The Royal Dutch Baseball and Softball Association (KNBSB) announced on Saturday that their Women’s Softball National Team will play professionally in the United States this year. The team will participate in the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) league, which is basically the Softball pendant to Major League Baseball. Fastpitch Softball stars like Cat Osterman, Monica Abbott and Jessica Mendoza are playing in this league.
The team will have its home base in Peoria, Illinois and KNBSB hopes to attract a Dutch/American company to provide some sponsorship. Several of NPF games are broadcasted live on ESPN and other TV stations. The Women’s Softball National Team in NPF will be led by head coach Craig Montvidas, assisted by Karen Marr. 15 players will be on the team with the selection being announced shortly by KNBSB.
The reason for this step is reduction of funding by Netherlands Olympic Committee, which led to a cancelation of a planned training camp in Florida. Afterwards Montvidas and the team looked into other options and found a partner with NPF. The league will schedule all Dutch games so the team will be able to play the European Championship in the Czech Republic and its players are able to participate in the European Cup tournaments.
Accommodation and transport in the US during NPF will be covered by an American “owner” of the Dutch team. Otherwise expenses are covered by the players, which voted unanimously to start into this adventure.
Obviously with the Women’s Softball World Championship going to be hosted by the Netherlands in 2014, KNBSB will try to prepare the Women’s Softball National Team as good as possible for this event. This unique initiative should make them capable to improve last year’s final ranking of sixth place at the World Championship.