“This is a rare opportunity to see the best coaches and players in the world, as well as supporting our own elite local athletes and coaches," Norman said. “It’s an honor not to be missed.”
The Team USA doubleheader games against the Alabama Stars, a group of Alabama's best college softball players, will be held at 6 and 8 p.m. on July 20 at Rhoads Softball Stadium. Following the games, an autograph session will be held with the team, giving fans the opportunity to meet their favorite players.
Crimson Tide fans who regularly attend games at Rhoads Stadium are thrilled about the upcoming Team USA visit. Senior UA student Bre Williamson thinks it’s a great opportunity for the community.
“For lots of young girls in town, just seeing the Crimson Tide women’s team play is a real treat. For the women’s Olympic softball team to be coming to Tuscaloosa for an exhibition, plus a meet and greet is probably a dream come true,” Williamson said. “I can’t wait till the exhibition, and the chance to meet some really accomplished and talented athletes.”
The USA Women’s National Softball Team is one of the most highly decorated programs in softball history. Team USA has won three consecutive Olympic Gold Medals: in 1996, 2000, and 2004, along with a silver medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
At the 2004 Olympics in Greece, Sports Illustrated gave the team the title of the “Real Dream Team” for the numerous records the team broke that year. The Olympic team has surpassed a total of 18 Olympic records that they still hold today.
Team USA dominates the sport, breaking multiple records with wins against their competitors, and a lifetime record of 142-13. Team Japan is a close second, with most of the records previously tied until the 2004 Olympic Games. In 2004, the International Olympic Committee removed softball from the games – but it’s been reinstated for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Team USA has two Alabama area native players. Kasey Cooper (Dothan, Ala.) is an infielder from Auburn University, and Haylie McCleney (Morris, Ala.) is an outfielder from The University of Alabama. Cooper and McCleney were among 20 players selected by members of the Women's National Team Selection Committee (WNTSC) after a four-day camp in Clearwater, FL.
The 20 Olympic athletes will compete against Team Japan on Aug. 25-27 in Takasaki City, Japan at the Japan Cup. This game comes after Team USA lost to Japan in the 2008 Olympic Softball Finals in Beijing.
Team USA will also hold exhibition games at Jane B. Moore Field in Auburn on July 22. Tickets for the games are available at usasoftballofalabama.com.