The countdown to the AUDL 2018 season is winding down. The Raleigh Flyers are set to host the newly minted Tampa Bay Cannons on opening day to kick off an exciting regular season in the Southern Division. In preparation for game day, here’s everything you need to know about the Raleigh Flyers in 2018.
Old Dogs, New Tricks
A lot has transpired in the South since last August. While the Flyers return most of the key components of the team, there are a couple of new additions to the roster that on paper make the Flyers one of the strongest teams in the South. The two biggest additions to the Flyers’ roster hail from Florida. Mischa Freystaetter and Jakeem Polk are the two (literally) biggest new faces on the Flyers this year. Freystaetter has competed exclusively with Jacksonville until this season and made his mark as Jacksonville’s tallest receiver. His incredible size makes him a tough matchup for any defender and Mischa’s length comes in handy whether skying for a disc or getting his full 6’7” frame horizontal on a bid.
Jakeem on the other hand is a defensive specialist, a fast and explosive athlete with incredible abilities in the air. Jakeem’s AUDL debut was in 2016 with the Charlotte Express before his big season playing with the Jacksonville Cannons in 2017. His breakaway speed compliments an insane vertical. Together Mischa and Jakeem help fill out a veteran roster of local players including 2017 AUDL MVP Jon Nethercutt. Aside from the departure of Nathan Goff and the absence of Tim McAllister who has been taking some time off in Australia following the U24 World Championships, the Flyers retain almost all of their players from 2017. The chemistry and collective experience that the Flyers’ returning cast are bringing to the table this season make them a favorite to claim the top spot in the AUDL South during the regular season.
One of the most exciting changes to look forward to in 2018 is the creation of a the Raleigh Radiance an all women’s professional team that will be competing against the Nashville Nightshade at home on June 16th. The Radiance will be made up of players from the elite women’s college and club programs competing in the triangle including UNC Pleiades, NC State Jaga and Raleigh Phoenix. The development of the Radiance will be something to watch closely as they enter a selection process and finalize their roster in the coming weeks. The Radiance will be competing twice against the Nashville Nightshade away on April 21st and at home on June 16th.
It’s always interesting who makes the cut at tryouts from the numerous college players who compete in North Carolina. The players who made the cut this season hailed from Wilmington, UNC Charlotte and USC. Matt Ellis had a breakout year as a freshman at UNC Wilmington during their finals run in 2017. Likewise Jordan Perry has found his niche alongside Ryan Werkmeister and Jacob Fairfax playing for UNC Charlotte. Johnnie Lynch is finishing up his last year at the University of South Carolina and will having his pro debut this season to follow up on a successful career as South Carolina’s star.
Games To Watch
The AUDL South never disappoints with exciting matchups. This season the Flyers will host seven home games with the potential for more in the postseason. The season for Raleigh certainly kicks off with a bang as they play Tampa Bay and the Dallas roughnecks in quick succession on March 31st and April 7th. The Cannons will look different without Freystaetter and Polk but still retain their top throws with Cole Sullivan and Bobby Ley helming the Cannon’s offense for another season. Dallas will be without the star power that defined them in their back to back years as Southern Division Champs. With Kurt Gibson and Dylan Freechild out of the picture Dallas will be drawing on its own Texas talent instead. They still posses an impressive line of big players including Jay Froude whose downfield skillsets put him in the MVP conversation last season.
Both opening day against Tampa and the Flyer’s away game against Dallas will be televised as part of the AUDL’s 2018 TV deal with Stadium Sports. In May the Flyers will be playing back to back cross divisional away games against DC and Madison, expanding upon last year’s cross coast challenge. These highly anticipated and competitive matchups will test the Flyers on the road and give them a chance to face off against teams that, certainly in the case of Madison, the Flyers could see on championship weekend. The Flyers are offering a unique 2 tickets for $20 deal during their first two season games and with these highly anticipated matchups coming to Stadium TV these games give the community the perfect chance to fill the stands in Raleigh. Definitely check out the AUDL’s Game of the Week Breakdown to prepare for all the action this season.
Flyers games always have plenty to offer on game day. In 2018 the Flyers will be hosting clinics with Early Recognition Is Critical. E.R.I.C. will be coming to town on April 7th to help run pregame clinics that combine youth cancer education with the sport of ultimate frisbee.
As well as hosting events at home the Flyers have a new postgame venue. Clouds Brewing on Front St. in Raleigh serves excellent craft beer at three locations in the Triangle. Local ultimate player Sean Stasiak has been very successful building a great local micro-brew only a mile from downtown Raleigh. Clouds will be hosting the Flyers postgame festivities as well as viewing parties for diehard fans looking to catch all the Flyers games this season.
Triangle Pickup Mixup will have fields for pickup teams in the surrounding Traingle area combined teams for a 4 team tournament. High Schoolers come out to cap off your season with a fun get together game mixing in with friends. Use Promo Code Beach for discounted tickets. Yeah, it’s a Beach theme so wear your bro tank, shades and sunscreen. Lots of sunscreen.
To grab tickets for the Flyers games this season head on over to http://raleigh-flyers.com/tickets-fan-packages/ and be sure to take advantage of our 2 for $20 for the first two home games against Tampa and Dallas!