Executive Insights: USA Softball
6 Mar, 2020By: John Miller
About USA Softball: USA Softball (USAS) is a 501(c)(3) not-for profit organization headquartered in Oklahoma City and is designated as the National Governing Body (NGB) of Softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee. One of the nation’s largest sports organizations, USAS sanctions competition through a network of Local Associations, which includes all 50 states and select metro associations. USAS is dedicated to providing people of all ages the opportunity to play the game they love at a variety of levels by offering recreational, league, tournament and competitive play for fast pitch, slow pitch and modified pitch. USAS annually conducts thousands of tournaments throughout the country including over 100 national championships. The USAS umpire program is among the nation’s largest and is widely known for having the best trained umpires in the game.
As the NGB for the sport of softball, USAS is responsible for training, equipping and promoting the six USA Softball National Teams that compete in events such as the Olympics, Pan American Games, World Championships and other international and domestic events.
Sports Destination Management: Softball continues to be one of the most popular sports at the youth and amateur level in the U.S. The website indicates there are more than 120,000 teams registered. Is there any indication as to whether that number is increasing, decreasing or staying the same?
John Miller: The state of softball continues to be strong both at the national and international levels. With the added exposure of softball returning to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the future is bright for our sport and USA Softball will continue to provide opportunities for people to be involved in our great game at all levels.
SDM: Is there any indication that there are more players at certain age groups than others?
Miller: Over the years, we have seen an increase in youth participation, with more and more athletes participating at the collegiate level as there are opportunities to continue to play with the possibility of a college scholarship. Softball is a fun and competitive sport at all levels, so adults tend to stay in the game well after their collegiate or youth careers are over. From the athletes who play the game, the coaches who devote their time into educating their teams, and the umpires who officiate and continue their training to be the best they can be, we aspire to grow and continue the work of growing those numbers across the board.
SDM: Does USA Softball have any participation initiatives in place to help grow the game?
Miller: USA Softball will continue to build upon our sport by working with different groups here in the United States and globally. Our network of local associations across the U.S. also continue to be the driving force behind our membership as they promote and grow the game at the grassroots level. We’re also entering into our fifth year of our PLAY BALL partnership with Major League Baseball and USA Baseball. This initiative encourages widespread participation in all forms of softball and baseball activities among all age groups, especially the youth level. One particular aspect of this partnership is our role in helping the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program, which provides opportunities to young men and women to receive free, year-round baseball and softball instruction, as well as other educational services through MLB Youth Academies.
SDM: USA Softball offers various forms of the game, and over 100 championships. If a location is interested in hosting championship events, where should they start?
Miller: We encourage all cities who wish to bid on a National Championship to form a relationship with their respective local association. Our partnerships really begin at the local level.
SDM: What do you look for when seeking a host site for a championship event?
Miller: There are a number of factors that go into the awarding of a city. Playing facilities, number of fields and the support at the Local Association level from the community or CVB are just a few. SDM