CHICAGO – A common theme around professional teams in the “Windy City” has been to build themselves into a champion.
It usually comes when a group is struggling to find consistency or simply cannot compete to be among the best in the league. Usually some new players enter the franchise with a new attitude and focus which takes a few years to develop but eventually leads to success.
That is the case for Chicago’s franchise in the American Ultimate Disc League.
After suffering through three losing seasons from 2016-2018, the Chicago Union adopted a new way of thinking to not only build a team but also get the attention of prospective players and fans. They even changed their franchise nickname from the Wildfire during the last three years, but it was their mantra that was most important.
“We have three fundamental building blocks of our team. It’s the ‘Three C’s’: Communication, competition, and community,” said five-year team member Pawel Janas, and they’ve been able to follow them to success.
The team improved from 5-9 to 7-5 in 2019 but saw a big jump after the 2020 season was lost to the COVID-19 pandemic. The team went 10-2, won their first division championship, and made it to the AUDL semifinals where they narrowly lost to eventual champion Raleigh by a point in overtime.
Already the team is 2-0 on the young season with hopes of taking their building a step further during the 2022 season. Their revamped culture, based on the “Three C’s” the team established, has aided them in finding new players to bolster the roster, giving them the shot to make a run at an AUDL championship.
“It’s like a big domino effect that allows us to hopefully keep winning and keep building that competitiveness that we want because that’s what truly drives success and intensity,” said Union player Ross Barker of the team’s success. “So if we can keep doing that, we hope that players keep coming.”
Larry Hawley featured the Union on WGN News Now, and you can watch that story in the video above.