Ultimate bid: Nissen makes French national team

Meredith Ellison

Junior Jacques Nissen is the newest member of the French U20 Boys National Ultimate Frisbee team. Nissen, also a member of Wilson’s ultimate frisbee team, has dual citizenship and therefore was eligible to try out for both the U.S. and French national teams.

He has been playing ultimate since sixth grade, but got serious about it at the beginning of high school. Now one of the captains of the Wilson team, he is a big reason the boys team is currently ranked 20 in the country. Nissen was one of 100 ultimate frisbee players from across the country selected to try out for the U.S. national team. “I was really happy to be a part of the 100,” he said.

The select group attended a two-day tryout at UNC-Chapel Hill in late January, which he described as “fun and rewarding.” Though he did not make the team, his hopes of playing in the world championship tournament over the summer were still alive.

In early April, he traveled to a small town in western France called Sable-sur-Sarthe for another weekend tryout—this time for the French national team. By the time he arrived, 18 spots were already decided. This meant that he and seven other players were competing for the last two spots on the team. When tryouts concluded, the coaches informed Nissen that he had made the team. “At the end of tryouts, I was pretty confident that I would make it, but it was still really exciting when I learned.”

Nissen is the only team member who does not live in France, which he said made tryouts “a little weird” initially. Because the team is U20 and he is only 16, Nissen is one of the younger players.

He will represent France at the World Junior Ultimate Championships in August in Ontario, Canada, where 18 countries from five continents will compete for the world championship.