OKLAHOMA CITY – Following a selection camp, 18 athletes have been selected to represent the Red, White and Blue on the 2016 Women's National Team (WNT) this summer while an additional 18 athletes have been named to the USA Softball Women's Elite Team the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America and USA Softball announced today. Held at Bill Barber Park in Irvine, Calif., 40 athletes participated in the selection camp where they were evaluated by members of the Women's National Team Selection Committee (WNTSC), who selected the two 18-person rosters.
"This was definitely the deepest pool of athletes that have been to a National Team Selection Camp since 2010," said Women's National Team Head Coach Ken Eriksen (Tampa, Fla./Head Coach South Florida). "I think this proves that our youth movement as far as participation numbers goes is very healthy in the U.S."
Click here for the complete 2016 USA Softball Women’s National Team and Women's Elite Team rosters
Representing the U.S. this summer as a member of the WNT are 12 returning veterans from the 2015 roster which claimed the World Cup of Softball X title and finished second at the Pan American Games in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Three rookies also join the squad, while three athletes were a member of the 2015 USA Softball Junior Women's National Team that claimed the Gold at the WBSC Junior Women's World Championship. Members of the WNT will compete later this summer in the World Cup of Softball XI, the XV World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Women's World Championship in Surrey, B.C., Canada and the Japan Cup.
Ken Eriksen (Tampa, Fla./Head Coach at USF) will lead the National Team and will be joined by Howard Dobson (Baton Rouge, La./Asst. Coach at LSU), Trisha Ford (Fremont, Calif./head coach at Fresno State) and John Rittman (Lawrence, Kansas) as Assistant Coaches.
In addition to the 2016 WNT roster, the WNTSC has also announced the roster for the Women's Elite Team, which will participate in a series of exhibition games against the Women's National Team in addition to the World Cup of Softball XI. The Women's Elite Team will also participate in exhibition games at the USA Softball JO Cup in Marietta, Ga. Comprising the Women's Elite Team are 11 athletes who have experience in the Red, White and Blue on either the 2015 Women's or Junior Women's National Teams, while seven rookies will get their first taste of international experience this year.
"The next step is taking this group of 36 athletes and continue to develop them to be a mature group of ball players that can understand the international game and its strategies," said Eriksen. "I think we have what we need as far as position players and pitching depth to feel pretty good going into the future. Now, it's whether they have the capacity, as our returning veterans have proven, to take this more serious than ever before."
Tairia Flowers (Tucson, Ariz./Head Coach Cal State Northridge) will lead the Elite Team as the Head Coach and will be joined by Laura Berg (Corvalis, Ore./Head Coach Oregon State), Kristie Fox (San Diego, Calif./head coach at UT- Arlington) and Gina Vecchione (New Rochelle, N.Y./Cal Poly Associate Head Coach), who will serve as Assistant Coaches.
A full list of National Team events, including exhibition games, will be released at a later date. Fans can follow along with the USA Softball National Teams all year long atwww.ASAUSASoftball.com.
-- Courtesy of ASA/USA Softball