OKLAHOMA CITY — The 2020 USA Softball Women’s National Team (WNT) will begin the “Stand Beside Her” tour in Tampa, Fla. for an exhibition matchup against the University of South Florida (USF) on February 4 as the team begins preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Hosted by the City of Tampa Parks and Recreation Department, USF and the Children’s Athletic Network and Dance Opportunities, Inc (CANDO, INC), the Tampa tour stop will mark a homecoming for 2020 WNT Head Coach Ken Eriksen, who is stepping away from his role as Head Coach at USF as he leads the Red, White and Blue in their training throughout the tour.
“What an incredible once in a lifetime opportunity for our community to see the number one softball team in the world in our backyard,” said Eriksen. “A special thanks goes to the leadership of Jessica Perez with the CANDO, INC team, Heather Wolf-Erickson, the Athletics, Aquatics, and Special Facilities Manager for the City of Tampa and a USF alum, and USF Athletic Director Michael Kelly for coming together to make this happen for the City of Tampa, Hillsborough County, and the University of South Florida. The ‘Stand Beside Her’ tour is a statement not just for Team USA, but for every female that pursues a dream of excellence whether it’s in sport or other endeavors.”
Played at USF Softball Stadium (12499 USF Bull Run Drive, Tampa, Fla. 33617), fans will have the opportunity to watch the Red, White and Blue compete against USF at 6:30 p.m. ET. With proceeds for the game benefitting youth softball through the Tampa Parks and Recreation Department, tickets for the game go on sale January 8 through USFBullstix.com. Tickets will be $22 if purchased in advance and will be available at the ticket office for $25 on game day.
“As an organization whose mission it is to provide and enhance the athletic experiences for youth in Tampa Bay, we are honored to be a co-host of the ‘Stand Beside Her’ tour, said CANDO, Inc. President, Jessica Perez. “We can’t wait to see the very first pitch thrown and have our young athletes be a part of history being made on the 2020 Road to Tokyo!”
“We are thrilled to support Coach Eriksen and USA Softball in hosting this exhibition game at the USF Softball Stadium,” said USF Athletic Director, Michael Kelly. “It will be a special opportunity for our Bulls to take on the world’s best softball team and we look forward to having a great crowd at our elite facility.”
With the return of softball to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games program, the “Stand Beside Her” tour provides much-needed training and competition for the 2020 WNT in their preparation for the Olympic Games while also giving fans a chance to watch the Red, White and Blue in person. Olympic competition will start July 22, 2020 with the Gold Medal Game being played on July 28.
The “Stand Beside Her” tour evokes a powerful message of unity aimed to inspire communities to stand beside HER – the members of the WNT, America and the future generation of female athletes.
“The City of Tampa and USF has been a destination spot for many major sporting events and to have the support of the City has been very helpful,” said Tampa Mayor, Jane Castor. ‘‘We are so excited to welcome the USA Softball National Team, and to help them kick off their 2020 Road to Tokyo right here in Tampa! This team is not only a source of inspiration and national pride, but they’re also a reminder to young girls that they can do anything they set their minds to. We’re honored to cheer them on as they start this incredible journey to the Olympics!”
Additional stops for the “Stand Beside Her” tour will be announced at a later date. For more information on the “Stand Beside Her” tour, please visit StandBesideHerTour.com.