What Now for USA Softball?

(AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – You have followed them passionately and loyally the past year and now its time to catch up with the 2008 USA Softball Women's National team to see what they have been doing after spending the past nine months on the road and winning a silver medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.

Although Crystl Bustos (Canyon Country, Calif.) retired her cleats, her presence on the softball field is still known as she is still busy with camps and clinics while also trying to grow her non-profit agency, dedicated to help low-income family pay fees, dues and for equipment so they can be involved in sports. Four-time Olympian Laura Berg (Santa Fe Springs, Calif.) and two-time Olympian Jennie Finch (La Mirada, Calif.) are both keeping busy giving lessons and hosting camps and clinics. Kelly Kretschman (Indian Harbour Beach, Fla.) is also on the circuit giving lessons and helping out at camps and clinics.

Several from the team are now outside of the lines as coaches. Cat Osterman (Houston, Texas) is in her second season as an assistant coach at DePaul University while Lauren Lappin (Anaheim, Calif.) joins Osterman in Chicago as a volunteer coach at Northwestern University. Osterman is also beginning her classes to get her MBA from DePaul. Both Tairia Flowers (Tucson, Ariz.) and Vicky Galindo (Union City, Calif.) are entering their second season as assistant coaches at Long Beach State and San Jose State University, respectively.

Making her debut in the collegiate coaching ranks is Stacey Nuveman (La Verne, Calif.) who will serve as an assistant coach for the San Diego State University softball program. Monica Abbott (Salinas, Calif.) is working on finishing her degree at the University of Tennessee and is also putting on the Monica Abbott All Star Softball Clinics. Caitlin Lowe (Tustin, Calif.) is also working on finishing her degreeatthe University of Arizonawhile Andrea Duran (Selma, Calif.) is spending time on the PFX Tour.

Lovie Jung (Fountain Valley, Calif.), who also retired her cleats after her second Olympic experience, is on track to become a fire fighter in the state of California. Natasha Watley (Irvine, Calif.) is at her alma mater, UCLA, for her fifth season as a volunteer assistant coach.

Jessica Mendoza (Camarillo, Calif.) is currently in Europe withformer head coach Mike Candrea (Tucson, Ariz.) conducting clinics in both London and Italy. USAsoftball.com recently received a blog from Mendoza on her experience.

"Coach Candrea and I have just spent the last three days doing clinics throughout the London, England area and it has been an experience of a lifetime. Our first day started off speaking to coaches from all over the world ? from Argentina, Bolivia, the Netherlands, Spain, Venezuela, Israel, Belgium, France, and of course the UK.

Anyone who thinks softball is not an international sport should have been in this room! We then spent the next three days, from about 9 am to 9 pm every day, talking/presenting to coaches and doing clinics for players ranging from ages 12-30. The attitudes and enthusiasm these young women brought out to the field each day was remarkable and it was so fun to get a glimpse of the softball atmosphere here in England. We shared a lot of laughs because they thought Coach Candrea and my "accents" were really funny and there are a lot of American English words that got sort of "lost in translation" when heard as British English.

To be honest, we spent so much time and shared so much with these amazing players and coaches that when it came time to say goodbye, it felt like it had been months we had known and worked with them. It was inspiring for Coach Candrea, Ronnie Isham (Director of national teams) and myself to truly see how vast the softball community is, and how much passion for the growth of this game exists globally.Bob Fromer, Hayley Scott and Mike Jennings were the main people from Baseball Softball UK that not only made this possible, but made it an experience none of us will ever forget.

It will be hard to top the friends and impressions the last few days have made on us in England, but we are now off to Italy to work with many more and I am sure to have a lot more fun stories to share! Cheers from the UK!!"

Mendoza has been participating in the PFX Tour and will take over as President of the Women's Sports Foundation on January 1, 2009. Candrea will return to the University of Arizona toattempt to lead the Wildcats to a third National Championship in four years. Candrea retired from the USA Softball program after leading the team to a silver medal finish at the 2008 Olympic Games.

For more information about USA Softball, please visit http://www.usasoftball.com/.

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