June 4, 2002
OKLAHOMA CITY - Seven current or former UCLA softball players were on the list when USA Softball announced the roster for its 2002 Women's National Team on Tuesday. The team will attempt to win an unprecedented fifth consecutive title at the ISF Women's World Championship in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, July 26-August 4. Bruins on the team include Lisa Fernandez, Amanda Freed, Keira Goerl, Lyndsey Klein, Tairia Mims, Stacey Nuveman and Natasha Watley.
Additionally, former Bruin Courtney Dale has been named to USA Softball's Elite Team, which will help prepare the World Championship team for the upcoming international events by competing in scrimmages and exhibition games prior to the World Championship. The Elite Team will also play at the Canada Cup in Surrey, B.C., Canada, July 12-21.
A group of 57 of the nation's top female softball players was culled down to a 17-player roster for the World Championship, after participating in the Women's World Championship Tryout Camp, May 30-June 2, in Chula Vista, CA.
Only six members of the gold medal team from the 2000 Olympic Games remain for the World Championship - Leah O'Brien-Amico, Chino Hills, CA; Laura Berg, Santa Fe Springs, CA; Lisa Fernandez, Long Beach, CA; Lori Harrigan, Las Vegas, NV; Stacey Nuveman, La Verne, CA and Michele Smith, Califon, NJ.
The World Championship roster also includes, Jennie Finch, La Mirada, CA; Amanda Freed, Cypress, CA; Nicole Giordano, Saugus, CA; Keira Goerl, Moreno Valley, CA; Lovie Jung, Fountain Valley, CA; Lyndsey Klein, Roseville, CA; Nina Lindenberg, Anaheim Hills, CA; Jessica Mendoza, Camarillo, CA; Tairia Mims, Tucson, AZ; Jenny Topping, Whittier, CA and Natasha Watley, Irvine, CA.
Coaches for the 2002 USA Softball Women's World Championship team will be Head Coach Mike Candrea (Casa Grande, AZ) from the University of Arizona, Assistant Coach Ken Eriksen (Tampa, FL) from the University of South Florida and Assistant Coach John Rittman, (Stanford, CA) from Stanford University.
"I think this team is very talented and is a good mix of young and experienced players," said Candrea. "I'm very excited to get the opportunity to work with a team that has a combination of both power and speed."
The 2002 ISF Women's World Championship serves as the major qualifier for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. The top five teams from the World Championship will qualify for Athens and will be seeded in the order they finish. The USA has been the top seed in the past two Olympics and looks to secure its third top seed during the World Championship.
"This World Championship is going to be very important for us, since this is the seeding for the Olympics," said Candrea. "I'm eager to get everything going and begin to prepare this team for the upcoming events."
The USA's record of 44-1 in World Championship play dating back to 1986 includes four straight titles, an unchallenged record in the sport. A successful title defense by the USA would give the it the number one world ranking for the 16th consecutive year.
USA Softball Women's National Teams have been among the most dominating of any sports team in history. The USA 's ability to bring home the title in World Championships, Pan American Games and the Olympics is unchallenged, with a total of 13 gold medals.
The USA Softball Women's National Team won the first Olympic gold medal in the sport's history during the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, GA , and defended its gold medal at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney . The USA Softball Women's National Team, which has won the past four World Championships, the past four Pan Am Games and the past two Olympic gold medals, is the undisputed No. 1 team in the world.
The Amateur Softball Association, founded in 1933, is the National Governing Body of Softball in the United States and a member of the United States Olympic Committee. As the National Governing Body, the ASA is responsible for identifying, selecting and training male and female athletes to compete in World, Pan American and Olympic competitions.