Olympic Gold Medalist Natasha Watley named Youth Softball Ambassador for Major League Baseball

Feb. 07, 2019, 4:42 p.m. (ET)

OKLAHOMA CITY – Olympic Goldand SilverMedalist and former National Champion with the UCLA Bruins Natasha Watley(Irvine, Calif.)has been nameda Major League Baseball (MLB)Youth Softball Ambassador, as recently announced by the MLB.

 

Watley will support MLB’s Baseball & Softball Development group with initiatives and strategies that are designed to grow softball at the amateur and youth levels. Watley’s appointment is the latest in a string of efforts by MLB to increase softball participation, which was catalyzed by its partnership with USA Softball in 2016. Since then, the two organizations have developed the Softball Breakthrough Series and the Softball Elite Development Invitational, and have operated clinics at MLB Youth Academies throughout the year. Watley will join Finch, who was also named an MLB Youth Softball Ambassador in 2017 and has since expanded her role to be the Youth Programs Ambassador.

 

“I’m so excited and honored to be partnered with MLB,” Watley said. “With their big initiatives and push to get more girls playing softball, I couldn’t be more proud to be an ambassador for young girls playing ball!”

 

Watley, an integral member of the Gold Medal-winning Team USA during the 2004 Olympics in Athens, is a former infielder for the UCLA Bruins. She is also a member of the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame.

 

Watley and current Women’s National Team member Sahvanna Jaquish will participate in a ‘PLAY BALL’ event followed by a two-hour baseball and softball clinic on Saturday, Feb. 9 at the Compton MLB Youth Academy. Both events, which are free for participants, are part of MLB’s efforts to encourage and support young women interested in playing diamond sports. This event, along with a similar event held at the New Orleans MLB Youth Academy on Saturday, Feb. 2 led by Finch, celebrates ‘National Girls & Women in Sports Day,’ which was founded by theWomen's Sports Foundationand was officially observed Wednesday, Feb. 6.

 

About USA Softball

USA Softball is a 501(c)(3) not-for profit organization headquartered in Oklahoma City, Okla., and is designated as the National Governing Body (NGB) of Softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. One of the nation’s largest sports organizations, USA Softball sanctions competition through a network of Local Associations, which includes all 50 states and select metro associations, and has grown from a few hundred teams in the early days to over 120,000 teams today, representing a membership of more than 2 million.  USA Softball is dedicated to providing people of all ages the opportunity to play the game they love at a variety of levels by offering recreational, league, tournament and competitive play for fast pitch, slow pitch and modified pitch.  USA Softball annually conducts thousands of tournaments throughout the country including over 100 National Championships.  The USA Softball umpire program is among the nation’s largest and are widely known as the best trained umpires in the game. 

 

As the NGB for the sport of softball, USA Softball is responsible for training, equipping and promoting the six USA Softball National Teams that compete in events such as the Olympics, Pan American Games, World Championships and other international and domestic events. For more information on USA Softball, including its founding and history as the Amateur Softball Association of America (ASA), please visit, www.USASoftball.com.