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Iowan and Can Play Co-Founder Dylan DeClerck Selected for Team USA

Dylan DeClerck Ultimate Frisbee

Dylan DeClerck, a local Urbandale resident and West Des Moines nonprofit leader, joins 71 other athletes to represent the U.S. this summer during the 2024 WFDF World Ultimate Championships (WUC) in Australia. DeClerck, who started playing here in Iowa during high school has been playing since 2012 and was selected as one of 100 men and 100 women ultimate frisbee players for a two-day tryout process, with half of the athletes going to the west coast, half to the east coast. Those tryouts, which consisted of eight hours of the highest level of play, included stretching, warmups, drills, men’s and women’s play and mixed gender play.

It was a few weeks later that the east and west coast athlete groups were whittled down to the final 36 of each gender, and what DeClerck qualified for — the mixed gender team of 12 men and 12 women. Making the team was a dream he’d been working towards for years, and thanks to the culture at Can Play, a nonprofit in Greater Des Moines (DSM) providing free and low-cost recreational programs, where work-life balance allows employees to do great things outside of work, too, missing a few weeks for the tournament is an opportunity for him to pursue his passions. While in Australia, DeClerck plans to snorkel at the Great Barrier Reef, visit the Sydney Opera House and do the Harbour Bridge climb.

Dylan DeClerck

Pro Ultimate Frisbee

Along with playing internationally for Team USA, DeClerck plays professionally for the Minnesota Wind Chill, an Ultimate Frisbee Association (UFA) team he’s played for over the course of eight seasons. While playing for Team USA means he’s finding his own sponsors and support — it’s similar to the Olympics in that way — playing for the Wind Chill means he gets compensated enough to cover his travel, jerseys, etc. And while there isn’t yet a professional team in the DSM area, DeClerck looks forward to when there finally will be, and he plans to get to play on it eventually.

Dylan DeClerck Frisbee 

Ultimate Frisbee in Greater Des Moines

What DeClerck is ultimately excited about is bringing ultimate frisbee more recognition, both in Iowa and around the region. A lot of people don’t even know it’s a sport so gaining some press through making the team is an exciting development, especially because ultimate frisbee is for athletes of all ages. Both youth and adult athletes interested in playing the sport can get involved. College-level teams are the most well-known opportunities. If you attend Drake, Iowa State University or one of the other colleges in Iowa, it’s easy to become involved and get introduced to the sport. Competitive club teams play mostly during the summer, but there are recreational opportunities throughout the year along with pickup play. There are also summer camps for the younger ages to attend throughout the summer, including camps at Can Play for elementary-aged athletes and with Central Iowa Ultimate.

Ultimate Frisbee 

Leadup to the WFDF World Ultimate Championships

This summer, DeClerck will hold a Team USA celebration and send off with sponsor Community Choice Credit Union at their location across from the John & Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park in Downtown Des Moines (DSM). This event will include activities for the community, celebrate DeClerck’s accomplishment, wish him luck and let him thank those supporting his journey.

DeClerck has sponsor support from local organizations Conference Event Management, Delta Dental of Iowa, Merchants Bonding Company and Rock Valley Physical Therapy. These sponsorships help with training, travel and housing expenses throughout the year. To learn more about Dylan’s journey and how you can be involved, send him an email at dylandeclerck54@gmail.com.

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