Who is Phoenix Contact? Roster wise, we have a lot of players in the organization. The Pro team will be Myself, Zak Smith, Jeff Milam, Joe Vuica, Hondo Fimbres, Jon Buot, Keaton Sorey, Brent Nielsen, Mike Condon and Josh Garcia.
How did the NPPL hear about Contact? The majority of the experience on the team has history with the NPPL. When we built the team we decided to play Vegas as it was the format we are most familiar with and it is close to home. We initially registered as D1, and as an error or computer glitch, the NPPL system had put us as registered under pro. We laughed about it a little bit, but also kind of got to thinking about it as well. They ultimately corrected their mistake, but a good number of people noticed and where reaching out to us with some questions. We decided to contact the NPPL in regards to the availability of a pro spot, with no expectations really, and they informed us there were 3 other teams interested in Mutiny's spot and they were reviewing each to determine the most qualified team. They told us to submit our roster and resume, so I wrote up about a page long resume on the team, the players, our organization, goals, and history and sent it over. Once again, not really expecting anything to come of it, but thought why not give it a shot?
Did they approach you or vice versa? We approached them, but the story also has a prelude with Team RM, Team Phoenix Alliance, and ourselves, approaching the league, together to try to make sense of bringing 7man back to Arizona. This may have started the thought process.
What do you think it is about Contact that produced a positive response from the league? Honestly, I think its the type of organization that we are and the region we are in. The way that I, along with Joe Vuica and Tony Conesa, established the organization was based as a business, not just a group of guys that get together on the weekend and play paintball. We have a management/owner system with financial support and a solid structural base. When I started what is now Portland Uprising (Uprising Nation at the time) in my backyard in 2004, I established that team in the same way. Also, Arizona is a PSP state. There are teams that would like to play 7man, but the support for it is non-existent. We are hoping to re-establish the 7man presence a little bit out here in the desert.
How will Contact re-establish a 7-man presence in AZ? By simply existing? The short answer is yes. There are teams here that want to play 7man and have tried to continue, but the dominance of the Xball format has driven the fields to really only have xball field kits. If the 7man format continues, we will bring in a new 7man field kit.
How long has Contact been a team? Contact has been in development since May of this year. It is a collaboration of programs that had certain pieces, but didn't have the whole puzzle needed for success.
How many events has the team competed in? At what level of competition? The team has not competed in any events under this name. However, there are 4 former pro players and a D1 player making up the core of the team, some of which have played events together in the past, others who have competed for many years, and a diverse up and coming talent base that has been in development with other teams for some time. This will undoubtedly be our biggest criticism, and we will feel the pains of coming together. But so far, that challenge has been well accepted and we are hoping to continue the progress.
What do you think has prepared the team to take this step? The development of this team from square one was to establish a professional, marketable, and sustainable organization in Arizona. It has been our plan to make a pro spot from the development, but would have never guessed or even been as bold as to imagine it would have come at this point. However, the structure is in place and the skill is here, it just needs to be organized. Organizationally, we are prepared to take the step, as many of us have been here before, the readiness will come with maturity of the team and the time we spend over the course of the next season.
Who are the former Pros on the roster and who did they play with in the past?
Myself - The Naughty Dogs (Semi Pro- Uprising/Elevation)
Zak Smith - Phoenix United
Mike Condon -Cartel (pro/am days) (Bonebrake factory D1 in the modern age)
Jeff Milam - Strange/Ironmen/Elevation
Does Contact have any goals or expectations for Vegas? In reality, no ... there's no way to set them. Our goal is to survive the event and prove that we can hold our own on the field. Maybe turn a head or two, and learn from the experience.
Goals for 2013? The goals for 2013 are really going to be dependent on our sponsors and the NPPL. We will be playing in 2013, and will continue with the NPPL pro division, unless circumstances outside our control take precedence in the off season.
What makes Phil Veatch the right guy to lead Contact? Well, to be honest, I don't have a straight answer for you. I have a long resume though so I'll do my best to keep it brief. I have been playing paintball for 16 years, competitively for 13, and always been the captain or in a leadership role on every team I have been on other than the Naughty Dogs. I started playing national events with team Nurv in D3 moving eventually through the ranks to Semi-Pro. In the meantime, myself and Nurv parted ways and I established team Uprising along with helping establish Blacklist Media to help promote and market the team. Uprising played local NW events our first year and always placed in the top 4. The team had a rocky patch with some of the players leaving, and we merged with a team called Amp'd to play D1 NPPL in 2006. At this time I was also playing with the Naughty Dogs in the NXL. After some fallout with the teams, I turned my attention back to rebuilding Uprising in 2007 where we played 2 events in Semi-pro with moderate success, more than I would have expected, before once again falling apart when I decided to take time off for college. Ultimately the Uprising guys kept it together and in 2010 made the jump to NPPL pro and had intended to include me, but I had moved to Arizona. I gave the team to Tommy Tucker and watched him take it to where it is today. During this time I played with Scottsdale Elevation before they also took time off. All throughout these experiences, one thing showed over and over, the lack of sustainable structure and support. When I started building Contact, it was built under a business, and our goals were to be a professional organization, whether we played professional or not. The sponsors we have, the approach we have taken, and the way we have structured the management all reflect those goals. Ultimately though, I am not doing it alone. Joe and Tony have been instrumental in the development of this team as well as others. There is no way that I could have managed what has been built alone, and everyone within the organization is on board for the same goals.
Do you think it's good for competitive paintball to have a start-up team jump immediately into the pro ranks? Why? Honestly, no. I don't think it should be a habit. But it has happened before, numerous times, and Im sure it will happen again. I do feel that the NPPL is trying to build regional pro teams similar to other professional sports, and when looking at expansion cities, you can either hope they develop on their own, or help facilitate the change. I believe that with the obvious success of the PSP in Arizona and the player base we have here it is no wonder the NPPL is interested in the market.
Thanks, Phil. VFTD appreciates the opportunity to introduce Phoenix Contact to the tourney community from your perspective. In closing I would like to thank you for taking the time and effort to introduce Phoenix Contact. I would also like to thank all of our sponsors - Kee Action Sports, AXE, Z2, Empire, Acid Custom Triggers, Boss Paintball, Modern Woodman of America, Fightertown Paintball, Westworld Paintball, The AZPPL, Mesa Paintball Supply, Censys Designs Lab, Custom Products, Raza, and KM. We have a tough road ahead, and the support of these companies are making it possible for us to have the best chances for success.