Toronto GOAT used to always be Canada’s #2 team behind the dynasty that is Furious George; however, the Herd achieved the first spot in Canada when they dethroned Furious. After almost two decades of going undefeated at Canadian Ultimate Championships, GOAT finally handed Furious their first loss.
Since then, GOAT has been regarded as a top elite team and as the 6th seed at WUCC this year, they are expected to perform. To learn more about how GOAT strives to continue their rise to the top, we interviewed Jacky Hau, a core member of the team and ‘Best Teammate’ in 2017 as voted by his peers.
The team does quite well in the pro leagues but seems to falter in the USAU league. Why is that?
Throughout the course of the year with the pro league and club season, the team is playing a lot of ultimate, including games, practices, training sessions and travelling. I feel like when it comes down to the club season, we’ve already played out a pro season and the team is more fatigued and burnt out from the 5 months previous of competitive ultimate. We do have a different roster between the pro and club team, which means we need to gel with a different group of players in a short period of time.
Transitioning to a smaller field is another challenge we face. The sharper cuts, throws and spacing required in the club scene are more crucial to winning a game; we expect that to cause a few more turnovers than it should. What we need to remember is that club games are shorter and going down at the start can mean losing a game; that’s what killed us last year. This year, we have changed that drastically by starting every game with 2-3 breaks which gives us a boost in the game early and gives us the energy and momentum to keep pushing. I think if we continue getting early breaks, we will be more successful.
What’s the team dynamic like? The age range is all over the place. Do people get along?
The team dynamic is great on and off the field. As much as we see each other throughout the year, it seems like we never get sick of it. Off the field, we enjoy hanging out with each other and spending time together, whether it means grabbing a bite to eat or going to the island to play some disc golf. We love to joke around and put all the ultimate behind us. However, we are able to transfer the fun we have off-field to our on-field play. With such a vast difference in ages of players on the team, you’d expect it to be hard to all focus, but we all have this switch that puts us on the same level of competitiveness. We all know when to flip the switch from having fun to being competitive and staying focused.
How do you think the team will do at WUCC? What’s the overarching goal?
I think the team will do well at worlds. This is the first time GOAT will compete at WUCC and I feel like it’s a great moment to be a part of. GOAT is a legacy that has been building for a long time now and to be part of this moment is something I will remember for the rest of my life.
Every practice, game and tournament I compete in, I always want to win, and I think that’s the same goal for everyone on GOAT. Our #1 goal is to win, but it is also a learning experience for most of us. With a younger group of players on this team, not everyone has had the chance to compete at a Worlds event. This will help the younger players develop the experience and skills moving forward. Some people may think “Oh we’re just going to another tournament to play more ultimate”, but I think this is going to be a team bonding tournament as well. We will have fun but will remain competitive while on the field.
Anything else you want to add? Now’s the time.
I just want to say playing on this team for the past 3 years is one of the key moments in my life. I never would have seen myself doing this in my lifetime and the fact that I stuck with it for this long means something. This group of guys that I’ve shared these moments with have become my family. We’ve been through some tough times and lots of happy times and I’m glad to be part of this team. It’s only been 3 years, but seeing this team develop and improve since I started playing is awesome; I can’t wait to see what the future holds.
I look forward to every game we play and every moment we spend together on and off the field. This legacy is what I want to be part of for a long time and I’m glad to be doing it with this group of guys.
I want to be able to look back at all the great memories I had with this team and I will cherish those moments for the rest of my life.
VC will be following GOAT's progress at WUCC 2018 next week - follow VC on Instagram to keep up with all of the action!
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