LOUISVILLE, Ky. — With under a month to go, the NFCA Virtual Convention (Dec. 9-11, 2020) roster is filling up. Stay up-to-date on all things Virtual Convention on NFCA.org and social media platforms.
With the Olympic Games on the horizon in 2021, the NFCA Virtual Convention has a real treat in store for attendees. There will be not one, but two discussions, moderated by NFCA Executive Director Carol Bruggeman. The first panel highlights the Washington Huskies softball program. UW head coach & U.S. National Team assistant coach Heather Tarr will be joined by a quartet of former Huskies - Ali Aguilar, Victoria Hayward, Danielle Lawrie and Jennifer Salling. Aguilar is a member of the Team USA, while the latter three represent Softball Canada.
Round two features five Olympic medalists that have all represented the United States, including two current members – Monica Abbott and Cat Osterman - of the U.S. National Team competing in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Abbott (silver) and Osterman (gold & silver) return to the international Olympic stage last competing in 2008. Joining the duo are gold medalists – Stacey Nuveman Deniz, Michelle Venturella and Natasha Watley.
There is less than a week to secure early-bird rates! Registration, presented by Traveling Teams, for the NFCA Virtual Convention is $199 for members and $299 for non-members. Attendees will have access to the on-demand content for 30 days following the Convention. Additionally, members can select a $20 upgrade ($219 total) for lifetime access to on-demand content.
Be sure to sign up by Nov. 16 to secure the early-bird rate (rates will increase afterward) and be in the running for our final two prizes - a $100 gift card from Amazon and an on-field equipment package ($350 value). Also, register by December 1 to receive a Convention attendee gift courtesy of USA Softball.
NFCA Members: Have you experienced a furlough or been laid off during the pandemic? If so, we want to help. The NFCA is committed to supporting its members through this pandemic. We understand the impact of COVID-19 is widespread and far-reaching. Please contact our membership team at firstname.lastname@example.org or (502) 409-4600 for special discounted Virtual Convention pricing.
More about the speakers:
Four-time gold-medalist Ali Aguilar has been a member of USA’s national team since 2016. While with the Red, White and Blue, Aguilar has helped the United States to a pair of golds at the WBSC Women’s World Championship, two more at the Pan American Games and a silver at the World Cup of Softball. In those four gold-medal winning tournaments, Aguilar combined to hit nine home runs, drive in 31 runs and score 29 times. A four-year starter for the Huskies, Aguilar took home two NFCA All-America and four NFCA All-Region honors, while capturing three first-team All-Pac-12 nods.
The youngest player to appear for the Canadian National Team, Victoria Hayward donned the maple leaf for the first time in 2009. Since joining Softball Canada, she has appeared in five World Championships and helped Canada to five total medals – two Pan American Games silver and three bronze at the World Championships. She was named Softball Canada’s 2019 Home Run Sports Female Fastpitch Athlete of the Year and was the 19th overall selection at the 2014 NPF Draft. Currently the director of operations at UCF, Hayward has served as an assistant coach at Maryland and UMass, along with holding a graduate assistant position at LSU. The 2014 NFCA All-American and four-time All-Pac-12 selection was a four-year member of the Huskies.
Danielle Lawrie debuted with the Canadian national team in 2005 and was part of the squad that finished fourth at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. She burst onto the international scene when she beat the United States at the 2005 World Cup of Softball, ending Team USA’s three-year international winning streak. Lawrie helped Canada collect two silvers at the Pan American Games and two bronzes at the World Championships. Her stellar performance (2-0, 0.00 ERA, 23 K) during the 2019 WBSC Qualifiers helped her nation returning to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. A three-time NFCA First-Team All-American and two-time USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, Lawrie (42-8, 521 K, 76 BB, 350. 2 IP) was pivotal in Washington’s run to a 2009 national title. She finished her collegiate career atop most UW pitching categories, including 136 victories, 65 shutouts and 1,860 strikeouts. She also captured a pair of NPF Cowles Cups with the USSSA Pride.
Jennifer Salling has been a member of the Canadian National Team since 2006, competing in five World Championships and representing her home country at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. She helped Canada to a gold at the 2015 Pan American Games and three more Pan American silvers. Salling provided an offensive punch (.421, 11 RBI) at the 2019 WBSC Americas Qualifier that sent Canada to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Drafted third overall in the 2011 NPF Draft, Salling earned a Cowles Cup title with USSSA Pride in 2013. A two-time NFCA All-American, Salling was on the 2009 national championship team and finished her three-year career ranked in the top 10 of UW’s offensive charts in batting average, triples, slugging and on-base percentage.
Heather Tarr, Washington’s head coach since 2005, enters 2021 with 659 wins, which is the most by any coach in UW history. She steered Washington to a 2009 national championship and a national runner-up finish in 2018, while also guiding the Huskies to seven Women’s College World Series appearances, 13 Super Regionals and 15 postseason trips. Under Tarr’s watch, Huskies have garnered 28 NFCA All-Americans and seven Pac-12 Players of the Year. Doubling as a Team USA assistant coach since 2017, Tarr has been a part of three gold-medal winning squads, two of which came at the Pan American Games. She also served as the national team’s U-19 head coach, guiding them to a WBSC U-19 Women’s World Cup gold.
United States National Team Panel
Monica Abbott, an Olympic silver medalist, has enjoyed tremendous collegiate, international, and professional success. She has helped Team USA to three World Championship golds, two Pan-American golds and a silver at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. She is a five-time Japan League Champion with Toyota Motor Corporation and has also been part of five NPF Cowles Cup title-winning teams. In 2016, she became the first NPF Player to sign a million-dollar contract. The first NFCA All-American in Tennessee softball history, Abbott earned the first-team honor in all four seasons. Also, the 2007 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year, Abbott set career and single-season NCAA records with 189 victories, 2,440 strikeouts, 112 shutouts, 253 appearances and 1,448 innings pitched.
A three-time U.S. Olympian, Stacey Nuveman Deniz is in her 14th season as San Diego State’s recruiting coordinator and hitting instructor. She helped the United States capture Olympic golds in 2000 and 2004 and silver in 2008, along with two Pan American golds, a World Cup championship and two World Championships. Following her international playing career, Nuveman Deniz served as a national team assistant coach in 2010, at the USA Softball Coaching Pool in 2014, and at the USA Softball Junior Women's (19-Under) National Team (JWNT) Selection Camp in January 2015. A four-time first-team NFCA All-American and three-time Pac-10 Player of the Year, Nuveman Deniz finished her career as the NCAA’s leader in home runs, slugging percentage, walks and intentional walks, while also helping UCLA to a 1999 national title.
Cat Osterman is a four-time NFCA All-American, three-time USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year and two-time Olympic medalist. As the youngest player and only collegian, Osterman was part of the National Team that won gold at the Athens 2004 Olympics. She went on to help the United States earn a silver medal in 2008. Osterman is the only three-time USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year and also earned three Big 12 Conference Female Athlete of the Year honors. During her time at the University of Texas, Osterman led the Longhorns to three WCWS appearances and still holds UT career records in victories, ERA, shutouts and no-hitters, along with the NCAA record for career strikeout ratio per seven innings. Most recently, Osterman spent 2015-19 on the Texas State coaching staff as the program’s pitching coach. She made an immediate impact that saw the Bobcat staff twirl 69 shutouts and post 186 wins over a four-year stretch. Prior to that, she was an assistant coach at St. Edward’s University and DePaul University.
Michelle Venturella, a gold medalist at the 2000 Olympic Games, is entering her fifth season as Washington University in St. Louis’ head coach. Over the first four seasons, she has steered WashU to 64 victories, a 2017 University Athletic Association (UAA) title and a trip to the 2017 NCAA Tournament. Venturella has mentored 18 UAA all-conference and six NFCA All-Region selections. Prior to WashU, Venturella served as the head coach at University of Illinois at Chicago. She recorded 195 victories and led the Flames to four Horizon League regular-season championships and a tournament title in 2011. Venturella had a six-year stint on the US National Team, playing on the 1998 World Championship Team and earning a gold medal at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. She was also part of the first-ever Olympic softball team as an alternate in 1996.
Natasha Watley, a two-time Olympic medalist and four-time first-team NFCA All-American, is the founder of the Natasha Watley Foundation (NWF). The foundation is a community-service non-profit dedicated to introducing softball to the girls of the nation’s inner cities. Watley joined the U.S. National Team in 2001 and over the course of a 10-year run, she captured a 2004 Olympic gold medal, 2008 Olympic silver medal and two golds at the Pan-American Games, along with being a three-time World Cup and three-time World Champion. Recipient of the 2003 Honda-Broderick Cup – awarded to the nation’s top female collegiate student-athlete – Watley keyed UCLA to a 2003 national title and finished at the top of the program’s offensive charts in hits, runs, triples and stolen bases. She is also a UCLA Hall of Fame inductee, five-time Japan Softball League champion and three-time NPF Cowles Cup title holder.