By: Jack Nevins
After spending 4 plus years playing collegiate softball at the highest level, these highly talented women are able to compete at the professional level, within the National Pro Fast-pitch. This league was originally the Women’s Professional Softball League, which was founded in 1997, and eventually fell out in 2001. This is a way for women to have an opportunity to play at the professional level following their collegiate career.
The first season of the WPF kicked off this summer with its inaugural game on June 15th. The new league has a summer based schedule and is centered in Oklahoma, where the NCAA World Series is held. The WPF was a creation by the USSSA and USA softball, who worked in collaboration to form a long-lasting new and improved professional softball league. The WPF contains 3 teams, the Smash It Sports Vipers (S&S Vipers), USSSA Pride, and the Oklahoma City Spark. The WPF has a mission to spread softball across the United states and internationally, to help collegiate softball players continue the longevity of their careers at the professional level. USA Softball CEO, Craig Cress is very excited about the launch of the new league and stated “We are looking forward to encouraging athletes to compete both professionally and internationally, and provide women more opportunities to continue their playing careers after college” (Florida Today).
The startup of the WPF has caught the eye of MLB players. Brandon Phillips, a three-time MLB all-star and a four-time gold-glove winner, has taken over the new WPF franchise located in Dallas. The fourth team of the WPF will be added in 2023 and will help bring attention to the team through branding during the months leading up to the 2023 season. Phillips is excited to start a new chapter in his life, but still has the same passion involved with baseball. When asked on how Phillips feels about this new league and his new purchase, he states “I’m very excited to become an owner of a franchise in the WPF. I’m looking forward to branching off into something new but very similar. It’s time to provide more opportunities for women to prolong their passion of this amazing game long after college to achieve their dreams” (wprofastpitch). The introduction of several high-profile athletes across the world of sports will help increase the popularity of the WPF.
The WPF will help to bring those who are willing to cross the bridge from collegiate sports to the professional level, in the terms of softball. It can also help other sports without professional leagues to make the introduction to the world of sports. The WPF is going to influence athletes around the world to take the next step in their athletic careers.