The International Senior Softball Association (ISSA) is bringing its Winter World and USA Championship softball tournaments to Daytona Beach at a festive time of year, November 17-19, 2017. Having access to activities other than great playing fields was key in the association’s decision to bring its popular series to Daytona Beach for the first time this year.
According to organizers, 60-80 teams made up of 16-players apiece are expected to compete over the three days on professional fields throughout the area, including Ormond Beach Sports Complex which has five full-size softball fields and sees national competitions throughout the year.
Competing in age brackets 50-75+men and 45-55+ women, the 1,000+ players and their families will be coming from 18 states and throughout Florida, including Naples, Bradenton, and Tampa. Division Champions from ISSA tournaments at Valdosta, Auburn, Salisbury and Cincinnati will compete on Friday for the USA Champions.
The family-run association based in Manassa, Va. is in its 23rd year and has seen exponential growth. “It’s really exploded the last four or five years,” said Greg Thomas, ISSA deputy executive director, whose father R.B. Thomas started the organization in 1994. “We’re seeing a 20% increase year over year,” said Thomas “and we’ll have 1,200 new entries this year.” The elder Thomas’ daughter, Sara Van Hook, will help out her father and brother while in Daytona Beach.
Hosted by the Holiday Inn & Suites Daytona Beach On The Ocean, Thomas said hotel and restaurant proximity to the playing fields was key for its association. “The rates have a big impact on getting people to come and location is a big factor for us,” said Thomas. “We have to find places that people want to go, places that offer other activities besides softball.”
Daytona Beach Area Festivals and Events Happening November 17-19
And by the looks of it, ISSA members will have no trouble finding a variety of entertainment during their stay:
• Moscow Symphony Orchestra, Peabody Auditorium November 17
• Stetson Mansion Christmas Spectacular Tours daily through January 15
• Magic of Lights® Holiday Display at Daytona International Speedway, daily from dusk to 10 p.m.
• Food Truck Wars, Main Street, Daytona Beach, November 18
• Riverfest Seafood Festival, Ormond Beach, November 18-19
• DeLand Fall Festival of Arts, November 18-19
• Irma Thomas, The Blind Boys of Alabama, and Preservation Hall Legacy Quintet, Peabody Auditorium, November 19
The tournaments are open to the public and are free to attend. For more information, please visit https://www.seniorsoftball.org/issa-winter-world-championships.html.
About the Daytona Beach Area: Discover the new Daytona Beach and its surrounding area, a resurging destination along Florida’s East Coast comprising eight distinct communities. Named by BizBash as a 2017 Top 25 Destination for Small Meetings and by SportsEvents as a Top Sports Vacation Spot, Daytona Beach is recognized worldwide for its annual events including Bike Week, Biketoberfest®, the Rolex 24 At Daytona and the Daytona 500. Daytona Beach’s famed heritage also claims the headquarters of LPGA and NASCAR -- and is home to Daytona International Speedway, the ‘World Center of Racing.’ With more than 12,000 beds, the destination boasts accommodations for all lifestyles and budgets including resorts, B&Bs, hotels and everything in between. Ranked #1 in Travel Channel’s 2017 “Top 10 Attractions in Florida, and one of TripAdvisor’s 2016 “10 Most Affordable Beach Vacations on Florida’s East Coast” and “25 Most Popular Summer Vacation Rental Spots in the US.” Visitors can enjoy the quintessential vacation experience beginning with the Daytona Beach Boardwalk and Pier, or choose from a surprising list of attractions and cultural venues and a colorful culinary scene. With 23 miles of world-famous beaches ideal for swimming and surfing, it is no surprise Daytona Beach was chosen as a Best Florida Attraction and Best Spring Family Beach Break Destination in the Top 10 Best Readers’ Choice travel award contests sponsored by USA TODAY. To order a complimentary comprehensive Official Visitors Guide or book a stay, visit DaytonaBeach.com. For real-time updates, visit Facebook.com/DaytonaBeach or Twitter.com/DaytonaBeachFun.
About International Senior Softball Association: Begun in 1994, International Senior Softball Association (ISSA) held its first championship in 1995 and now sees play at 26 tournaments across 15 states and Canada. ISSA is a not-for-profit corporation organized in 1994 by experienced softball administrators to provide the senior players a voice in the sport and the opportunity to participate in and experience the highest quality world-class tournaments. The ISSA is an Allied Member of the Amateur Softball Association or America, the National Governing Body for the sport of softball. ISSA Executive Director, RB Thomas, Jr. is also the Director of Senior Softball for the International Softball Federation and has annually conducted the ISF Senior World Cup since 2002. In 2011, the ISSA expanded its tournament program to new and exciting venues thoughout the United States.