Softball Queensland is thrilled that 8 of our players have been selected in the Aussie Spirit team that will compete in the National Pro Fastpitch league in the USA this year.
These athletes are:
- Chelsea Forkin
- Justine Smethurst
- Carmie Sorensen
- Erin Thras
- Jess Torpey
- Jade Wall
- Melinda Weave
- Tamieka Whitefield
SQI spoke with a number of the players about their excitement and their expectations for the competition
- What does this selection mean for you personally?
To be selected into the Aussie Spirit team for the NPF is a dream come true. Playing in one of the toughest professional softball leagues in the world will help me become a better player and prepare the Australian team for World Championships and Olympic Qualifications leading toward the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
It’s an experience I never thought I would have a chance to be apart of. It’s a chance to immerse myself in softball.”
Re-selection after a whole year off from 2 surgeries, has been one of the best feelings of my career. There is no better feeling being able to wear the green and gold and representing your country.
Any opportunity to represent our country is always an honor and what better opportunity to do it again among one of the best professional leagues in the world.
2. What are you hoping to learn from this experience?
I’m looking forward to soaking up everything about this experience, from the huge amount of games we will play, to competing regularly against some of the best in the world. I also hope to be able to give back to the local communities by taking softball clinics to help our game grow.
I think it will be a learning experience in all aspects, specifically how professional athletes go about their business.
I’m excited to see how hard I can push myself and the levels I can achieve being in an environment when we are purely focused on Softball.
I’m looking forward to learning how professional team/s go about their business, from preparation, game load, recovery, off field interaction with local softball organisations/fans etc..
3. What are your thoughts and expectations about what the competition, lifestyle etc will be like?
Playing in the NPF will be the opportunity of a lifetime, playing against some of the world’s best players and getting the opportunity to play every day. Most of the softballers (including myself) work fulltime and train and play softball outside of work, so it will be great to be a truly professional athlete, focusing only on playing softball.
It will be a hard grind in regards to work load and competition but it’s something I’m definitely looking forward to. Being a part of a team and surrounded by your mates always makes that worthwhile!
This is a great opportunity to be exposed to different overseas pitchers and being able to purely focus on Softball. I am so lucky to be able to travel the world getting to play the sport that I love and meeting new people.
I expect the competition to be of a very high standard. America have produced and continue to produce high quality softball players through their college system and no doubt these players have filtered into their professional league. Personally, it will be a great opportunity to be a ‘professional’ athlete, surround myself among professional athlete’s and work towards our goal of GOLD in Tokyo.
In a ground-breaking move, Softball Australia and the NPF have arranged for the Aussie Spirit to compete as one of five teams in the NPF.
The Spirit will play 48 games in their debut season, which starts on May 19 with the first of 12 games against the Beijing Eagles to open the 2018 NPF season.
The Spirit will be based at Missouri Western University and play “home” games in Missouri and surrounding states.
The Aussie Spirit’s final NPF game will be against the Cleveland Comets on July 18, after which they will travel to Japan to prepare for the World Championship, which is potentially also a qualifying event for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
For more information visit: http://www.softball.org.au/26-player-aussie-spirit-team-set-to-take-on-npf/