Ultimate Frisbee Leagues

Learn about professional ultimate frisbee, local ultimate frisbee leagues, and how to find a league or team near you.

How to Find an Ultimate Frisbee League Near You

If you Google "ultimate frisbee near me" you'll likely find something. But you might find more than one result, so I want to give you some insider knowledge to help you know what you are looking at.

Almost every major city in the United States will have an organization specifically devoted to ultimate frisbee. Also many municipalities might run their own ultimate frisbee leagues as part of their various sports offerings.

For example, if you google "Ultimate in Chicago" you might come up with Ultimate Chicago and a page from Chicago MSA. Both of them offer frisbee leagues. But the first one is fun by frisbee players, and the second is run by an organization that runs various sports leagues (specifically with a focus on LGBTQ+ athletes in this case)

If you are pretty serious about learning to play ultimate frisbee, then I recommend you look for leagues run by your local ultimate frisbee organization and not by a local municipal organization. In a league run by your local ultimate organization, you're much more likely to play by and learn the standard rules. You'll also likely learn some basic strategy.

In general, the ultimate frisbee community tries to be a welcoming place. So even if you have never played before, folks will want to help you.

However, if all you want is to run around, have a good time, and not get too competitive, then a municipal run league might be a better fit for you.

Another example in a smaller city "ultimate frisbee in Lancaster PA" give me a lot of links. The top result for me is a page from Spooky Nook sports about the ultimate frisbee leagues they run in their facility. These leagues are fine. And I know several players who play in those leagues.

But if you are looking for a gateway into the ultimate "scene" you'd want to play in leagues that are run by Central PA Ultimate. And this is about the 6th result I get.

 If you want to find current information on the ultimate specific organizations in your area, you can check your search results against the USA Ultimate directory. Here is the list of ultimate frisbee organizations in Pennsylvania and you can see Central PA Ultimate is listed there along with 10 other ultimate organizations in various cities and regions throughout Pennsylvania.

If you are outside of the United States, searching on Facebook or Instagram will often get you more up to date results than searching on the internet. Alternatively you can try the WFDF country directory page. You will usually get someone who can point you in the right direction.

Outside of the US or Canada, you might be more likely to find a Club to play and practice with rather than a league.

Professional Ultimate Frisbee Leagues

The longest running professional ultimate frisbee leagues are based in the United States. Tryouts for teams in these leagues can be as early as January. The pro seasons tend to run from March through July.

Premier Ultimate League (PUL)

The Premier Ultimate League is a US league for women and nonbinary athletes. There are 12 ultimate frisbee teams in the league and they are based in the middle and eastern part of the US. The PUL was founded in 2019.

The mission of the PUL is "To achieve equity in the sport of ultimate by increasing accessibility to the sport for and visibility of women, transgender, intersex, non-binary, genderqueer, and genderfluid people through high-quality competition, leadership experiences, and community partnerships."

Western Ultimate League (WUL)

The Western Ultimate League consists of 7 teams in the Northwest and Southwest part of the United States. The WUL is a league for women and nonbinary athletes.

American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL)

The American Ultimate Disc League includes 24 teams in various cities in the US and Canada. The AUDL is primarily a men's league though folks of any gender can go to tryouts. The AUDL was founded in 2012 with the mission to "increase the visibility of one of North America’s fastest growing sports by creating fun, family friendly events that showcase the sport being played at its highest level."

There are several things that are different about playing in the AUDL versus playing on a regular club team. The field size of an AUDL game is different than the field size in a regulation ultimate frisbee game.

In the AUDL, the field size was created to fit on a standard US Football field. So the field is much wider (53.3 yards vs 40 yards) and also a bit longer (80 yards vs 70 yards) than a standard ultimate frisbee field size of 40 yards wide by 70 yards long (plus 20 yard endzones).

Strategically the wider field width makes offense a lot easier. The rule change that is most different between AUDL ultimate and standard ultimate is that in the AUDL you can double team the person with the frisbee. Basically, you can have two people trying to make the throw more difficult. In standard ultimate frisbee, only one person can be marking the thrower at a time.


How Much do Professional Ultimate Frisbee Players Make?

This is a commonly asked question. The real answer may be a bit disappointing to some of you. Because if you google this answer, a source from Zip Recruiter or other general salary aggregators may be your top answer and it is really misleading. The top google results may lead you to believe that the average ultimate frisbee players earns between 50,000-$104,000 USD per year. This is simply not true.

The truth is that here are almost zero ultimate frisbee players who make a living only from playing ultimate frisbee. A typical ultimate frisbee salary is likely closer to $300-$700 per season. There have been some AUDL team owners who have created "jobs" for a few male ultimate players so that they can train full time. But according to this model, there are far more players in Japan with this type of arrangement than there are players in the US with this arrangement. Many players in Japan train full time while working for a company that also sponsors a club ultimate frisbee team.

It would be more accurate to describe all of the above leagues as semi-professional leagues. The benefit of playing in a professional league is that at the very least, you do not have to pay to play. On a club team you pay for your uniform, your transportation to tournaments, lodging expenses, and tournament expenses. In the "pro" leagues these costs are covered for the athletes. This increases accessibility for many ultimate players because a club season of ultimate can easily cost $3000-$5000 in travel and tournament expenses. 

Several international players have also been brought into the pro leagues (most commonly in the PUL) and have had their travel expenses covered. I have not yet heard of a pro league team helping players to acquire US visas if they didn't already have one. But it could be possible that this could happen.

So how much do players get paid? No one knows exactly. Based on random conversations I've had with athletes in various leagues and teams, it is likely that the majority of professional ultimate frisbee players get paid less than $100 USD per game if they get paid at all. There may be several players in the AUDL who get paid several thousands of dollars (Khalif El-Salaam signed with the Atlanta Hustle for $3400 in 2022 for example), but this is likely less than 20 players overall who get paid a significant amount and even these players are highly likely to have a different job as a primary source of income.

There is nothing unusual about this considering the age of these professional leagues. This is not an indictment of these leagues nor a judgment of their eventual financial success. I felt compelled to answer this questions as honestly as I can because the perception of the pro leagues outside of the US seems to be much different than the reality.

If you dream of coming to the US to play professional ultimate, that is great! You should do it for the experience and you would be more than welcome to tryout. Teams and players are likely to help you find a place to stay during the season. However, the current state of the pro leagues is that you may not get help acquiring a visa and you may not get paid enough to cover your living expenses while inside the US.

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