The DC Breeze has announced the signing of Joe Freund to a contract for the remainder of the 2017 season.
“With the injury to Matt Kerrigan, the coaching staff and I felt it was critical to add another athletic cutter to our squad as we head into our late season playoff push, but we wanted someone who could fit quickly and seamlessly into our system,” announced Don Grage, Breeze Managing Partner. “Joe fits the bill perfectly — he is a proven quantity with great skill and athleticism who already has countless reps with quite a few of the guys on our roster. We’re both excited and fortunate that Joe can join us for the rest of the season.”
At 19 years of age, Freund is one of the brightest young talents in the Washington D.C. area. He led his Yorktown High School team to a Virginia state championship in his senior year, he has two youth club national championships with D.C. Swing Vote, and he was also a part of the 2016 United States U-20 gold medal championship team. Primarily an offensive cutter, Freund’s size and athleticism make him a handler’s favorite target. In addition, his field awareness rivals that of some of his new, more experienced Breeze teammates. When the disc is sent in Freund’s direction, he can be trusted to bring it down cleanly and complete a subsequent throw. Freund has plenty of time to make an impact for the Breeze as he joins the squad this weekend for games 8 and 9 of the 14-game regular season.
“Joining the team late will definitely be an adjustment, but one that I am very ready to make. It’ll mostly be surrounding play calls and strategies, as knowing most of the players well makes the social adjustment much easier” Freund said.
The signing comes directly on the heels of Freund’s college team, Virginia Tech Burn, winning a bid and making a run at DI College Nationals. It was the program’s first ever appearance at Nationals, and the team finished in a tie for 16th place. Only a sophomore, the 6’4″ cutter has quickly made a big impact at the college level and become a leader for Burn.
Developing chemistry with the Breeze will not be much of an issue for Freund. In 2015, the Arlington native made the top local club team, Washington D.C. Truck Stop, joining many of the players currently on the Breeze roster. His familiarity with his teammates and team strategies makes him a good bet to be put quickly into the rotation.
“I’m looking forward to playing with this group of guys again. Specifically, the core group that plays both pro and club together. I took the Truck season off last year, so I haven’t played with them in a while and can’t wait to be with them on the field again. In addition, it’ll be great to be back with [assistant coach] Will Smolinski, and I am incredibly excited to learn from both him and [head coach] Darryl Stanley.”
Officially an AUDL rookie, this is actually Freund’s second season playing professional ultimate. He played for the Washington D.C. Current of the now defunct MLU last season, and was also a practice player for that team in 2015.
With the contract fully processed by the AUDL just before Tuesday night’s deadline, Freund is eligible to play immediately. In fact, he is already listed on the Breeze’s 28-man roster for this upcoming doubleheader weekend. Traveling to the Philadelphia Phoenix on Saturday and hosting the New York Empire on Sunday, it is expected that the rookie will get some significant playing time over the next few days.