by Play Global!, www.play-global.org
Forty teenage baseball players and their coaches will get together in Kropyvnytskyi on April 10-13 for the Play Global Spring Tournament. These players come from around Ukraine (including Kiev, Rivne, Chernivtsy, Mykolaiv, Chornomorsk, & Kropyvnytskyi). There will also be men’s teams from Belarus, Kiev, and the local sides.
This is truly an international event, and a rare occurrence in Eastern Europe, as kids from across Ukraine will meet in friendly competition – training together in the mornings and competing later in the day. These young players come from different cultural backgrounds and don’t get many opportunities to play and learn together. A love of baseball will bring them together in this event, now in its fourth year. American nonprofit Play Global will team up with Ukrainian coaches to lead the tournament as well as training sessions to develop players’ baseball fundamentals. Three American coaches from Play Global will provide expert training and mentoring to the Ukrainian coaches.
By the end of the week, it is expected that the knowledge of the players and coaches will have advanced, and everyone will have direction on how they can work together to develop the sport they love. The coaches will spend 2 hours daily in actively training youth, another 4-5 hours every day in game situations, with multiple coach breakout sessions (both formal and informal) and feedback/evaluations of game play. Most importantly, the program will focus on developing current and future leaders with growth mindsets and the ability to utilize positive coaching. We will bring together people from across a region with political and physical strife and work towards a common goal.
What we do:
Play Global teaches baseball to youth and coaches in developing countries and areas facing conflict. We use baseball as a way to help children see past their differences, respect others and work as a team. Baseball is new to most of our participants, so they start together as beginners, despite any differences they face off the field. We help them find common ground through baseball. Through baseball, we teach skills such as how to be part of a team, how to resolve conflicts, and how to work through cultural and gender differences. While kids are enjoying baseball, they are also practicing skills that will help them develop into successful adults. Our organization is effective because we work with local partners to minimize bureaucracy and maximize impact. We always strive to understand the needs, limitations, routines, and dreams of our participants. Learn more at www.play-global.org.
Kropynytskyi Play Global Spring Tournament – Staff
Brian Farley is well-known for his unconditional commitment to results. With his inspirational lectures, he gets to the core of what makes people and teams successful, and he’s an example for effectively working in multi-cultural environments. Farley was born in the US; he is a coach and former baseball player who has been living in the Netherlands the past 28 years. Since the year 2000, he has been working as a coach for the Netherlands national teams in different capacities. For his extraordinary achievements as a coach, Farley received a Dutch knighthood and was voted Coach of the Year at the national Sports Gala and by the European Baseball Coaches Association. He participated in the Olympics in both Sydney and Beijing. In 2011, as national team manager, Farley led the Dutch to the World Championship – the first time a European team has ever won that event. Brian played college baseball at Vanderbilt and had a six year minor league career in addition to his European playing career.
Zach Graefser’s reputation in international baseball is one of success, hard work, and empathy. He has previously volunteered with Play Global in Israel, India, and South Africa (as well as Ukraine in 2017). Graefser recently returned to his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri and took up the position (which he had held for 8 years prior to moving to England) as the Assistant Head Coach of the baseball program at St Louis Community College at Meramec. He also continues in his role coordinating and coaching MLB International’s World Select college tour, while also assisting at the French baseball academy and coaching with MLB’s u15 camps/Coach Development Program across Europe. Zach has previously served as Great Britain Baseball’s pitching coordinator, and he played collegiately as both a pitcher and catcher.
Tom Gillespie is the Executive Director of Play Global and an international scout for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Gillespie has previously worked with MLB international as European Academies Coordinator and Director of Game Development in Great Britain, and until 2018 he coached the Germany u18 & u23 national teams. His focus on spreading the game of baseball has taken Gillespie across Europe and Africa to coach, scout, and speak. Originally from the USA, he has lived and worked in Europe since 2001.