Photo by Craig Becker
The Seattle Rainmakers signed six players at an intimate signing event on Thursday, Feburary 13 to jumpstart their roster for the 2014 MLU season.
General Manager Rusty Brown welcomed back four returners, Ben Beehner (John Carroll University/Cleveland, Ohio), Danny Trytiak (Ballard High School/Seattle, Wash.), Bryson Uhrig-Fox (Reed College, University of Washington/Seattle, Wash.), and Matty Zemel (University of Colorado/Denver, Colo.); one former Portland Stag, Khalif El-Salaam (University of Washington/Seattle, Wash.); and one new face, Eddie Feeley (Seattle University/Seattle, Wash.), to the team and to the league.
Rather than risk a media circus by holding the signing at a larger location, Brown elected instead to host the players at his domicile, a comfortable and intimate setting where media was free to mix with the players.
The men of the hour arrived sporting bowties and big smiles and were seated one by one at a signing table where they reviewed their contracts and sealed the deal with a hearty handshake with Brown.
The five players (Zemel was unable to attend in person but took questions offline) were then arranged into a panel and the media were let loose with one warning: Brown expressly limited the time for questions so that the team could get prepare for the combine.
Offensive cutter Ben Beehner looks forward to making a bigger impact on the field now that he has an MLU season of experience.
“I think I was able to tailor my workouts in the offseason towards the unique play of the larger field,” said Beehner. “The thing that I’m really looking forward to this year is just the energy brought by everybody in the organization. Working with the Rainmakers, there are so many people who are so excited about the organization who are working so hard for that final product. It’s so fun to be a part of that, and to see both the crowd and everyone involved being excited.”
The Rainmakers’ newest member to the MLU, Eddie Feeley has played for Seattle Sockeye and coaches youth Ultimate in DiscNW.
“I missed playing competitive Ultimate,” said Feeley. “The Rainmakers and the MLU give me the opportunity to get back into competitive Ultimate without having to worry about the other stuff that comes with the club teams, the financial commitment, the time commitment, the other types of things that go into club teams. MLU gives me that and a high level of play.”
Second-year Rainmaker Bryson Uhrig-Fox will resume his role as an offensive handler for the Rainmakers.
“I’m really excited to play in front of a crowd again,” said Uhrig-Fox. “Home crowd, away crowd, any time you make a big play, even if you don’t get it, if you lay out huge you hear a thousand people go ‘oooh!’ at the same time. And that’s awesome.”
Last season, defensive handler Matty Zemel was fourth on the team with 13 passes defensed and added 13 points (5 G, 8 A).
“It’s an opportunity to be a part of the progressing culture that is Ultimate,” said Zemel. “I am proud to tell my family and friends outside of the Ultimate world about the league and the community I’m a part of. I like the professional approach the MLU takes and want to bolster it myself. Look for me to show up to the locker room dressed in shirt and tie and ready to play.”
With only a few hours to go until the combine, the six players were eager to stretch their legs and see what the weekend would bring.
“Seattle has a lot of talent, so it’s interesting to see who is going to come out of the woodwork,” said one of the Rainmakers’ leading scorers (16 G, 12 A), defensive cutter Danny Trytiak. “I think there are some people who we won’t even know they’re trying out until they come out and try out, which I’m really excited for.”
These six players will be playing their hardest at the combine, but they will also be helping coaches and staff to scout new tryouts.
“I’ll be looking for good decisions and nerves of steel,” said Beehner. “Being clutch in front of a big audience is really important. You cannot throw it away in this league.”
“I will be really excited to see players exhibit field awareness and throwing selection,” said Uhrig-Fox. “Being able to effectively use the field and to also effectively throw on the field given that it’s a little bit larger I think is going to be really important.”
The Rainmakers first new player from another MLU team, Khalif El-Salaam has plenty of MLU experience to share with the new tryouts.
“The way I play, the point will be over when you catch a goal,” he said. “So if no one else wants to run into the endzone, then I will do it. I want someone who will say, ‘Oh, Khalif wants the point to be over, okay, let me just deliver him the disc. Let me throw it flat out to space where he can either chest catch it or lay out and fan himself’ [laughs]. If anything, hucking the disc and being loud are two of the things that I just really enjoy from a teammate.”[SlideDeck2 id=1360]
After the final question, Brown and the newly minted Rainmakers immediately got to business as media saw themselves out the door. Individual profiles are soon to come, and best of luck to everyone who attended the combine this weekend.