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Gold Medal the goal for WNT in Caracas, Venezuela
6/21/2010

Note: The International Softball Federation’s (ISF) XII Women's World Championship, June 23-July 2, in Caracas, Venezuela, will not be aired on television in the United States. Game recaps and stats will be available at www.usasoftball.com.

OKLAHOMA CITY – The USA Softball 2010 Women’s National Team, which includes four Olympic Champions and nine members of the Silver Medal winning squad from the 2008 Olympic Games, looks to continue the USA Softball legacy when they compete for the Gold Medal at the International Softball Federation’s (ISF) XII Women's World Championship, June 23-July 2, in Caracas, Venezuela.

"The moment it will probably all hit me will be when I put on my USA uniform for the first time," rookie Eileen Canney (Paradise, Calif.) said of playing for the USA in international competition. "I remember watching the team when I was younger and hoping that one day I would be given this amazing opportunity. It is such a great honor to be on the field with so many great players and represent our country."

The USA Softball Women’s National Team, the most decorated team in the history of the international game, has participated in 11 previous Worlds, winning eight Gold Medals, including the last six consecutive titles, and two Silver Medals. The last time the Americans were not crowned World Champions was in 1982, when the team came down with stomach flu after starting 6-0 in round robin play, and finished fourth. The team has also won three of four Olympic Gold Medals.

Canney made her debut in the Red, White and Blue, last week when the Women’s National Team and the USA Softball Women’s Futures National team sparred in four exhibition games in Canton and Ashland, Ohio. In their prep for Worlds, the Women’s National Team defeated Futures 5-0 and 7-0 in Canton. After tying 0-0 in Game 1 in Ashland, the Women’s National Team gained a third win, 6-0. (Stats for the Ohio exhibition games are available at www.usasoftball.com.)

Team USA starts the World Championship on June 24 at 1 p.m. local time against China. Team USA also plays against New Zealand June 25, Botswana on June 26, Australia on June 27, Dominican Republic on June 28 and Czech Republic on June 29. Playoffs are June 30 and July 1 with medal games on July 2. Recaps and stats from the games, none of which are televised in the United States, will be posted at www.usasoftball.com.

At the 2009 World Cup of Softball, the USA defeated 2008 Olympic Bronze Medalist Australia twice, including 3-1 in the Championship Game. The Americans and Aussies also clashed last year at the Canada Cup with USA winning 7-0 and 2-0. Of the other competitors Team USA will face during pool play in Caracas, none have posed much of a treat in recent seasons. Team USA defeated the Dominican Republic 15-0 in four innings at the 2009 Pan American Qualifier.

But in the other pool are both Japan, the 2008 Olympic Champions, and Canada, the only team to defeat the USA last season, which is led by two-time USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Danielle Lawrie (Langley, B.C.). The Canadians topped the USA, 3-1, in pool play at the Pan Am Qualifier but could not claim the tournament. Team USA won the Championship Game 3-1. Canada and Japan finished third and fourth in the 2009 World Cup.

"Playing USA Softball is an honor," said Jennie Finch (La Mirada, Calif.), 2004 Olympic Champion and 2008 Olympic Silver Medalist. "Wearing USA across your chest pushes you to be the best you can be. You want to play well for not only for yourself and your country but your teammates and all the players that have come before you. It's really special to be a part of this team. I feel so blessed to have the opportunity."

In World Championship play, Team USA has amassed a lifetime record of 106-10 (.914), the best in the history of the tournament. The American offense has outscored its opponents collectively 650-45. Out of the 106 wins, 88 have been by shutout, including the 3-0 Championship Game against Japan in 2006.

Following the action in Caracas, the USA National Team will end the season in front of a home crowd at the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City, Okla. Joining them for fifth World Cup of Softball, July 22-26, are teams from Canada and Japan as well as the Women's Futures National Team.

“The World Cup of Softball gets more exciting each and every year and 2010 is no exception,” said two-time Olympic Medalist Jessica Mendoza (Camarillo, Calif.), who is making her return to the National Team after giving birth to her son Caleb in August. “Where else can you see the best softball in the World and see the U.S. face off on home soil? Only at the World Cup in Oklahoma City. The fans have always been outstanding and we hope to put on quite a show come July.”

Tickets for the World Cup are on sale now at SoftballOutlet.com. For those unable to join the action in Oklahoma City, ESPN and ESPN 2 will air all of the USA Women's National Team games live as well as the men's slow pitch Border Battle between Canada and the USA.

Members of the Women's National Team will compete at the Canadian Open Fast Pitch International Championship, July 7-11, in Surrey, B.C. and exhibition games in Whitehorse, Yukon, July 13-14. National Team players will also be included on the rosters for the Japan Cup, August 3-9, in Sendai City, Japan. Futures players will fill out remaining roster spots.

For a roster of the 2010 USA Softball Women's National Team, visit www.usasoftball.com.

About ASA

The Amateur Softball Association, founded in 1933, is the National Governing Body of softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. The ASA has become one of the nation's largest sports organizations and now sanctions competition in every state through a network of 76 local associations. The ASA has grown from a few hundred teams in the early days to over 210,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than three million. For more information on the ASA, visit www.asasoftball.com.

About USA Softball

USA Softball is the brand created, operated and owned by the ASA that links the USA Men’s, Women’s, Junior Boys’ and Junior Girls’ National Team programs together. USA Softball is responsible for training, equipping and promoting these four National Teams to compete in international and domestic competitions. The USA Softball Women’s National Team is one of the only two women’s sports involved in the Olympic movement to capture three consecutive gold medals at the Olympic Games since 1996. The U.S. women have also won eight World Championship titles including the last six consecutive as well as claimed three World Cup of Softball titles. For more information about USA Softball, please visit www.usasoftball.com.

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