WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (Feb. 11, 2009) – The National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) Softball League and Little League International have established a partnership that will provide the Little League Softball program with additional training and education resources, and expand awareness and opportunities for the NPF and the nearly 400,000 girls who play in the various divisions of Little League Softball.
“Partnering with the National Pro Fastpitch is a firm step forward for Little League Softball,” Stephen D. Keener, President and Chief Executive Officer of Little League Baseball and Softball, said. “Since the creation of the program, it has been a priority to promote the positive and unique aspects of softball as a sport, and the benefits of being a part of Little League. Establishing a relationship with the NPF can help to motivate children to play the game, while offering an educational element to Little League Softball coaches trying to grow their local programs.”
The agreement provides Little League International with instructional softball-related content developed by the NPF for the Little League Coach Resource Center (www.LittleLeagueCoach.org); Little League’s “Coach’s Box” and “Little Leaguer” electronic newsletters; and also assures that five NPF franchises will host a “Little League Softball Day” (two dates per team – 10 total) where Little League Softball players and coaches will be admitted to the game free of charge and have an opportunity to meet NPF players.
National Pro Fastpitch is headquartered in Denver, Colo., with teams located in Akron, Ohio, Chicago (Elgin), Ill., Rockford, Ill., Philadelphia (Allentown), Pa., and Washington D.C. (Fairfax, Va.). The league, created to give elite female fastpitch players the opportunity to pursue a Pro career in their chosen sport, has operated since 1997 under the names Women's Pro Fastpitch (WPF) and Women's Pro Softball League (WPSL).
“We are excited to get the knowledge of our Pro athletes and coaches in front of the dedicated coaches of Little League through the Coaches Resource Center as well as the electronic newsletters,” Cheri Kempf, National Pro Fastpitch President and Commissioner, said. “We know these coaches will put the tips and advice to good use with their young players.
“Further, we are looking forward to hosting Little League players, coaches, parents and families in our ballparks this summer,” Ms. Kempf said. “The players in the NPF are the sport of fastpitch softball’s elite. I believe in the overwhelming positive influence that our Pro athletes can have on the lives of young girls.”
The NPF will be afforded a promotional presence at each of Little League’s Softball World Series sites and on the Little League website (www.LittleLeague.org); as well as participation at local League Administrative Seminars; and the ability to reference Little League as a promotional partner on all of the NPF team websites.
“I know I speak on behalf of our players when I say that the opportunity for us to be involved with the youth of tomorrow through Little League International is a privilege,” Ms. Kempf said. “We are looking forward to developing the relationship on many different levels. Certainly, a primary focus for National Pro Fastpitch is to interact with Little League players through their player events as well as ours, and to provide inspiration to these young athletes through the many role models that the NPF has to offer.”
The Little League Softball program was created in 1974. Annually, Little League International operates four softball World Series tournaments in the Major (ages 11-12), Junior (13-14); Senior (15-16); and Big League (17-18) divisions. In 2008, more than 360,000 players (ages 5-18) played Little League Softball on nearly 24,000 teams.
“Collectively, it is our belief that working with NPF will nurture and enrich the enjoyment that comes with playing the game of softball,” Mr. Keener said. “We want the end result to be more leagues chartering softball, and more players participating at different divisions. Our expectation is that local leagues will benefit from this relationship in a variety of ways.”
For more information on Little League Softball, contact Sara Thompson, Little League International Softball Manager, at: 570-326-1921, ext. 217; or, e-mail: sthompson@LittleLeague.org. Little League’s website is: www.LittleLeague.org.
Little League Baseball and Softball is the world’s largest organized youth sports program, with nearly 2.6 million players and one million adult volunteers in every U.S. state and scores of other countries.
For more information contact: Christopher D. Downs, Media Relations Manager
(570-326-1921, ex. 238; Cell: 570-337-2511); Media E-mail: cdowns@LittleLeague.org;