Kissimmee, FL- USSSA Florida Pride of the National Pro FastPitch (NPF) League announced today the addition of former Olympian, Leah O’Brien-Amico to the Pride coaching staff.Amico, a three time gold medalist (’96, ’00, and ’04)will be an Assistant Coach for the Pride for the 2012 season.
“I am grateful to Don DeDonatis for giving me this opportunity to contribute to this team as a coach. I appreciate all he has done for the sport of fastpitch softball.” Amico said of the Pride’s president and general manager.“Many young players have dreams of becoming the next Jessica Mendoza or Natasha Watley and thanks to Don and the other owners in the NPF, as well as the commitment of the Commissioner, Cheri Kempf, they can live out those dreams.”
The Pride is filling a vacancy on the staff left by former Head Coach (and University of Florida Head Coach), Tim Walton. Former Pride Assistant Coach (current LSU Head Coach) Beth Torina has been assigned the duties of Head Coach of the 2012 Pride team.
“USSSA’s goal for the Pride in the NPF is, and always has been, to contribute to the highest level of competition this sport has to offer,” stated USSSA Chairman and Pride General Manager, Don DeDonatis. “Leah O’Brien-Amico is obviously an accomplished athlete, but more importantly to us, she is a class act and a quality person who we believe will help lead our talented crew of players to more NPF Championships. We are in this to provide role models to young athletes throughout the USSSA amateur ranks and softball players everywhere, and we believe we hit a homerun with this addition.”
Since joining the NPF in 2009, the USSSA Florida Pride has experienced much success. In their inaugural year, the Pride finished the season in the Championship Series Final Series. Eventually falling to the Rockford Thunder in a best of three match-up, the Pride took home the Championship Series runner-up. In 2010, second place would not be theirs however, as the Pride marched all the way to the Championship Series Finals again, this time to capture the crown in the best of three over the Chicago Bandits. 2011 saw another remarkable season for the Pride as they ran away with the regular season title (30-9 record), earning them the Ringor Cup. Playing for the Series title for the third consecutive year in the Finals of the Championship Series, the Pride yielded the crown in 2011 to the Chicago Bandits.
Amico is in familiar territory with the roster of the Pride team, having competed with many of the current Pride players either through the many years as a Team USA player herself, or as a college player at the University of Arizona. As a current analyst for college and professional softball for ESPN, Amico is also familiar with the rest of the squad.
“The past couple of years I have watched this team compete and I know that working with each of these athletes will help me to understand this sport at a higher level,” commented Amico. “Softball has always been a huge part of my life and there is always room to get better, no matter if you are a coach or a player.”
The Pride kicks off its NPF season on June 7 with the Chicago Bandits in Rosemont, IL. The opening series will be a re-match of the last two season’s Final Series of the NPF Championship Series. The 2012 regular season schedule ends with the league’s 2012 Championship Series August 23-26, also hosted by the Village of Rosemont, IL.
The USSSA Florida Pride is a professional franchise in the National Pro Fastpitch League that is owned and operated by USSSA. The amateur organization of USSSA has multi-sport coverage and encompasses teams and players from the United States and abroad.
National Pro Fastpitch is headquartered in Nashville, TN. 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 of Women’s Pro Fastpitch (WPF) and Women’s Pro Softball League (WPSL). NPF is the Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball in the category of women’s fastpitch softball since 2002.