$7 Off Season Tickets with the Code : Futures7
With the #HustleFutures game behind us let's look ahead to see how the Hustle season sets up on paper.
Schedule Snap Shot
The Hustle play 14 games in 17 weeks with 4 bye weekends. We have 1 Friday night, 4 Saturday night, and 2 Sunday day games at home.
We have two double header road trips to Texas this year. We go to Jax and Nash once while both teams come to ATL twice. We have a home & away series with Raleigh.
Tough test in week 1
There is no easing into this season. To open the regular season the Hustle travel to Raleigh to face a retooled Flyers team. The Flyers have added the Charlotte Express's best players (many who usually play on the club team Ring of Fire) while also adding 2-time AUDL MVP Goose Helton and crafty veteran handler Brett Matzuka. Helton and Matzuka have played together often, including several season with Chicago based teams the Wildfire and Machine.
It's clear that Raleigh's management felt they needed to add more top talent to close the gap with an undefeated Dallas Roughnecks team that won last year's championship. Atlanta handed Raleigh a biting home playoff loss which showed how tight the division was last season. These additions are an attempt to try to separate themselves from the pack, but on field chemistry is tough to predict.
We'll all get a chance to see if what's on paper translates to the field Saturday at 630pm at Wakemed Soccer park. Wakemed is the site of Raleigh and Atlanta's first ever AUDL game in which they opened the 2015 season on ESPN3. Atlanta and Raleigh have always matched up well making for many close games.
Week 2 Bye then Easter in Nashville
The Hustle have a practice weekend April 8th and 9th. They then take their show up to Nashville to face the NightWatch on Easter weekend.
The NightWatch recently released their roster that includes many familiar names as well as several Bama Secs Select players. The biggest headline though goes to the addition of Jesse Shofner, the first woman to be signed to an AUDL roster. The Raleigh Flyers previously signed Raleigh Phoenix player Jessie Jones to a one game contract. Shofner, however, is expected to be a contributor for the Nashville offense all year.
This game will be the first chance for new Hustle addition Paul Lally to play against his former team.
Three game home stand
The Hustle then return to Atlanta for a home stand of 3 games in 4 weeks.
We open at home against the Jacksonville Cannons on April 22nd. The series between these two teams has decided the final playoff spot each of the first two years of the South division. The Cannons have also entered the South Division arms race. They have brought in a number of players that fit their brand of ultimate. The Cannons value big, physical players who can win in the air. They've added the big arm of social media personality Brodie Smith, explosive receiver/defender Jakeem Polk from Charlotte, Chris LaRoque returns after a year in Raleigh, and Jeremey Langdon from Dallas. Their core of Freystaetter, Sullivan, Catron, Poulos and Hickson remains intact.
4/30 Hustle Host AUDL Game of the Week
The following week we host the defending division and league champ Dallas Roughnecks on April 30th for the AUDL Game of the Week national broadcast. Atlanta fell to Dallas in the South championship game last year. The champs again have a loaded roster but there are some key shifts at the top. Beau Kittredge and Cassidy Rasmussen have returned home to the bay area. They do return Jimmy Mickle, Dylan Freechild, and Kurt Gibson. All three were selected to the USAU World Games roster putting them in the conversation for best male player in the world. Gibson was recently replaced on the USAU roster due to an injury that will sideline him until June. That will affect 2 of the 3 games in which the Hustle and Dallas face off. It is unclear if the World Games team schedule will affect the availability of the others further. The league learned last year that Dallas doesn't just have a supporting cast. They have many excellent players who just were not well known before. They are the favorite for the division title again. One key addition to note is Jay Froude from the Madison Radicals. The Hustle will be ready. We gave the Roughnecks their biggest test last year.
After a week off (College regionals) we wrap up our home stand on May 13th versus the Nashville NightWatch. Holding serve against a gritty Nashville squad who beat us at home in OT last year is going to be important for the Hustle in 2017.
1st of two trips to Texas
Now that the South has 6 teams, one of the eastern teams (Nash, Atl, Jax, and Ral) has to travel for two road trips to Texas each year. Atlanta is up this year. We head to play Dallas and then Austin on May 20th and 21st
Memorial Day Showdown vs Jax at Lakewood Stadium
We ended the regular season last year with a controversial battle against the Cannons at Lakewood stadium. In a win-to-get-into-the-playoffs situation the Hustle community rallied to give us a huge and rowdy crowd. That support propelled Atlanta to a critical victory clinching the final playoff spot and igniting our end of season run.
This is expected to be our last game before the AUDL roster freeze. Atlanta could potentially add some college talent at this time as college nationals is also on Memorial weekend.
Two big home games - Austin and Raleigh
On Sunday June 4th we host the Austin Sol at home. The last time they were here we played a 2OT sudden death thriller. Many people think that the games this year between Austin and Atlanta will go a long way to determining the South division playoff teams. Both rosters are well rounded and both teams play well together in their system. We match up well against each other too. Both of our games last year needed overtime to determine a winner. The Hustle took the 2nd meeting, in Austin, by a 2PT margin to claim the tiebreaker over Austin that eventually punched Atlanta's ticket to the playoffs. Austin definitely feels like they deserved to be there over us.
Saturday June 17th (Spin's ATL Classic weekend) Atlanta hosts the Raleigh Flyers. This sets up well to be a late season game that will have a big impact on the playoff picture.
Jacksonville is a tough place to play
In between the Austin and Raleigh games Atlanta travels to Jacksonville on June 10th. We have always found Jacksonville a tough place to play. Despite some historic scheduling challenges in those games, it really is that Jax plays their best at home where they struggle to find the same success on the road. It is often hot and humid and the stadium atmosphere can lull road teams. Nevertheless, the Hustle are circling this game on their calendars, looking to break the pattern. It will be a crucial opportunity against a team we expect to be wrestling with for a playoff berth.
Late Season Road Trip to Texas
In what is sure to be a hot Texas weekend, Atlanta travels to Austin and then Dallas on June 24th and 25th. It may play out that the game versus Austin is more important to our standings. If so, it is better that we get them first while we are rested. Will Kurt Gibson be back for the Sunday game?
Friday Night Lights for the Regular season Finale
After a two week break the Hustle will close their home schedule and the regular season on a late Friday night game (8p) versus the Nashville NightWatch. Coincidentally that Sunday is the season premiere of Game of Thrones on HBO. Atlanta has always been a special place to host night games. The view of the skyline from Grady stadium is beautiful and the city is buzzing with activity as the weekend starts to kick into gear. You won't want to miss that one.