Oklahoma City---The Amateur Softball Association announced today the names of 14 umpires who have been selected to work the 2007 KFC World Cup of Softball and the KFC American Challenge Series. These elite umpires were chosen based on recommendations for local ASA associations along with knowledge of their abilities to umpire at the international level.
Six of the ASA umpires selected will be working the KFC World Cup of Softball. All six have worked at various international events while three are making a return to the World Cup after being selected for the 2006 World Cup.
Christie Cornwell of Greensboro, N.C., is making her second consecutive appearance as an umpire at the World Cup of Softball. She is a member of the North Carolina ASA where she has served as an ASA umpire for 14-years. She has umpired in six ASA National Championships including the Women’s Major Fast Pitch National Championship and the ASA Girls’ 18-Under Gold Fast Pitch National Championship twice.
“I am excited and honored to have been selected to umpire in the World Cup of Softball,” Cornwell said. “I have worked very hard to become an ISF certified umpire, always with the hopes and aspirations of working at the top level of international softball competition. ASA has provided me with a strong foundation of skills and training along with the tournament opportunities necessary to earn my ISF certification. The World Cup of Softball is a fabulous event and currently one of the most prestigious ASA/ISF events held in the USA. Being selected as an umpire to return to this event is a tremendous honor and is the greatest highlight of my ASA/ISF umpiring career.”
Christina Drumm of Oceanside, Calif., will be calling her second World Cup of Softball after serving as an umpire during the inaugural World Cup in 2005. Drumm, who has been an umpire for 13 years, most recently represented the ASA at the 2006 World University Games in Taipei, Taiwan as an umpire from the USA delegation. She has worked three ASA National Championships including the ASA Girl’s 18-Under Gold and Women’s Major Fast Pitch National as a member of the Southern California ASA.
“I am honored and humbled to be part of this event again,” Drumm said. “It’s exciting to umpire at the highest levels of softball and be part of this exceptional umpiring crew.”
Matt Dunbar of Miami, Fla., is making his first appearance as an umpire at the World Cup after serving as an ASA umpire for the past 12 years and working more than 10 ASA National Championships. He is a member of the South Florida ASA Association.
This is the pinnacle of my umpiring aspirations,” said Dunbar. “It is realization of the goal I set for myself some 10 years ago. Actually, it was the Olympics, but since softball won't be in the 2012 Olympics, The World Cup is where it's at. I thank the ASA and the ISF for recognizing me and having the confidence in my ability to umpire at this level. This is the best. I am really looking forward to working with these World Class athletes and some other really top notch umpires.”
Jim Gibillisco of Lemon Grove, Calif., a 34 year veteran in the ASA umpiring ranks, will be making his international debut when he takes the field for the KFC World Cup of Softball in July. During his tenure as a member of the Southern California ASA, Gibillisco has worked in nine ASA National Championships.
“Being selected to serve as an umpire for the 2007 World Cup of Softball is the culmination of an avocation that has provided thrills, excitement and countless friendships for well over 30 years,” Gibillisco said.
Dora Martinez of San Antonio, Texas, is one of three umpires who worked at the 2006 World Cup and will be making a return trip in 2007. Martinez is a member of the San Antonio ASA Association and has umpired for the past 10 years. She has been assigned to 12 ASA National Championships and two international events.
“WOW! I feel that umpiring in this prestigious event for a second time is the ultimate thrill in my umpire career,” Martinez said. “I am honored to represent ASA. Being chosen last year was a dream come true; to be chosen a second time is unbelievable. I am humbled by the confidence and trust ASA has in my abilities as an umpire. Throughout my career, many have contributed to my success--the most important are the ASA staff and my fellow umpires. Their mentoring and support have been essential to my career, and I am eternally grateful.”
Bryan Smith of Lansing, Mich., has been an ASA umpire for over 30 years and has represented the ASA at five different international events. He was a member of the umpiring crew that called the 2006 World Cup of Softball and is one of three back for the 2007 World Cup. Internationally he has worked at the Pan American Games, two ISF Men’s World Championships and the 2005 International Sports Invitational. A member of the Michigan ASA, Smith has umpired in 12 ASA National Championships.
“I am very honored to be selected as one of the umpires to not only represent the ASA program, but to also represent my country in this prestigious event,” Smith said.
Julie Johnson of Alexandria, Ind., will serve as the Umpire-In-Chief at the KFC World Cup of Softball for a second consecutive year. She is a member of the Indiana ASA and also serves as Deputy Supervisor on the ASA National Umpire Staff. Johnson will be assisted by Wayne Vaught of Yukon, Okla., who also served as the Umpire Coordinator at the 2006 World Cup.
Eight of the ASA umpires selected will be working the KFC American Challenge Series. These eight umpires all have over a decade of experience working at ASA National Championships are at the international level.
Mike Banda of Modesto, Calif., has umpired fast pitch softball for over two decades that includes working eight ASA National Championships. He was certified as an ISF umpire in 2001 and worked his first international event in 2002 at the U.S. Cup in Honolulu. Banda was called upon again for international competition in 2006 when he traveled to Hermosillo, Mexico to represent the United States at the VII Men’s Pan-American Qualifying tournament. He is a member of the Greater San Joaquin ASA.
"I am really excited and honored to be selected from the Greater San Joaquin Softball Umpire Association, Region 14 and the Western Territory to umpire at the inaugural American Challenge Series,” Banda said.
Keith Cook of Little Canada, Minn., will be working his second international competition in the past three years when he takes the field at the American Challenge Series. In 30 years as an ASA umpire, Cook has worked 12 ASA National Championships including the Men’s and Women’s Major Fast Pitch Nationals. In 2005, he traveled as the U.S. umpire to Prince Edward Island, Canada, with the USA Junior Men’s National Team for the ISF Junior Men’s World Championship.
“I am really looking forward to this assignment, especially this being the first American Challenge Series,” Cook said. “I really enjoy the fast pitch game at all levels of play and especially the high competition that exists on the international stage. I also think this is a fantastic way to showcase the talents of the USA Softball Men’s National Team alongside the Women's World Cup. I truly look forward to this exciting series.”
After working 19 years as an ASA Umpire, Pete Davis of Oceanside, Calif., will get the opportunity to work his first international event when he takes the field for the 2007 American Challenge Series. Davis is a member of the Southern California ASA and has been selected to work at six ASA National Championships.
Ted Germain of Mayville, Mich., worked his first international event at the first ever Modified World Tournament in 1993 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and now get the opportunity to work the first ever KFC American Challenge Series. Germain has been an active ASA umpire for almost 30 years and has been selected to work almost a dozen ASA National Championships. He is a member of the Michigan ASA.
“I am humbled and honored to be among the umpires selected to represent the ASA in this highly talented, challenging and most prestigious event,” Germain said. “ When discussing the USA/ASA umpire program, it is rich in talent, experience and above all, pride and character.”
Pete Grebner of Hudson, Wisc., became an ISF Certified Umpire in 1998 and will be working his first international event since receiving his certification when he umpires his first game at the American Challenge Series. Grebner has been umpiring for the St. Paul Metro ASA for over 20 years and has working nine ASA Men’s Fast Pitch National Championships including two at the Men’s Major National Championship.
I’m so excited and feel privileged to be selected to work this tournament,” Grebner said. “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to represent my country and this great sport, and I am looking forward to working with all of the other umpires, especially those from the other countries.”
Rick Havercroft of Saginaw, Mich., has been a member of the ASA umpiring fraternity for 35 years. During that time he has worked 12 ASA National Championships and has represented the United States at the 1996 ISF Men’s World Championship and in 2005 in New Zealand with the USA Men’s National Team. He is a member of the Michigan ASA.
“This is an honor for me to work this event,” Havercroft said. “We all strive to work such events and it is a real thrill to be selected from the many qualified umpires who could have been asked to umpire.”
Keith Kearney of Killeen, Texas is making a return trip to Oklahoma City after working the 2006 World Cup of Softball but this time he will be umpiring the men in the American Challenge Series. An ASA umpire for 24 years, Kearney has worked 18 ASA National Championships and this will mark the fourth international event he has been called upon to umpire.
“This is an extreme honor to work this type of event,” Kearney said. “Officiating the top teams in the world will be an exhilarating experience.”
Scott Thomas of Broken Arrow, Okla., has been working as an ASA umpire for 24 years and will be working his second international event during the American Challenge Series. He has worked eight ASA National Championships and represented the ASA internationally during the 2003 Pan American Games in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Thomas is a member of the Oklahoma ASA.
"This is such a great honor and privilege to umpire this event with such great umpires,” said Thomas.
Kevin Ryan of Stanley, N.C., will serve as the Umpire-In-Chief for the KFC American Challenge Series. He is currently the ASA Supervisor of Umpires and will also be assisted by Wayne Vaught of Yukon, Okla.
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