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June 26th Update

Hello Everyone and Welcome to Summer!

A lot has changed in a year. In spite of the fact that we were not able to host Nor Cals again this year it's obvious that more and more softball is being played as restrictions loosen up, which is fantastic. I have several topics I want to mention in this update. 

LEAGUE BOUNDARIES

It has come to our attention that more and more parents are "shopping" for B and C travel teams for their child to play on. Please remember that teams formed outside of our guidelines for B and C are classified as A. We have done this for years in order to support the local recreation leagues and make it a benefit of being a USA Softball registered league. There is no "high school rule" type option for 8U, 10U and 12U. Any B and C teams in those age classifications must be approved by the local league forming the team. Furthermore, only players who are registered in that league or who meet the requirements of interleague play may participate. Leagues cannot accept players from another league to play on their travel teams that don't meet these requirements. We have been very liberal in not requiring that kids come strictly from a league's boundaries and that has worked well in allowing kids that go to school in a different city than they live in or that may spend time in more than one household to play with their friends or where it is most convenient. However, if it continues to be an issue we will have no choice but to more strictly enforce league boundaries. Please assist us by not encouraging players who are not part of your league to try out for your B and C teams. 

CLASSIFICATION AND REGISTRATION OF TEAMS ON TOURNAMENT USA SOFTBALL

A reminder to all Tournament Directors that teams can sign up for your event on Tournament USA Softball in whatever classification they want and without having completed their USA Softball registration. It is important that all Tournament Directors verify that teams are in the proper classification and are duly registered with USA Softball. Also please remember that registering for a tournament on Tournament USA Softball does not mean that the team has completed their registration with USA Softball. All players and coaches need to be individually registered and meet all of the other requirements such as SafeSport, ACE and concussion training in order to participate in USA Softball sanctioned tournaments. Contact your District Commissioner if you are not sure about a particular team. 

SOFTBALL PRICE INCREASE

We have been notified by Dudley that the price of softballs will be increasing on September 1 so it may make sense to orders balls for next year early. Those wishing to order balls at current prices should contact Chris Sims at chrisjsims@mountainpacificsales.com

REGIONALS, NATIONALS AND WESTERN NATIONALS

Teams wishing to participate in this year's Regionals, Western Nationals and Nationals should begin the registration process immediately. We have limited berths in the C Regionals and have already contacted those teams and have begun the process of who will be awarded berths. Teams wishing to attend the B Western Nationals or any of the A Western Nationals or Nationals should sign up on Tournament USA Softball. Remember for the B and C events you must be classified by USA Softball of Northern California. The link for the 10B, 12B and 14B that is being hosted in Sacramento is https://gfp.tournamentusasoftball.com/i!/tournaments/tournamentDetails.php?TID=52498

 

Have a happy and safe Fourth of July. 

John Gouveia, Commissioner
USA Softball of Northern California

 

May 19th update regarding Nor Cal JO Championships

Hello All

I'm sorry to have to tell you that we will once again be forced to cancel our Nor Cal Championships. In spite of some counties moving to the yellow tier there is no new information that would indicate we would be able to conduct a tournament style event that includes having multiple teams from multiple counties participating .  The Governor's date to "fully open" is not until June 15, and we don't know if the guideline of allowable activities would include events like the Nor Cal Championships, and have decided we cannot wait any longer. There are simply too many unanswered questions. In addition, this will give teams the opportunity to look for alternative events that might exist. 

Sadly, this will be the second year in a row that we have had to cancel our signature event. On the positive side, softball is definitely being played this year and that is certainly a move in the right direction. As I indicated in my last message those wishing to advance to the next level of play will be given a berth. A completed and approved Championship Roster, a signed National Tournament Entry Form and the Entry Fee will need to be sent to the respective Tournament in order to participate. Please let Sandy Scott know if you plan to advance so we can make sure all of your paperwork is taken care of in a timely fashion.

Though we had hoped to have better news we are all very thankful that the pandemic is becoming part of our rear view mirror and we all can look forward to even better days ahead in the coming months and years.     

John Gouveia, Commissioner
USA Softball of Northern California

May 9th Message

Hello everyone

I first want to take a moment to wish all of the moms, stepmoms, foster moms and anyone who serves as a mother figure a belated Happy Mothers Day. I truly hope it was wonderful. 

I have several updates to share, along with some other information.

LEAGUE PLAY

It appears that leagues have begun to play in many parts of the Nor Cal territory, which is great to see! Registrations have been coming in and I know our staff has worked hard to calculate the credits due to those leagues and organizations that requested them and once again we thank you for your patience as we navigated through that process. I would also like to welcome the Vacaville Girls Fastpitch League as the newest member of the Nor Cal family! We are very happy that we were able to assist them in making the transition to USA Softball and expect that we will start to see teams from that organization playing some tournament ball sometime in the future. I tip my cap to the group of dedicated volunteers who kept the league going. 

SOFTBALLS

I realize that many of you may still have a healthy supply of softballs left from last year but if you find there is a need to order balls please take advantage of the favorable pricing we receive from our partnership with Dudley. Attached is a price sheet. Keep in mind that the official balls for Nor Cal are the CFP 12Y for 12U and above, the SBC 11Y or CFP 11Y for 10U and the 4A146PT Level 1 for 8U. Those interested can send the completed form to Chris Sims at chrisjsims@mountainpacificsales.com. 


MLB PITCH HIT AND RUN

USA Softball is partners with Major League Baseball for the Pitch Hit and Run program, which offers competition for both baseball and softball. I know everyone is scrambling to get their leagues going and may not have time for much else this year, but I wanted to make sure everyone is aware of the program and will consider adding it to your league activities, if not this year then in the future. The finals are held at the MLB All-Star Game! Here is the link: https://www.mlb.com/pitch-hit-and-run. Please take a look and see how you might be able to incorporate an event into your league.


NOR CAL CHAMPIONSHIPS

This year's Championships are scheduled for June 18-20 and June 25-27. As of this communication we are still unsure if local health guidelines will allow tournament type events at that time. While we remain hopeful, we also know that everyone will need some time to plan if they are going to participate. With that in mind we will work with the field owners and operators to make a decision one way or the other within the next two weeks. Should we have to cancel the event, those teams wishing to advance to the next level of play will be given the opportunity to do so, provided those events are held. 

I will be providing another update when a decision is made. In the meantime please continue to stay safe.


John Gouveia, Commissioner
USA Softball of Northern California

April 12, 2021 Update

Hello Again Everyone

I trust that everyone is doing well and enjoying the recent good weather and positive news regarding the pandemic. I wanted to take this opportunity to cover a couple of important topics in this message. 

 NOR CAL CHAMPIONSHIPS 

As conditions continue to improve across the state, the status of this year's Nor Cal State Championships is still uncertain. Currently they are scheduled for the last two weekends in June at Twin Creeks in Sunnyvale and the Alden E. Oliver Sports Park in Hayward, and are listed on TournamentUSASoftball.com. With everything changing rapidly and California scheduled to open fully on June 15 we are still unsure as to whether or not the events will take place and what exactly they will look like if they do. That is why we have not yet established an Entry Fee or begun accepting registrations. Regarding the Entry Fee, it's been agreed that operating a gate at either facility will not be feasible this year so expect the Entry Fee to include a surcharge in lieu of a gate. We also want everyone to know that the locations of the various age classifications are subject to change depending on what we hear back. The latest from Twin Creeks is they are still not sure of what California potentially going to a "green tier" will mean and what Santa Clara County will allow and not allow. Currently they are still not able, at this time, to host tournaments, only single games played by two teams. They are hopeful this will be expanded by June 15, but whether or not tournament play will be allowed is still undecided. The Hayward Area Recreation and Park District has informed us that they have begun issuing permits for their youth leagues but have not yet begun issuing permits to allow tournament play. We have not heard any additional information from them. 

If it's the worst case scenario and we are once again unable to host Nor Cals or move the dates back than any team wishing to attend USA Softball Nationals or Western Nationals will be offered a berth the same as if they had played in Nor Cals. This is provided of course that those events are able to be held. Hopefully we will be able to host Nor Cals to some degree, if not fully, but need to plan for the worst. I apologize for not being able to provide more certainty but it's all the information we have at this time.

COMMISSIONER POSITION

Reminding everyone that those interested in applying for the position of Commissioner for USA Softball of Northern California should send a resume and cover letter to:

Rich Cress, Director of Membership Services
E-mail: rcress@usasoftball.com
Subject Line: USA Softball of Northern California Commissioner position
  

Résumés will be accepted until April 15, 2021 at 5 p.m. CT. Any questions regarding this position should be directed to Rich Cress at the contact information listed above.  

I will provide another update on these and any other pertinent topics as more information becomes available. 

Thanks everyone!
John Gouveia, Commissioner
USA Softball of Northern California

Softball Play to Resume!!!

Hello All

Finally some good news! Today the Governor announced new guidance for youth sports. Youth sports can resume FEBRUARY 26! Softball is considered an Outdoor Moderate Contact Sport which means that competition will be allowed beginning the 26th in counties that are in the RED tier or better and can even resume in counties still in the PURPLE tier with some additional restrictions.

USA Softball of Northern California encourages all league and organization officials to read the updated guidance provided by the State carefully. You can get there using this link: 
https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/outdoor-indoor-recreational-sports.aspx 

As always this information is subject to change at any time but with the vaccine rollout accelerating I would like to believe that things will continue to improve. Also, please check your County to make sure they have not imposed any additional restrictions, which they are allowed to do, and with your field owner and make sure to confirm when it's ok to get back on the field. None of us wants softball to be "that sport" that gets called out for breaking the rules.

I'm so pleased to be able to send this message to all of you. I know I've said it before but thank you for your participation, patience and cooperation through all of this. Hopefully there will be nothing but good news moving forward.

John Gouveia, Commissioner
USA Softball of Northern California

February 8th Message from Nor Cal USA Softball Commissioner

Hello Everyone

We are now already over a month into 2021, as hard as that is to believe. Thank you again to those who participated in our virtual Road Shows last month. I wanted to follow up on a couple of things that came out of those meetings and also a few other things that have been brought to my attention.  

COVID EXCLUSION AND WAIVER 

I received a question after the meetings about whether Covid is covered under the USA Softball policy. Effective January 1 every policy issued by Bollinger now includes a communicable disease exclusion, which applies to Covid. Everyone should understand that a risk exists whenever they participate in softball activities but it's highly recommended that you use the waiver that's included in the Back to the Ballpark document that will further protect your organization in the event of a claim. 

BACK TO THE BALLPARK

I reached out to the Public Health Departments of each of the 30 counties that make up Nor Cal and shared the Back to the Ballpark Document with them. About half responded, with many having similar recommendations. Here is a synapsis of the comments and feedback that I received:

Virtually every county included the comment that counties could set rules that were MORE restrictive than State guidelines set by the California Department of Public Health, but they could not set rules that were less restrictive. All counties I heard from said they were following State rules and had not enacted anything more strict. The latest State guidance was issued on December 14, 2020. 

The Back to the Ballpark document has been revised to reflect the input and recommendations of the various county Public Health Departments. Please note that the biggest change is the reference to mask wearing being mandatory, not recommended. This is in line with the current guidance.   

Other recommendations include stronger language about staying home if displaying symptoms or having contact with anyone having COVID. Also if an individual becomes sick with COVID within 2 days AFTER a practice or a game, it is recommended that they notify a designated Coach, so others can get tested, keeping in mind that transmission can occur in asymptomatic people. It was also recommended that other attendees at games (spectators, parents, etc.) should be restricted to immediate household members.

Currently in California softball competition is allowed BUT only within the same or immediately bordering counties. In counties that are in the Purple Tier only physical conditioning, practice, skill building and training that can be conducted outdoors, with 6 feet of physical distancing, and with stable cohorts is allowed. Restrictions lessen as counties move from Purple to Red to Orange to Yellow and eventually one day to Green. 

As the situation improves and infection rates go down, tier levels will be adjusted accordingly, and some of the recommendations included in Back to the Ballpark will become less restrictive. As always, it's up to local and state officials, not USA Softball, so please only use these recommendations as a guide. 

Attached is a revised Back to the Ballpark document that includes the updated recommendations.

SOFTBOK

As was announced at the Road Shows all Nor Cal member leagues and organizations have access to SoftBok again this year. Here is a message from its creator: 

My name is Darin Delgado. I have been coaching softball for over 25 years. I'm the current Director of Coaching and Player Development for USA Softball of Sacramento, I coach at American River College, and I run my own business called Elite Athlete Consulting (EAC). I coached travel ball in the California Breeze organization for 10 years. I was humbled to be selected as the head coach of our local team that played against our National team in 2017 at Raley Field. I was selected again to coach against our Olympic team last summer prior to the pandemic.  Lastly, I've had an opportunity to coach the best 12u players in the country the last three years at the All American Games in Oklahoma City. Softball has been a big part of my life and my kids' life and we couldn't be more thankful.

My daughters were a part of the recreation league in Rocklin where I joined their board back in 2001. It was such a great experience and met some great people. When my daughters' softball experiences through recreation and travel ball was over I continued working coaching, working with players and attending games. I slowly noticed that the fundamentals of the game were diminishing at all age groups. This was discouraging as I love the game so much and enjoy watching good softball and players having success.  

So I decided to give back to the sport that meant a lot to myself and my kids and that's where SoftBok was created. SoftBok stands for Softball Body of Knowledge. Initially there were two tasks I wanted to accomplish:

1. Create a set of practice plans for all age groups including an advanced plan for All Stars/Travel Ball. In order to run a real efficient and productive practice, it's vital to have a structured plan. I understand all the volunteer coaches in the recreation league have full time jobs so creating a practice plan with limited time is challenging. I know it took me nearly 45 minutes to put something good together back then. So my goal was to simply put a plan in their hand and so they can run with it..

2.  Break down every fundamental of the game in detail. Thus the Fundamentals page that includes the still frame by frame pictures. I currently work with our college athletes as well as the training through EAC. During our workouts, I'll video every session and break down mechanics. The first thing I'll do when viewing is to run the video in slow motion. This allows me to see every movement and when possible breakdowns occur. That is why I wanted to shoot the still pictures frame by frame so the proper mechanics can visually be seen in detail.  

This past summer, the plan was to shoot video of fundamentals and drills but the pandemic put that on hold for this upcoming summer. SoftBok with be continually updated each season with additional video, frame by frame shots, drills, and updated practice plans. The goal is SoftBok will be available each season to help our coaches develop our youth! I sincerely hope you find this helpful and please do not hesitate to reach out with any comments, questions, discussions you have or may want to have.  

Have a great 2021 season!  The kids deserve it especially after this past year! 

 

TOURNAMENT LISTINGS

We have posted all of the tournament requests we have received as "list only" on Tournament USA Softball. This means that no one will be able to sign up just yet. We have also listed the dates and locations for Nor Cals but have not yet established an entry fee. Once we know how many teams we will be able to accommodate we will set the fee. Please submit any additional requests for tournament listings as soon as you are able. We will not go "live" until you notify us that you have been granted permission to use the fields and can begin accepting registrations. 

Thanks again and I look forward to getting Back to the Ballpark!

 

John Gouveia, Commissioner
USA Softball of Northern California

 

December 21st message from Nor Cal USA Softball Commissioner

Hello Everyone

I hope that all of you are staying safe and will have a chance to enjoy the upcoming holiday season. The recent rollout of the Covid vaccine has been the first encouraging bit of news I've heard since the pandemic began. That being said, it's unrealistic to assume that this means 2021 will be back to normal, but I truly hope it will be much better than the year we just endured. I wanted to cover a few things in what will likely be my last message of 2020.  

CREDITS
We are processing the credit requests we received. As has been discussed the credits will be in the form of a registration extension into the 2021 season for those members who were paid for and approved, but were unable to participate this year. Credits will include the cost of membership and insurance, but items such as ACE, background checks and ID cards will not. Our National Office is still working on finalizing the process in order to integrate the credits when registrations for 2021 begin. We have not officially opened registrations at this time for obvious reasons and expect to do so once the credit process has been finalized. I've received a few questions regarding whether or not insurance coverage will be afforded to those participants should leagues and travel organizations be able to host clinics and/or tryouts before registrations begin and the answer is yes. Those leagues and organizations who have been past members of USA Softball will be covered as they resume activities but we do ask that you notify us once you begin any on field activities so we can work to get your participants registered.    

BACK TO THE BALLPARK FOR LEAGUE PLAY
At one of our zoom meetings it was requested that a Back to the Ballpark document for league play be developed to be used alongside the one that was developed for tournament play. That document is complete and can be downloaded below. 

CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH
As was previously reported Nor Cal reached out to the California Department of Public Health in a attempt to be proactive about returning to the field. Though we did not receive much more than a generic response I am happy to report that they did update their guidance for youth and adult sports. That information can be found at https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/outdoor-indoor-recreational-sports.aspx. It still defers back to the local health department but it was encouraging to see that the State did provide new information. Perhaps hearing from a lot of sports organizations, which I understand they did, helped. 

2021 TOURNAMENT REQUESTS
Even though everything is still up in the air the 2021 tournament request forms are now available and can be submitted once you have your field dates secured.

DUDLEY SPORTS CATALOG
Dudley has been a strong supporter of Nor Cal for many years. You can find the latest Dudley catalog below. 

2021 ROAD SHOWS
Lastly, a reminder that the annual Road Shows will be held virtually this year on January 19 and 20 at 7pm. Your league or organization may attend either night. Meeting links will be sent a few days prior. 

As we close one of the strangest years ever, I want to personally thank all of you for your support of USA Softball and for how hard you worked to try and salvage some kind of season for your teams and leagues. We will continue to work as well and I sincerely hope that we can have a 2021 that looks more like what we were used to before any of us ever heard the word covid.

All of us at Nor Cal wish you and your families a happy and most of all safe holiday season and we look forward to seeing many of you at our virtual road shows. 

Sincerely,

 

John Gouveia, Commissioner
USA Softball of Northern California

 

May 13th - Letter from the Commissioner

Hello again everyone

I hope this message finds you all doing well. My last message included some guidelines that USA Softball of Hawaii created for getting back on the field that you could review. Now USA Softball has created some recommendations that can be used by all of us when the time comes that we can start back up. These recommendations are geared toward game conditions but a lot of the protocols can be useful in many situations. Also there's a Q&A about insurance that you should find helpful and more importantly a liability release specific to COVID-19 that everyone planning some type of team or league activity should use. As has been the case since this journey began there are still more questions than answers and the situation is constantly being assessed and reassessed. The words tentative and subject to change should be used liberally whenever discussions on returning to the field are held. 

I've heard from some of you in counties that are beginning to consider "opening up" and have been asked if it will be ok to start practice and even start to form your summer travel teams. The short answer is yes, but as I've said repeatedly any activity has to conform with the guidelines set forth by your local jurisdiction, which usually means your county health department and other local officials, and you also have to received the ok from whomever the field owner is that you receive your field permits from to get back on the field. Also there is no guarantee as to what future events will be held, if any, and if counties will allow players from other counties to participate in events that do take place. As I said, still more questions than answers. 

I hope you find the attached information from USA Softball helpful. I'll have another update for you next week after the USA Softball Board of Directors meeting. 

 

Please continue to take care. 
John Gouveia, Commissioner
USA Softball of Northern California