Brett Matzuka may be an all-American Ultimate superstar today, but his journey started in Brisbane – where he will return this AUL season as a serious weapon for the Breakers.

A dual-international for both Australian and USA representative sides, the 30-year-old handler will add serious strength to a Breakers side that went desperately close to the AUL title in its maiden season in 2018.

Dom Simpson, Kat Smith, Lyra Meehan, John McNaughton, Liam Grimmond and Sam McGuckin return as the core of the Breakers side that finished third last year, bolstered by new recruit Braden Cheng, Rachel Parsons from the Sydney Suns, Rosa Wang from the Melbourne Flames and Loughlin Murphy from the Adelaide Dragons.

But it is Matzuka who could be the difference between another frustrating exit and a championship victory.

An Ultimate star is born in Brisbane

Way back in 2004, Matzuka was in Brisbane studying at University of Queensland.

Sport ran through his blood, having played and enjoyed basketball, track events, cross country running and swimming.

Tennis was the sport he played most competitively, though, and seeing Ultimate for the first time drew many parallels.

“I really appreciated the similarities in sportsmanship to tennis,” he said.

“Tennis is self-officiated and there is a mutual respect expected in every match, much like Ultimate.

“You push yourself, and subsequently your opponent, to become the best possible version of yourself through the on court battle. Ultimate encapsulates this through spirit of the game.”

In 2006, Matzuka made his first representative side at the Australian University Games. In 2007, he won that tournament.

He would go on to win the Australian Mixed Ultimate Championships with Bootius Maximus that same year, claiming MVP in the process.

And Matzuka also helped Team Australia win the World Ultimate Beach Championships – a star had been born.

 

Returning to the US and further success

After picking up the sport of Ultimate in Australia, Matzuka returned to his home country and wasted no time establishing himself as a major threat there as well.

In 2014, he helped the Johnny Bravo open side win the USA Ultimate Club Championships and was part of winning campaigns at the 2016 World Ultimate and Guts Championships and 2018 World Masters Ultimate Championships.

Swapping grass for sand did nothing to slow him down, winning World Ultimate Beach Championships titles in 2011, 2015 and 2017 with Team USA.

But a fondness for Australia and its players lingered, bringing Matsuka back to our country to showcase his skills in the AUL.

Brisbane Breakers recruit Brett Matzuka playing for Johnny Bravo in the USA. Photo: Kevin Leclaire, UltiPhotos.com

Returning down under for the Breakers

One thing that Matzuka always loved about Australia was the people.

That is no different at the Breakers, where he has fit in famously.

“I can wholeheartedly admit I am very fortunate and blessed to get the opportunity to play alongside and against, quite frankly, some amazing people,” he said. “Rosa Wong and Rachel Parsons are outrageously impressive with their downfield play, Kat Smith and Lyra Meehan are rock solid, dictating offence from behind the disc, and Dom Simpson and Ava Mueller are the swiss army knives of our team.”

All girls, Matzuka?

“Oh, and our guys were alright,” he said.

“I think it is important to grant an opportunity to any party that is eager, able, and willing to put the effort forth in any endeavour.

“Whether it be gender, race, religion, creed, ethnicity, or any other distinguishable attribute, everyone should have access and agency to pursue any endeavour in which they are interested and excited.

“For women to see themselves achieving unimaginable feats is an important feature that promotes dreaming beyond what was previously thought achievable.”