MCWS Alums Launch Maine’s First Professional Women’s Sports Team

Maine Coast Waldorf School alums Maddie Purcell and Chloe Rowse announced today the Spring 2020 launch of their pro ultimate team – Portland Rising – the first professional women’s sports team in Maine.

Co-owner Maddie Purcell is a graduate of our 8th Grade Class of 2004 and the daughter of Susan Purcell who feeds us daily in our cafe. She is the founder of Fyood Kitchen (fyoodkitchen.com), an award-winning Portland startup that brings groups together for cooking competition parties – no experience required. She also founded Experience Maine, which produces an annual gift guide (experiencemainegiftguide.com) focusing on outstanding giftable experiences across the State of Maine.

Co-owner Chloë Rowse is a graduate of our 8th Grade Class of 2008 and is the founder and executive director of Growing Routes (growingroutes.org), a Maine-based non-profit organization that runs summer camps for kids, focused on providing small group explorations that nurture confidence, creativity, and compassion. She is also a certified Wilderness First Responder (WFR), a licensed Maine Recreational Guide, and a Red Cross Waterfront Lifeguard. Chloe recently solo thru-hiked the entire 2,190 mile Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine.

We are including the press release for this exciting launch below. Please share the great news from these two talented Maine entrepreneurs in any way you can! For more information contact Maddie Purcell, [email protected]

Maine entrepreneurs launch state’s first professional women’s sports team

Portland Rising to bring pro ultimate to Maine this spring

Portland, ME: Co-owners Chloë Rowse and Maddie Purcell today announced the Spring 2020 launch of Portland Rising, the first professional women’s sports team in Maine.

A member of the national Premier Ultimate League, Portland Rising’s mission is to create a world-class professional women’s sports experience here in Maine, to inspire greatness, and to showcase women performing at the highest level.

“Portland is a city that loves its sports teams, and Maine is a state that values women leaders,” says co-owner Maddie Purcell. “From our elected officials to our CEOs, Maine continually leads the nation in terms of percentage of women and their level of success. It makes both business and entertainment sense to launch this professional women’s sports team here in Portland.”

The Premier Ultimate League (PUL) held its inaugural season in Spring 2019, featuring eight teams from around the country. The league is expanding by 50% in Year Two to feature 12 teams (four new), including Portland Rising. The expansion was a competitive application process, with Portland beating out cities such as Toronto and San Diego for the 2020 season.

The nearest PUL team is in New York, with other inaugural affiliates in Atlanta, Raleigh, Austin, Columbus, Indianapolis, Nashville, and Medellín, Colombia. The other new 2020 teams are based in Minneapolis, Milwaukee, and DC.

“I learned the sport of ultimate here in Maine, and have since had the chance to play across the country as well as internationally,” says co-owner Chloë Rowse. “Having played for Team USA at the U-24 World Championships in 2015 and competed across Europe and South America, I am so excited to bring this world-class ultimate experience to my home community in Portland.”

The sport of ultimate has been growing rapidly here in Maine and across the country since its invention in 1968. Under the banner of Maine Ultimate, a non-profit organization which works to grow the sport state-wide, the youth scene has exploded over the past eight years to include 55 high school teams and 28 middle school teams in 2019.

The Maine youth club programs have seen success at the national level since launching in 2012, when Rowse captained Maine’s first national team. Following multiple Maine second and third place finishes across several divisions, the Maine girls’ U-19 team, Rip Tide, broke through to become National Co-Champions at the Youth Club Championships in Minnesota this August.

“The push in the last few years of more of a youth piece to the whole ultimate scene was sort of a new thing,” says Tom Stoughton, director of the state high school league. “Portland Rising is the next new thing. The hope is that it’s a successful professional team but also another seed that plants and turns into something a whole lot bigger.”

An estimated 2,500-3,000 Mainers played ultimate last year, with 1,300 participating in USA Ultimate-sanctioned leagues, tournaments, and club teams. Portland Rising looks to capitalize on the strong existing ultimate community in Maine and greater New England while introducing thousands of new fans to this fast-growing, highlight-packed sport.

Portland Rising will hit the road to start the 2020 season in early April. The team is currently seeking individual and corporate sponsors for its inaugural season. More information including home games and ticket sales will be posted on the team’s website at www.portlandrising.me.

How is ultimate played? Combining the non-stop movement and athletic endurance of soccer with the aerial passing skills of football, a game of ultimate is played by two teams with a flying disc on a field with end zones, similar to football. The object of the game is to score by catching a pass in the opponent’s end zone. A player must stop running while in possession of the disc, but may pivot and pass to any of the other receivers on the field.

Ultimate is a transition game in which players move quickly from offense to defense on turnovers that occur with a dropped pass, an interception, a pass out of bounds, or when a player is caught holding the disc for more than ten seconds. Ultimate is governed by Spirit of the Game™, a tradition of sportsmanship that places the responsibility for fair play on the players rather than referees. Ultimate is played in more than 80 countries by an estimated 7 million women, men, girls and boys.