Another interesting roster add-on was unveiled a couple weeks ago, when San Jose announced that Xtian Guerrero (first named pronounced “Christian”) would become the first Filipino player to participate in an AUDL game. One of the top athletes in the Philippines, Guerrero suited up in the Spiders’ loss on Saturday, playing 24 points with one goal and two assists.
“I’m always willing to take chances on players,” said Zill. “I feel like last Saturday’s game was a perfect opportunity to see how he would perform. We had clinched the top seed and we really needed another player in the lineup.”
Guerrero began playing ultimate at the University of the Philippines and joined a club team called “Sunken Pleasure,” a three-time national champ in his Southeast Asian country comprised of more than 7,000 islands in the Western Pacific. Currently working at a Massachusetts summer camp as the “Ropes Director,” he actively pursued an opportunity to compete as part of a top U.S. team. Through a friend who knew the Spiders owner, he reached out to Zill to see if the Spiders would give him a chance. The timing worked out well, although neither San Jose or Guerrero expects the latter to play in any more games this season, a result of the team’s and his own schedule.
When he’s not playing ultimate or working as a counselor or coach, Guerrero is an avid rock climber, and an accomplished one, too. He’s been climbing for 15 years and has competed in the X Games and some of the World Cup Series. A veteran of many high level competitions, he quickly learned that playing in the AUDL with a bunch of brand new teammates would be a tall task.
“I definitely learned a lot in this debut game, “Guerrero said. “I need to develop my listening skills, even though I have them already. I just want to make sure that I’m listening to all instructions that [the leaders had] been telling to the whole team. Another thing is I need to adjust to the way they play. Back home, we have a different style of playing as well. So I have to adjust to the way they like it.”
It was special for him to become teammates with many of the league’s top players, several of whom he knew by reputation but had never met before.
“This was my first time meeting Beau in person,” he said. “I’ve seen in 2013 in Japan during the World Ultimate and Guts Championships, but of course who am I to just approach him and make a conversation with him, right? But now, knowing him just for a couple of hours gives me an idea of how good he is in and outside the field. So yea, it’s a big deal to me to become his teammate, because I know that I can learn from him. Especially on how he handles pressure during crunch time.”
In the coming years, I would bet that more and more international players will express interest in playing in the AUDL. They best of the best will get opportunities, and that will add a new wrinkle to the league.
At the moment, international players are not as common, but rosters continue to fluctuate often, even in the final week of the season.