Photo by Scott Roeder – UltiPhotos.com
Community of competition. Given just three words, that’s how Andrew “Drew” Kim would describe Ultimate.
His disc career didn’t progress down a predictable path, however. Instead it started, stalled, and started again through some fortuitous times spent abroad.
Drew was a rower in college. He was familiar with Ultimate, but didn’t start playing until he studied abroad at the University of Sydney during his junior year. He planned to play when he returned to school, but a meniscus tear sidelined those plans. He picked the sport up again when he moved to Korea for a year after college, and described the Ultimate scene in Asia as “small and tight-knit. The Ultimate experience was very much about enjoying time with each other.”
When he came back to the U.S. in 2007, Drew jumped into the Bay Area Ultimate club scene, playing on the mixed teams CTR, Funk, and Mischief, and most recently the open team Boost Mobile. The buzz about the next level of Ultimate was mostly in the background as Drew focused on his own play and Boost Mobile’s drive to Nationals.
“When I first heard about the MLU expanding to San Francisco I was pretty excited. I knew it would happen eventually, but didn’t think there would be professional Ultimate during my time as a player.”
Still, Drew wasn’t sure at first about trying out for the Dogfish. With an already long club season, the extra commitment raised questions. But then he heard Justin Safdie had been chosen as head coach. Safdie was coaching Mischief when Drew played on the team, so that news was a big draw. As for the combines, Drew said, “There were so many great players. I really enjoyed the experience.”
Drew is an adaptable player who goes where the team needs him most. “On offense I understand and read the flow of the game well,” says Kim. “I’m good at opening up space for other players and anticipating when space will open up for me. On defense I utilize my body for positioning.”
He loves competition, but the Spirit of the Game and sense of community that he felt in those early Ultimate days are just as important to Drew: “What’s really appealing about Ultimate is that you can play balls to the wall, and at the end of the day you’re shaking hands and drinking a beer. That doesn’t exist in most other sports. And with Ultimate, you can go anywhere in the country and there’s a community for you. That’s pretty amazing.”