UFAii Newsletter: Winter 2024

February 27, 2024

Welcome to the Winter 2024 edition of the UFAii Newsletter, a periodic review of UFAii projects and diversity and inclusion updates from around the league.


I hope your new year has begun with hope, happiness, and health. Last month, the AUDL officially rebranded to the Ultimate Frisbee Association (UFA), a new vision to grow the sport across borders, cultures, and backgrounds. We are very excited to use this platform to share ultimate with youth and new fans around the world. You’re welcome to learn more about this new chapter of our league here.

2024 also brings a new season of exciting ultimate frisbee and special stories from our players and teams. In this edition of the UFA Inclusion Initiative newsletter, we check in with Houston Havoc Head Coach Bex Forth on her storied career on the field and her new venture on the UFA sideline. 

We also take a deeper look into one of the first ultimate programs at a Historically Black College and University (HBCU), and how the UFA has helped grow the team. Finally, we’re thrilled to provide more information on our new Disc Grant program and the league’s goal in providing free frisbees to individuals, teams, and organizations in need, especially youth of color and teams that support players of color.  

Our league’s name and look may have changed, but our mission and values remain the same. The UFA showcases the greatest ultimate frisbee on the planet, but we are also stewards of our sport and ambassadors for continually growing the diversity and inclusion in our game. Thank you for joining us on this ambitious yet highly rewarding journey!

Steve Hall
CEO & Commissioner


On December 1, 2023, the first shipment of UFAii Disc Grant discs was delivered, marking the culmination of a multi-year effort. 

Announced in September 2023, the goal of the UFAii Disc Grant program is to provide free discs to individuals, teams, or organizations in need, especially youth of color and teams that support players of color.  

Among the first to apply was Vivian Scott from Plano, Texas. Scott teaches ultimate frisbee in two co-op classes for junior high and elementary school students, along with hosting youth clinics in the Plano/Dallas area. Her groups needed discs so that they could run drills and have several students throwing together at the same time. She jumped at the opportunity and applied. 

Scott has already seen the impact that the discs have made on the players, saying, “Having these frisbees lets the kids not be afraid to go for the catch. Thanks so much!”

As of the date of this publication, discs have been sent to groups in Minnesota, California, and Pennsylvania, all for youth and mostly at the junior high and high school levels.  

UFAii member and Los Angeles Aviators player Michael Kiyoi spearheaded the UFAii Disc Grant initiative. The idea for the UFA to provide discs to groups in need came to him during an UFAii meeting held during the COVID shutdown. Bringing the idea to life would require months of planning for funding and logistics, getting alignment from key decision-makers, and at certain moments going back to the drawing board.  

“Originally, we thought the program would have three parts: a scholarship, gear, and team grants. After we got a better idea of the funding, we decided that shifting to only discs would be the best way to provide the most value. We were finally able to launch the program this year,” Kiyoi commented. 

Finally, after countless hours of work and dedication, approval was granted for the program. 

“It was a true team effort,” Kiyoi said, “I lead the initiative on ideas, designing and ordering discs, UFA Senior Direct of Product Marketing & Communications Ryan Pierce was instrumental in cleaning up the application and funding process, the website post, league communications and other logistics, Houston Havoc assistant coach AJ Beard assisted with the application, and UFA Director of Youth Engagement & Player Relations Matt Smith provided support overall.” 

Kiyoi also enlisted the expertise of his brother, Daniel Kiyoi, in designing the discs. The Panda discs have been extremely popular among youth players.

When the first shipment of discs for the UFAii Disc Grant arrived at his apartment, he was filled with a great sense of pride. The stacks of boxes were a physical representation of years of work that went into the initiative that he spearheaded. Now, he had to figure out how to get them out. 

“You’d be surprised how much it costs to ship a box of discs,” Kiyoi mentioned. “It’s an added expense that we didn’t originally account for. Fortunately, we have been able to get additional support from the UFAii and the league.” 

Despite the challenges, this experience has been rewarding. “The whole vision is to reach more youth, especially youth of color. When we get pictures back and see and hear how much these discs are appreciated and are being enjoyed and put to use, it’s all worth it,” he said. “I think this will make a huge impact on our community and how we grow the sport!”

Help the UFAii get more discs to more groups in need by sharing this article and spreading the word. Groups can apply for the UFAii Disc grant program directly through the online application here.


You can read a great summation on the founding of the ultimate programs at Morehouse College as well as Saint Augustine’s University (SAU) in a 2022 article by Ultiworld here. They are believed to be the first ultimate programs ever at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU).

In an effort to provide continued coverage, we interviewed SAU’s coach, Brandon Valentine-Parris, as well as Ryan Norris, current captain of the Morehouse team. We asked for updates and any other insights into the programs with a year under their belts. You can view the transcript below.

What events has your team been able to participate in? How have those experiences been for the team?

Ryan Norris (RN): So far the team hasn't competed in any tournaments yet. We've gone out as a team and joined pickup games in the area. We have also had team trips to Atlanta Hustle games, and we have had some UFA players come to a couple of practices. These experiences helped a lot with exposing our team members to high-level ultimate.

Morehouse College's ultimate frisbee team

Brandon Valentine-Parris (BVP): Since the conception of the team, we’ve been working on creating our platform and building that initial interest. We’ve had the privilege of hosting our own exhibition days with collegiate powerhouse, UNC DarkSide. With the aid of Triangle Ultimate and the amazing ultimate frisbee community, we’ve had our student-athletes be a part of various leagues throughout the year. It’s been amazing to see students be drawn to something new and actually take the time to learn and be great at it. These events lead to some of our key players going on to become coaches of various school teams and even running their own programs/training camps.

What events are you planning on participating in 2024? Do you have other specific goals for the program in the upcoming year?

RN: We are currently in the process of planning a 3v3 ultimate tournament for AUC (Atlanta University Center) students which would be the first of its kind and take place this spring. Hopefully, we will be able to make this an annual event hosted by the club to help promote the sport within communities of color. Fall 2024 is our target year to join USAU competition in the DIII division in order to put HBCU ultimate frisbee on the map! We also have some beautiful jerseys designed by Winston Perryman that we would like to get to the team next semester.

BVP: For 2024, we're looking to host at least 3 events at our campus field as we continue to build our program. Once all goes to plan, some collegiate competitions would be on our schedule. We’d also love to host an exhibition with Morehouse as they’re the only other HBCU with an ultimate frisbee team to help push the sport forward in the HBCU community.

About how many people are active members of the team?

RN: Currently we have about 10 active team members

BVP: Due to graduation we currently have a roster of 7. But with recruiting and working along with the school’s student activities board, there’s no doubt that our numbers would increase again.

What interaction, if any, do you have with the local professional ultimate frisbee teams?

RN: The Atlanta Hustle has helped the team with fundraising, as well as providing opportunities for team members to watch hustle games and practices. Some Hustle players have also helped out at some of our practices.

BVP: We have volunteer coaches from the Carolina Flyers and Raleigh Ring of Fire as well as volunteers from various Master teams coaching and mentoring our athletes.

What is the outlook of the team? Do you anticipate growth in the next couple years?

RN: Although we've had a lot of turnover during these first two years, we have a group of core guys and brought in a good amount of underclassmen this year. If things continue this way, and the team can host more events on campus to increase our visibility, there should be consistent growth over the next couple of years.

BVP: As with any new team, the first few years are slow as the program finds its footing. We can confidently say that in a couple of years, Team SAU will have a highly competitive collegiate team.

Saint Augustine's University ultimate frisbee team

Peter Thomas, UFAii member, who has a long history with Morehouse and Morehouse School of Medicine, and is one of the team's coaches, also had this to say about the programs' past and future "Morehouse Ultimate got a slow start because of COVID but I'm really impressed with the skills, drive, of the team members who have shown great commitment to the first HBCU team!  In a very short time, I think this team will be a force.”

To support and contact these programs, you can follow their Instagram accounts linked here:

**I [Ryan Norris] want to take a moment to recognize our club co-president Winston Perryman, who passed away this past summer. Winston meant so much to not only the team but the entire Morehouse community. He really held it down when it came to keeping things organized throughout our first year, and he did so much work reaching out to other teams to see how they operated in order to help set things in place for our own team. Winston designed all of the jerseys and built the relationship with BE whom we are currently working with to get the jerseys produced. He was a light at our practices and meetings and this team truly would not be here without him. The team is doing everything we can to honor him going forward.

Winston Perryman, Morehouse College's uniform designer



Highlighting different perspectives and experiences from players and personnel around the UFA.

This issue's Get To Know piece features Bex Forth, Head Coach of the Houston Havoc, and an ultimate frisbee legend. Bex, the former founder and fearless captain of the EuroStars, has left her mark on the sport internationally. From a successful three-year streak running the first-ever professional women's series to winning three bronze medals in world beach championships on teams that she captained, to playing in Club World Championships several times over, Bex is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to the sport of ultimate frisbee, both as a player and a coach. We were lucky enough to have her share some of her favorite memories and some of her insights from coaching Houston


Bex Forth
Head Coach, Houston Havoc

How did you start playing ultimate frisbee?

I first saw ultimate frisbee at Worlds 1994 in Colchester, UK, by chance. I was looking for a new sport, having spent much of my childhood doing gymnastics. I watched the open final, USA vs Sweden, which was incredible and I talked with players in the crowd. They suggested going to the ultimate frisbee club at Fresher's Fair. When I went to Oxford University that September, I did just that. A few months later, I was invited to the Bliss tryouts for the WUCC 95 team founded by New York players in London. That tournament was incredible. We came in 7th and I was hooked.



What aspects of ultimate frisbee culture do you love the most?

I love the international community/network. You could go almost anywhere in the world and have a group you connect with. 

What would you say is the greatest accomplishment of your ultimate frisbee career so far?

The World Games 2013 in Cali, Colombia, was an epic experience. Playing in front of 23,000 fans specifically there to watch ultimate was incredible, but in terms of accomplishment, I would say all my playing and captaining experiences came together to form the EuroStars Tour. I was thrilled to have three successful years running the first-ever professional women's series. On top of the logistical accomplishment, the 2019 team in particular was probably the best women's team. Being able to bring 16 strangers together to play as one super-strong unit at the highest level in a few days I feel was a wonderful achievement.

What are some of your earliest and/or fondest memories of the sport?

I think WUCC 1995 is one of my fondest memories. Even though the finals field was painted green. Just the scale of it felt fantastic to be a part of.

A few other moments:

  • Worlds 96 Jönköping - the last night party sculpture made out of the Swedish team's bikes that we'd coveted all tournament. Watching the Taiwanese and their entourage in the GUTS final.

  • Worlds 1997 hot tubs at the field!

  • Every Paganello/every Paga Final - the crowd was amazing. The best finals vibes with plenty of non-ultimate fans. I was lucky enough to be in 14 - I couldn't stop going back. The team dressing up as British police and 'arresting' everyone at the party. 

  • GB's biggest comeback at the 2003 Euros semi-final win against Sweden. We were down 13-6 and won 15-14. 

  • Point blocking the main Finnish handler when playing for Clapham in the Champions League semifinal

  • All three bronze medal world beach championships teams I captained 

  • Organizing a GB training weekend in Tenerife 

  • Eating pizza on the first night of the first Eurostars tour in New York 2017 overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge.

  • Coaching the Havoc to their first franchise win

How did you get involved in the UFA?

The UFA (then AUDL) kindly supported Eurostars in its second and third years. I was involved in the early talks about the Houston area as a potential new team and it went from there.

What is your role within your organization and what does that involve? 

I am the Head Coach. Managing and running the team along with the coaching staff. Strategy, subbing, player development, etc.

What have been some of your favorite experiences in the UFA?

  • Our first away game and win. Traveling in the team bus is a great experience. 
  • First time playing in our stadium

  • Opening day crowd was enthusiastically rowdy and over 900!

  • Getting to know the players and their families. They're a great bunch of people.

  • Anytime we're delivering a professional athlete experience to our players.

What does it mean to you to be a woman in the sport of ultimate frisbee?

Whatever my roles are in ultimate frisbee, whether player, captain, coach, or on a board, I want my skills, knowledge, and experience to be judged on merit and not by gender. Give women the benefit of the doubt that they are capable in prominent positions. Opportunities and perceptions are different based on your gender in ultimate frisbee and I hope through my actions I can help push more opportunities and help in any way to readdress perceptions. 

In what ways would you want to see the UFA recognize women within the organization? 

Include more women, place them in positions of responsibility, and highlight women for what they're doing, not just that they are women. Essentially, create more opportunities and fewer perception barriers. Visibility is vital.

What kind of culture do you strive to create for the Houston Havoc as head coach?

A supportive culture of growth. I want players to challenge themselves about the way they think about ultimate frisbee and challenge themselves to grow and utilize their playing weapons. Seeing a bigger picture of how those weapons play into the psychology of your team and your opponent's play level.


One of the primary goals of the UFA is growing ultimate frisbee globally. And a critical part of that is ensuring the UFAii remains committed to diversity and inclusion in our sport. Subscribe to receive the UFAii Newsletter and stay up to date on all the news along the way. 

Have you or your team worked on any diversity and inclusion initiatives within your community? Send details to Matt Smith at matt.smith@watchufa.com, and you could be featured in our newsletter.

The UFAii is a committee that strives to increase racial and cultural diversity and inclusion throughout the sport of ultimate frisbee by providing underserved communities access to an affordable sport whose culture emphasizes healthy living, integrity in athletics, and potential to compete at the junior, collegiate, and professional levels.