PlayFPN Tournament Network Announces Initial Games in Connecticut
13 Nov, 2020
Tournament Fastpitch Softball for girls of all ages has been a staple of Connecticut’s youth sports scene for decades. These events always have been run under the auspices of a National-level sanctioning body such as USSSA or USA Softball. David Rocha – owner of the 11-field softball complex, Fastpitch Nation Park in Windsor, Conn. and the Fastpitch Nation Indoor training facility in Bloomfield, Conn. – has been the USSSA New England Fastpitch Director for the past 11 years. Today, Rocha announced he is leaving that USSSA post to take tournament fastpitch softball in a new direction with the creation of the PlayFPN Tournament Network.
“Many coaches and I have long felt that the sanctioning bodies have become a bit bloated with process, bureaucracy, paperwork and costs that frustrate teams and tournament directors,” says Rocha, who is President and owner of this new PlayFPN Tournament Network. “When I initially considered leaving my USSSA directorship, I assumed I’d have to go it alone in the marketplace. However, during the Coronavirus, I realized that among teams, there has been a level of dissatisfaction with all sanctioning bodies that I know I can help to alleviate.”
During the initial months of the pandemic when youth sports were shut down, Rocha led the effort in Connecticut for a safe return to play for all softball players. Early on, he formulated a comprehensive plan and worked with local and State lawmakers which ultimately led to his being the sole representative for softball on Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont’s advisory panel for youth sports. Those efforts paid off as many youth sports in Connecticut resumed play on June 17.
As a result, softball groups from across the nation contacted Rocha for help and for access to his plan to duplicate in their own states and communities. “I never expected that the efforts I took to get back on the field would have such far-reaching impact,” states Rocha. “I was just happy that the work that I did and the input and support I received from so many in the professional, medical and governmental communities were able to help so many far beyond the borders of Connecticut.”
Rocha spent months researching and, ultimately, creating the PlayFPN Tournament Network, which he describes as a network of like-minded, quality long-term tournaments around the region.
“We have created an exciting new opportunity for the best fastpitch tournament hosts in the region,” Rocha notes. “Fastpitch Nation will utilize its well-established brand and marketing reach to help promote not only its own events, but all the PlayFPN-member events too. These events will remain entirely independent but simply share Fastpitch Nation’s marketing and technology platform, giving tournament hosts a common place to register teams at no charge, manage rosters, and provide the scheduling, scoring, and results infrastructure that all tournament hosts need.
“The process for teams will be easy, free of cost, and without the highly complicated, time consuming and expensive burdens that typically are placed upon teams and tournament hosts by sanctioning bodies to simply register and play,” Rocha adds.
Fastpitch Nation Park, which over the past two seasons has become the premier softball complex in the Northeast, will host the vast majority of all the events including regular weekend tournaments, college showcases, and national tournaments. Fastpitch Nation Indoor, the largest fastpitch softball facility in Connecticut, also will continue to offer its indoor tournaments and leagues, all under the PlayFPN banner.
Fastpitch Nation has rebranded its website as PlayFPN.com with a new logo,and already has posted more than 40 upcoming tournaments. The initial group of fastpitch tournament hosts to join PlayFPN, besides Rocha’s Fastpitch Nation Park and Fastpitch Nation Indoor, include The Nutmeg Games (New Britain), Shoreline Sting (Guilford), Connecticut Tigers (West Hartford), Connecticut Bombers (Franklin) and the Watertown Rapids. Other hosts are currently evaluating whether they wish to join the group.
“All these tournament hosts run excellent events who have been doing it for many years, and they are also my customers who all send many teams to Fastpitch Nation events,” says Rocha, who expects the list to grow, not just from inside Connecticut but from throughout the region. “Quality events in neighboring states already have started reaching out to me.”