In December, the San Jose Spiders began announcing their first group of signings for the 2017 season (and beyond). Steven Chang and Matthew Crawford signed with the team through the 2018 season, while Brandon Fein signed for three seasons. David Abram, Jon Greenberg, and Jeremy Kharrazi each signed one-year contracts. This is also an exciting year for the team, as they are transitioning to new leadership and approaching the season with the goal of returning to the top of the league as an even more cohesive and committed team.
The Spiders will also have to recover from the loss of leading goal scorer Sean Ham who moved to San Diego and signed with the Growlers earlier this month. “It’s going to be really tough to replace Sean,” said Spiders’ general manager Andrew Zill. “He’s been a mainstay of the Spiders offense two years in a row. I know the fans will miss him and so will our offensive line. But I’m confident we will find the right people who can step up and fill his role.”
Also missing from the Spiders will be former player coach Kevin Smith who has deep roots with the San Diego Ultimate scene and also signed with the Growlers. Zill expressed immense gratitude for his coaching abilities and his time spent with the Spiders, saying “Kevin has been a tremendous part of the Spiders success for the last three years. He’s got a special talent for getting the most out of the players on the team.” When asked what he is looking for in a potential coaching replacement, he explained that “we are looking for someone who will be a strong leader who can demand a lot from the players and can push the team more than they’ve been pushed before in the AUDL. We also like the idea of finding someone who has experience in the pro game and ideally some previous affiliation with the Spiders organization.” The team expects to make an announcement about Kevin’s coaching replacement before the January 14th tryout.
Steven Chang will wear jersey #30 and reprise his role as a key handler for the team. He has four years of experience in the AUDL and this will be his third year with the Spiders. His first year with the Spiders was 2014, when the team first won the AUDL Championship. After moving to Los Angeles in 2015, he returned to San Jose for the 2016 season and he has committed to playing there for the next three seasons. Chang is one of the Spiders’ most consistent handlers, with a 95.7% lifetime completion rate and 19 assists in the 2016 season alone.
Matthew Crawford will wear jersey #5 and will be cutting for the Spiders. His first season with the team was as a defensive specialist in 2015, when they won their second AUDL Championship. Crawford transitioned to a hybrid player in 2016 and had the fifth-highest contribution to the team that season with a +28 overall. After posting a 95% completion rate and throwing 18 assists and over 100 completions last year, the team is excited to see what Crawford can bring to the field in 2017.
Brandon Fein will wear jersey #8 and will be cutting for the Spiders as well. This is his third year in the AUDL and he has committed to the team for another three – through the 2019 season. Fein, also known as “Springs,” ended the 2016 season with a +36 overall contribution (the third highest on the team) and has played a remarkable 36 games since he first joined the AUDL. He posted a 97% completion percentage last season, along with 10 blocks and 21 goals.
Jon Greenberg will wear jersey #11 and is returning for his second season handling with the Spiders. In 10 games last season as a defensive handler, he threw 19 assists and 136 completions, and earned five blocks for the team with only 1 drop on the season. He has one of the biggest forehand hucks in the game.
David Abram and Jeremy Kharrazi are new additions to the team’s active roster. Both will be playing as defensive handlers this season. David is a long time veteran and started his pro career with the San Francisco Dogfish in 2013 going all the way to the MLU championship game. He is a product of the University of Illinois College Ultimate program and played one season with Stanford where he completed his graduate studies. He was on the Spiders’ roster in 2016 but was mostly sidelined with an ankle injury.
Jeremy is a Bay Area native who grew up in Alameda and got his start playing Ultimate at his high school ACLC, ending up winning states and playing in 3 Westerns in a row. He played his college Ultimate at Vanderbilt University in Nashville TN before moving back to the Bay.
The Spiders’ have been busy adding more players to their roster. Look for more announcements to come in a few more days.