[CHICAGO] The Chicago Bandits announced the signing of Olympic gold medalist Jennie Finch during a press conference on Friday, December 17 at U.S. Cellular Field.
Finch signed a one-year contract with the Bandits, the newest franchise in the six-team NPF League that will begin play in June 2005. Finch is the final piece of the 14-member roster that includes fellow Olympian Leah OBrien-Amico and All-American Jaime Clark. Finch helped lead USA Softballs Dream Team to a 9-0 record at the 2004 Athens Olympic games as the team outscored its competition 51-1 in route to clinching its third consecutive Olympic gold medal. The former University of Arizona All-American pitcher, who holds the NCAA record of 60 straight wins, has captured national headlines both on and off the field for her athleticism, beauty and marketability.
We are extremely excited to add Jennie to the roster, said Bill Conroy, owner of the Chicago Bandits and president/CEO of the NPF. She is an extraordinary athlete, a great role model for young girls and is the foundation on which you can build a franchise and ultimately a league.
Earlier this month, the NPF announced that operations were being transferred from its original founder, the Cowles family, to an operating group of team owners, led by Conroy. The NPF, which had its latest season of league play in 2004 with six teams, continues with an aggressive schedule for 2005.
The Bandits are slated to compete in a 48-game schedule, including match-ups against other national teams as well as league foes, followed by playoffs and a championship game. All home games will be played at Benedictine University in Lisle, IL in a new sports complex slated to be completed in spring 2005. The games will be televised locally in Chicago on Comcast Sports Net Chicago with national broadcasts in development.