by Alexis Abelove
The Chicago Union is pleased to announce the return of head coach Dave Woods for the upcoming 2021 season. Although the team has a new name and a new look, Woods will continue to rely on a core of familiar players and focus on bringing new talent into the mix.
Woods enters the 2021 season with a coaching record of 7-6. The 2019 season finished when the Wildfire fell short in the first round of playoffs against the Pittsburgh Thunderbirds. The team looked to redeem themselves in the 2020 season but were unable to compete due to the COVID-19 season cancelation.
Coach Woods stressed that he will continue relying on his returning captains for input in the upcoming season. “I’ve been very pleased with the mix of personalities that the captains have brought to the team leadership, and this year is no exception,” Woods said. “They all want to win. I am confident that the three of them will unite the team towards our common goals, and as a result, I expect that we will also see great things from each of them on the field.”
Despite a canceled 2020 season, Woods took this opportunity to reflect on the overall impact of the league and his ability to be a force for good. “COVID shutting down the 2020 season allowed for a prolonged offseason. It allowed me to get involved in other areas of the league and take time to consider various aspects of team culture when we normally would have been planning our games week to week.” Woods is a member of the AUDL Inclusion Initiative where he serves as Editor of the Aii Newsletter, a quarterly review of Aii projects and diversity and inclusion updates from around the league.
Coach Woods believes the rebranding of the team came at the perfect time. “This is a new team. The Wildfire is no more; we are the Chicago Union. We are going to be playing a more unified style of ultimate and we plan to represent our city by giving the season everything we have and with the utmost integrity. We plan to make our fans proud to call the Union their team.”
The team is hosting closed, invite-only tryouts in the upcoming month. The AUDL season will run in a modified summer-fall schedule due to COVID-19 delays, with postseason playoffs and a championship weekend to follow.
The official Chicago Union schedule for the 2021 season has not been finalized yet. Union Season Tickets can be purchased through the team’s website, and individual game tickets will be added once the home game schedule is announced in late March.