Softball Preview

The U.S. women’s national softball team will look for the program’s fourth Olympic gold medal following the sport’s 13-year hiatus from the Olympic Games. With softball’s removal from the Olympic program following the Olympic Games Beijing 2008, both baseball and softball were added to the program for Tokyo as a part of the Olympic Agenda 2020, which encourages innovation in the Olympic program.

The No. 1 ranked team in the world, Team USA punched its ticket to the Tokyo Games by winning the 2018 WBSC Women’s Softball World Championship — the 11th overall for the program. Team USA will look to reclaim the gold medal from No. 2 Japan, which upset the Americans at the Beijing Games to hand the U.S. its first Olympic silver medal after three consecutive golds. The remaining competitors are No. 3 Canada, No. 5 Mexico, No. 8 Australia and No. 10 Italy.

Members of the team were selected in October 2019 at the Olympic Team Selection Trials, led by head coach Ken Eriksen. At the helm of the program since 2011, Eriksen has guided the team to back-to-back world championship titles and Pan American gold and silver medals. Eriksen also has previous Olympic experience, serving as an assistant coach for the 2004 U.S. Olympic softball team, which put on one of the most dominating performances in Olympic history. 

Updated on June 21, 2021. For more information, contact the sport press officer here.

• Having medaled in every Olympic Games featuring softball, Team USA is considered by many to be the favorite heading into Tokyo. Currently ranked the No. 1 team in the world, the U.S. has established itself as a perennial powerhouse, having claimed 11 total world championship titles, three Olympic gold medals and one Olympic silver medal. Overall, the U.S. holds a 33-5 Olympic record.

• Having served as the head coach for the U.S. since 2011, Ken Eriksen will lead Team USA at the Tokyo Games. Eriksen is establishing himself as one of the winningest coaches in USA Softball history, currently sitting in second in wins for the program behind fellow hall of fame coach Ralph Raymond. 

• Since the sport’s removal from the Olympic program, the U.S. has developed a core group of veterans heading into the Olympic Games. Valerie Arioto and Michelle Moultrie have made every U.S. roster since 2011. Additional veterans include Haylie McCleney, Kelsey Stewart, Aubree Munro and Janie Reed. Also returning to the national team are Olympians Monica Abbott and Cat Osterman — both members of the 2008 U.S. Olympic softball team that won a silver medal. Osterman also earned a gold medal at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.


• Infielder Valerie Arioto, 32, will bring veteran leadership to the U.S. Olympic softball team. Having been on the national team since 2011, Arioto is one of the most feared hitters in the game. At the 2018 world championship, where the U.S. locked up Olympic qualification, she hit .350 and a team-leading nine walks.

• Holding down center field for the national team, Haylie McCleney is one of the best outfielders in the game. Using both speed and power, McCleney sat tied atop the leaderboard at the 2018 world championship with 14 runs scored and led Team USA with a .520 average. McCleney, who turns 27 on July 11, played college softball at Alabama. 

• Pitchers Monica Abbott, who will turn 36 in Tokyo, and Cat Osterman, 38, will bring Olympic experience to the team. The two southpaws bring a depth of international pitching experience. Abbott posted a 0.29 ERA and a 3-0 record at the Beijing Games, while Osterman has earned two Olympic medals — one gold and one silver — two world championship gold medals and two Pan American Games gold medals.

• July 21, 2021: The U.S. opens Olympic play with an opening round match against Italy.
• July 22, 2021: U.S. vs. Canada
• July 24, 2021: U.S. vs. Mexico
• July 25, 2021: U.S. vs. Australia
• July 26, 2021: U.S. vs. Japan
• July 27, 2021: Bronze- and gold-medal games