The Breeze announced today that they have signed Jonathan “Goose” Helton, Bob Liu, and Brett Matzuka from the Chicago Wildfire for the 2016 season along with Seattle native Nate Castine and returning Breeze D-Line Cutter Andrew Allen.
Andrew Allen rejoins the Breeze after leading the 2015 squad with 20 Ds in 12 games. He averaged more than one D every ten points played, one of only two Breeze players who could make that claim and the only regular starter. Allen has plenty of elite ultimate experience, playing with the UNC Wilmington Seamen during his college career followed by club experience with DC mixed team Ambiguous Grey in addition to the Breeze in ’15.
A native of Seattle, Nate Castine played for club team Seattle Sockeye from 2007-2014, winning a USAU Club National Championship in his first season with the team along with several other semifinals and finals appearances before moving to DC and joining Truck Stop for their 2015 quarterfinals-appearance season. His club teams have also earned silver at the WFDF World Championships on three separate occasions. Castine speaks very highly of Breeze Head Coach Alex Ghesquiere, saying “I have played this game for a very long time and I’m excited to play for a coach that likely will be able to teach an old dog new tricks.” Well, we think this sprightly 28-year “old dog” still has quite a few old and new tricks up his sleeve, and we can’t wait to see him take the field for the Breeze this year.
Jonathan Helton joins the Breeze with plenty of professional accolades. For starters, he has been named the league MVP in half of the AUDL’s four seasons to date, earning the honor in 2012 for the Indianapolis AlleyCats and then again for the Chicago Wildfire in 2013. Goose also holds the AUDL single-game record for defensive blocks, and has led his teams to the playoffs in every year of the AUDL’s existence. “This is a really big change for me and one I’m really quite excited about,” Goose said. “Learning from arguably the best coach in the sport, Alex Ghesquiere, is a huge opportunity.”
Bob Liu also comes to DC by way of Chicago. The handler has played for the elite club team Chicago Machine alongside Goose and Brett Matzuka in addition to his time as a key component for the Wildfire. He formed the Big 3 for the Wildfire last season along with new Breeze teammates Goose and Brett where the they swept top three honors in assists, and he also joined Matzuka in the top two for completions. But despite his successes to date, he’s hungry for more. “I am excited to train hard for the DC Breeze,” Liu said.
Brett Matzuka will be a familiar name to Breeze fans. He was a core part of the 2014 team that made the AUDL playoffs when he led the team with 460 completions and finished a close 2nd with 37 assists. He also led the team with 513 touches, a full 172 more than 2nd place that season. In addition to his two professional seasons, Matzuka has played with elite club teams around the country including North Carolina Ring of Fire, Denver Johnny Bravo, and Chicago Machine. After earning All-AUDL 2nd-team honors with the Breeze in 2014, he joined the Chicago Wildfire in 2015 and promptly made the All-AUDL 1st team. “Stepping away from the DC Breeze after our 2014 season was a difficult move as I truly loved what owner Don Grage, coach Alex Ghesquiere, and assistant coaches Paul Peek and Mike Malloy had put together in terms of the organization, team, and community.” Now Matzuka is ready to suit up again for the Breeze, continuing, “I am truly excited to rejoin the DC Breeze and contribute however I can in the future success!” Now if he could only have his favorite #45 back from Wodatch…
The team warmly welcomes these five terrific players as we continue to build a powerful squad for the 2016 AUDL season.