Press release World Baseball Softball Confederation
USSSA Pride, one of the top teams of National Pro Fastpitch (NPF, the professional league of women’s fastpitch softball in the USA), will tour Europe thanks to a joint effort by the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) and the United States Specialty Sport Association (USSSA).
The tour has been named “USSSA European Pro Softball Series presented by WBSC” and will see the USSSA Pride play exhibition games against the National Teams of three European powerhouses: Czech Republic, Italy and Netherlands. The tour will end (Friday, 4 May) in France, where the USSSA Pride will hold a clinic at the Softball Academy of France in Boulouris, Côte d’Azur.
The goal of the USSSA European Pro Softball Series presented by WBSC is to promote women’s softball internationally. Baseball and Softball aim to be on Paris 2024 Olympics program, and WBSC is mindful of the need to raise awareness of the sport in France.
“A U.S. professional softball club competing against Europe’s top nations promises to deliver exciting and unique content,” said WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari. “As baseball and softball continue to grow into a global product and toward 1 billion players and fans, we will see more and more of these types of competitions, particularly ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games, and throughout the next decade.”
The series will open in Caronno, Italy, northwest of Milan on Tuesday, 24 April. The USSSA Pride will face the Italian National Team. On Wednesday, 25 April (a National Holiday in Italy) is scheduled Game 2.
The USSSA Pride will play against the Czech National Team in capital Prague on Friday, 27 April and Saturday, 28 April.
The games against the Dutch National Team are scheduled for Monday, 30 April in Haarlem, Netherlands, Tuesday, 1 May in Hoofddorp (in the vicinity of the Amsterdam Schiphol International Airport) and Wednesday, 2 May in Brabant (in the South of the country).
“The opportunity to compete in the USSSA European Pro Softball Series Presented by WBSC is truly exciting for the Pride,” said D.J. Wabick, USSSA International Senior Vice President. “With softball back at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the WBSC has provided the largest international platform to showcase our sport, and for the Pride and their professional players to be able to be a part of that, be a part of the push for Tokyo 2020 and beyond, is an honour. As a professional team, and more importantly as fans ourselves, we know the importance of our sport being back into the Olympics and are truly humbled to be part of the WBSC’s continued growth as the global brand for baseball and softball.”
While in Europe, the USSSA Pride players will be also involved in promotional activities. The National Federations of Czech Republic, France, Italy and Netherlands are working on the organization. We will update this information at a later stage.
The USSSA Pride will travel to Paris after the clinic in Côte d’Azur and fly back to the USA on Sunday, 6 May.
USSSA, an Associate Member of the WBSC, is the world’s largest multi-sport athletic organization. Founded in 1968, USSSA has grown to over 4 million participants competing in 14 nationally sanctioned sports, including baseball and fastpitch softball.
The USSSA Pride, based out of USSSA Space Coast Stadium in Viera, will enter its 10th NPF season in the summer of 2018. The Pride has won four consecutive regular seasons (2014 through 2017) and brought home (2010, 2013, 2014) three Cowles Cup Championships.