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NPF Adds Team in Nation's Capitol; Championship Site Announced
National Pro Fastpitch, Official Promotional Partner of the NFCA, has announced that Paul Wilson has purchased rights to a team in the Washington D.C. area which will begin league play in 2007 as the Washington Glory. The league also announced that Kimberly, Wisc., will host the NPF World Championship the next three seasons, beginning with the 2007 championship Aug. 24-26.
Wilson owns Paul’s Sports will serve as president and general manager of the team which will assume the player contracts of the Connecticut Brakettes.
Wilson, the multi-faceted president and CEO of Diamante Consulting Group, became encouraged about the potential of professional fastpitch softball in the Washington area as well as the NPF through various means during the last two years.
“I spoke with a father of one player and he told me about this new pro league called the NPF,” Wilson said. “I never heard of it. I asked why they didn’t have a team here and he said he didn’t know, so I did a little research.”
His interest was piqued when he attended the opening ceremonies of a traveling team tournament in Washington that drew thousands of fans. He also gained optimism about the future of NPF through conversations with owners and players.
The owners took over the league from the Cowles family, the league founders, in December of 2004. At the forefront of the league’s long-term strategic plan is building a sustainable league and fielding teams with owners that are able to not only move forward for the short-term but will continue to be a strong force in the league’s growth after the 2008 Olympics.
Aside from the business decision, the popularity of softball in the nation’s capital and a passion for the sport were also major factors that led Wilson to purchase a National Professional Fastpitch franchise for that city.
“I contacted (Chicago Bandits owner) Bill Conroy and within three or four days, I was flying to Chicago to attend the (2005) NPF World Series," Wilson said. "Then I spoke to the players who really saw the potential of the league. I also talked to people with the National Fastpitch Coaches Association and received a great deal of positive feedback.”
NPF President Patrick Linden spoke positively about adding a committed owner and a franchise in Washington.
“This is an exciting addition for us,” Linden said. “We see a lot of growth potential throughout that area and we are certainly happy to be bringing Paul on board because we know how enthusiastic he is about building something from the ground up. He shares our vision for the future.”
Wilson, who resides in nearby Ashburn, Va., speaks eloquently and passionately about the future of NPF, particularly his desire to help its athletes extend their associations with the league into full-time careers. He believes once the league and its players are embraced by corporate America, the financial resources will be available to make that a reality.
He also envisions the marketability of the premier players in their sport as a stepping-stone to product promotion and corporate recognition.
“The goal of everyone I have spoken to is for these women to be able to make a full-time career out of this,” he says. “We want to be able to provide that.”
For more information about National Pro Fastpitch, click here.
National Pro Fastpitch is headquartered in Denver, Colorado. The league, created to give elite female fastpitch players the opportunity to pursue a professional career in their chosen sport, has operated since 1997 under the names Women’s Pro Fastpitch (WPF) and Women’s Pro Softball League (WPSL).