LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The NFCA is thrilled to announce Major League Baseball (MLB) as its newest official sponsor.
The leader in the bat-ball industry, MLB has paved the way for baseball innovation and looks to contribute to the growth of softball as it will play a significant role in the NFCA’s continued commitment to its educational and DEI platforms through membership opportunities, Convention programming, Coaches Clinics and recruiting seminars.
MLB will continue as the title sponsor of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Gatherings at the 2023 and 2024 Conventions in Louisville and Dallas, respectively. It’s a forum for coaches to discuss various topics, ask questions, share information or just listen to best practices on diversity and inclusion as well as helping student-athletes thrive as valued members of their teams.
“This is a historic moment for the NFCA, said NFCA Executive Director Carol Bruggeman. “The mutual respect, trust, and admiration both parties have developed through working together on various initiatives has grown into MLB's first-ever Official Sponsorship. This expansive sponsorship will open new doors for many in the softball community and expand the NFCA's reach for access and professional development. We applaud MLB's commitment to the continued growth of softball.”
Tying into DEI initiatives, this sponsorship will afford all head coaches from Historically Black Colleges or Universities to have their NFCA memberships provided at no cost to them for the 2024 calendar year. In conjunction, one HBCU head coach will receive a full scholarship to attend the 2023 and 2024 Conventions through MLB.
In addition to the HBCU memberships, 150 MLB partner / academy youth coaches will receive an NFCA membership for the 2024 calendar year. These memberships provide access to the many benefits of the NFCA, including mentoring, drills database, coaching tools and much more.
Educationally, MLB will provide access for 200 coaches to attend the NFCA’s annual Recruiting Seminar, while the NFCA will have one representative lead an in-person recruiting session at an MLB Develops event in 2024. Continuing to prioritize learning, MLB will enroll 40 coaches in the 2023-24 and 2024-25 NFCA Regional Coaches Clinics.
“Major League Baseball expanding its efforts further in the softball space signifies the League’s strong desire to grow opportunities for women and girls at all levels,” said MLB Chief Baseball Development Officer, Tony Reagins. “To be able to partner with organizations like NFCA to provide opportunities for diversity, equity and inclusion means MLB is able to do more for those playing our game. We look forward to this partnership and expanding MLB and NFCA’s work in softball.”
MLB will be the title sponsor of the 2024 “What’s Next Coach” Mentoring Session. This annual event provides current student-athletes with the opportunity to explore future careers within the game from coaching to administration and umpiring. The NFCA and MLB are excited to pave the way for future leaders of the diamond sports.
On the field, the NFCA and Major League Baseball will team up to host MLB’s highly-regarded PLAY BALL activations at select 2024 and 2025 NFCA Leadoff Classics. Taking place the day prior to the start of the tournament, this free event for local youths is designed to generate interest in softball, highlighting how the game is played, while also providing players, parents and coaches with the information and resources to help with proper technique and instruction. Additionally, student-athletes from the tournament’s participating schools assist with the events.
Celebrating 40 years in 2023, the NFCA (National Fastpitch Coaches Association) is the professional organization for fastpitch softball coaches. Known for its extensive awards and scholarships program, the NFCA also educates and supports softball coaches on a variety of different levels: from NFCA podcasts to a comprehensive drills database, to in-person events and a National Convention.