Photo by Paul Andris – UltiPhotos.com
Philadelphia Spinner Billy Sickles Voted 2015 Eastern Conference Rookie of the Year.
Billy Sickles powered the Spinners’ offense, putting up 42 points with 15 goals and 27 assists this season.
Sickles led the Spinners in assists and finished with the fifth highest number of assists in the entire MLU. He led all rookies in scoring, tying with D.C. veteran Alan Kolick. Sickles also matched Boston MVP Jeff Graham for total points.
“It’s truly an honor to be selected for the award,” Sickles said. “The support I’ve had this season has been incredible from my family, friends and teammates and I can’t thank them enough for pushing me to get better.”
The Rookie made an impressive professional debut, scoring two goals and three assists in the April 18 game against the Boston Whitecaps. Sickles scored the first Spinners’ point of the season, showing he was ready for an exciting year.
“The season opener versus Boston was the best atmosphere I’ve ever played in,” Sickles said. “I must have had close to 50 people at the game cheering me on, most of whom had never seen me play before. When I caught that last point, the feeling was pure excitement and joy.”
Sickles’ top games were Week 5’s match-up against the D.C. Current (2 goals, 7 assists) and Week 8’s game against the New York Rumble (2 goals, 6 assists). Throughout the season, he repeatedly proved himself an offensive powerhouse. The tri-state area native and St. Joseph University graduate was thrilled to join professional ultimate.
“Playing for the Spinners was incredible, something that I’ve had my sights set on for some time now. I knew that I wanted to go up against elite competition and prove myself.” Sickles credits his college program for his versatility on the field. With the Spinners, he built on that foundation with seamless throws and effective cuts. He finished the season with a 96.1% completion rate of 207 throws.
“Playing at St. Joe’s was probably a more unorthodox path then most guys in the league. We are a small D1 school with no coach, so the onus is on the players to teach, train, schedule tournaments, and everything else. I was relied upon to handle, cut, and everything in between so I got a ton of reps.” “There aren’t perennial Nationals teams in our area, so most people don’t know the guys of SJU, UPenn, West Chester, MIllersville, Delaware but there’s a ton of talent here. It was great to show that we belong and can contribute right away. That bodes very well for the future of Philly ultimate,” said Sickles.
MLU Commissioner Jeff Snader presented Sickles with his Rookie of the Year Award at the halftime 2015 Awards Ceremony during the MLU Championship on August 8. This summer Sickles will play with Philadelphia Patrol, an open club team in the area. Sickles contributed to Patrol’s tournament victory at the Chesapeake Open on August 3.