also mean participation from all of the big South American countries, except Paraguay which remains the only one to not have much going on ultimate-wise.

Ideally, the tournament organizers would like to see a North American team make the expensive trip down, and provide competition, knowledge, and ultimate culture with their continental neighbors. While some of the big names in open and women’s club ultimate have made appearances for the Pan-American Ultimate Club Championships, Latin America Tour, and Torneo Eternal Primavera in Medillín, maybe one of the mixed teams wants to show interest in helping develop ultimate in the region too. Drag’N Thrust, Polar Bears, Wild Card, I’m talking to you. If the elite teams can’t come down, the organizers and players would be more than satisfied with any North American participation, even if it means a hat-style mix of travelers from different parts of the US and Canada who have never played together before. I for one would be delighted to spearhead a team of freelance travelers, because I will certainly be returning next year.

Those seeking for information about the tournament, and about ultimate in South America in general, should visit the following links:

Espíritu Sudakawww.facebook.com/EspirituSudaka

Argentina – www.facebook.com/UltimateArgentina and www.ultimateargentina.com.ar

Brazil – www.facebook.com/frisbeebrasiloficial



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