The 31st of December is over. This means the deadline for the entries of the Championships and the Cups are closed now. It is great to see that many Championships and Cups have broken records for the number of participating teams as well as the number of new participating countries. It shows the development of softball in Europe. Let’s have a look at the overview for 2018.
EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS 2018 ENTRIES
U-19 Women's European Championship in Staranzo, Italy (June 16 - 21). There are 20 teams that will battle for the title this year. This is a new record since the first championship in 1991. We may welcome Ireland, Bulgaria and Malta for the very first time. Tough to say who are we more excited for. Ireland sending an U-19 team after they have only had senior fastpitch in their country? Looks like we are witnessing the beginning of youth fastpitch development in Ireland (their junior team also participated in the World Championship last year). We've noticed that Malta had woken up being active especially with their EU-funded projects, so participation at a championship is a great result of the Maltese development. Bulgaria, welcome, thank you for the great surprise.
U-22 Women's European Championship in Trnava, Slovakia (July 23 - 28). With this championship, another record for participating teams has been broken. A great number of 17 teams will participate this year. We are also super excited to see Slovakia taking the responsibility for organizing an official championship. This event may turn into a great opportunity to promote softball in Slovakia as this is also their strongest category.
Men's (Fastpitch) European Championship in Havlíčkův Brod, the Czech Republic (June 25 - 30). This year we may welcome twelve national teams which is, again, a new record. We will see the national team of Lithuania playing here for the first time ever, great to see them in an official tournament after their participation at Baltic Open in 2016. It is satisfying to see that none of the novices from 2016 has dropped out. Also - welcome back, Slovakia!
Men's Slowpitch European Championship in Choceň, the Czech Republic (June 12 - 16). Nine national teams have signed up for this championship. Since this is the very first tournament ever, this is a great number to start with. It will be very interesting to see in Great Britain will dominate in the single-sex slowpitch competition like they do in coed (yes, until the last year, we have you in our minds, Germany ;)).
CUP ENTRIES 2018
Women's European Premiere Cup in Forli, Italy (August 20 - 25). This will be the 18th Premiere Cup hosting for Italy. They will welcome 10 teams in total with Olympia Haarlem and Žraloci Ledenice as total newcomers.
Women's European Cup Winners Cup in Capelle aan de IJssel, the Netherlands (August 20 - 25). Debutant Euro Stars will host their very first cup this year. 17 teams will battle at the Dutch field. The host is super-excited about bringing all these European teams to their venue to enjoy a week of softball. Plus - Titans from Botswana enjoyed the last year's participation at the Women's Cup in Montegranaro so much that they are coming back.
Women's European Cup in La Loggia, Italy (August 20 - 25). For the first time in the history of all the women's cups ever we will welcome team ISA all the way down from New Zealand. This is again very satisfying to see - ISA (International Softball Academy New Zealand) sent their U-16 men's team to a tournament in the Czech Republic (Joudrs International Cup), having had a great time in Europe, they have decided to send their women's team as well. We also have another team from Botswana taking part in the Cup, sometimes it is not only about helping our (European) teams, but about giving a chance to those, who have not so many opportunities to play in their region. There will be a lot of new competition since 9 out of 11 teams are total newcomers to this cup.
Men's European Super Cup in Prague, the Czech Republic (September 3 - 8). With 21 participating teams this will be a great tournament. Since the start of the Super Cup in 2012, we will welcome teams from Great Britain and Israel for the first time. It looks like after Junior Back Sox and U-19 Argentina there is no special guest to this edition, but don't be mistaken! Super Cup will take place right after the Intercontinental Cup (also held in Prague) where there will be non-European national teams of New Zealand, Japan, USA, Argentina, and Botswana, and what better pickup players would you wish for? We might witness the best-rostered tournament in the history of men's fastpitch in Europe.
Coed Slowpitch European Super Cup in Riccione, Italy (July 31 - August 4). With a number of 19 participating teams, a new record for this cup has been broken. Italy will enter the cup for the very first time. All the participating teams are getting introduced at the Softball Europe Slowpitch Facebook page these days, you may wanna check that out.
European Massimo Romeo Youth Trophy in Collecchio, Italy (August 15 - 18). At this moment there are four entries for the Sport Division and two entries for the Future Division. Since the official deadline is on the 15th of April, these are not the final entries for this year. Having seen the increase in the last year, we are awaiting another record to get broken here.
-Romy Marinus, Helena Novotna-
/cover photo by Fabrizio Casalini/