By Marty Gitlin
National Pro Fastpitch is pleased to announce that Paul Wilson has purchased rights to a team in the Washington D.C. area. Paul is also the owner of Pauls Sports and he will serve as President and General Manager of the team which begins play in 2007.
The Washington D.C. team called The Washington Glory will assume the player contracts of the Connecticut Brakettes, who are returning to their roots in supporting and developing amateur programs.
Wilson, the multi-faceted President and CEO of Diamante Consulting Group, became encouraged about the potential of professional fastpitch softball in the Washington area as well as the NPF through various means during the last two years.
I spoke with a father of one player and he told me about this new pro league called the NPF, Wilson said. I never heard of it. I asked why they didnt have a team here and he said he didnt know, so I did a little research.
His interest was piqued when he attended the opening ceremonies of a traveling team tournament in Washington that drew thousands of fans. He also gained optimism about the future of NPF through conversations with owners and players. The owners took over the league from the Cowles family, the league founders, in December of 2004. They are a very dedicated group of individuals committed to their players, coaches, sponsors and fans. At the forefront of the leagues long-term strategic plan is building a sustainable league and fielding teams with owners that are able to not only move forward for the short-term but will continue to be a strong force in the leagues growth after the 2008 Olympics.
Aside from the business decision, the popularity of softball in the nations capital and a passion for the sport were also major factors that led Wilson to purchase a National Professional Fastpitch franchise for that city.
I contacted (Chicago Bandits owner) Bill Conroy and within three or four days I was flying to Chicago to attend the (2005) NPF World Series. Then I spoke to the players who really saw the potential of the league. I also talked to people with the National Fastpitch Coaches Association and received a great deal of positive feedback.
NPF President Patrick Linden spoke positively about adding a committed owner and a franchise in Washington.
This is an exciting addition for us, Linden said. We see a lot of growth potential throughout that area and we are certainly happy to be bringing Paul on board because we know how enthusiastic he is about building something from the ground up. He shares our vision for the future.
Wilson, who resides in nearby Ashburn, Va., speaks eloquently and passionately about the future of NPF, particularly his desire to help its athletes extend their associations with the league into full-time careers. He believes once the league and its players are embraced by corporate America, the financial resources will be available to make that a reality.
He also envisions the marketability of the premier players in their sport as a stepping-stone to product promotion and corporate recognition.
The goal of everyone I have spoken to is for these women to be able to make a full-time career out of this, he says. We want to be able to provide that.
Seeking stability in ownership, league officials are negotiating with a number of potential team owners about their involvement in NPF in 2007 and 2008. Players throughout the league are in the process of being contacted as well about their opportunities this season.
National Pro Fastpitch is headquartered in Denver, Colorado. The league, created to give elite female fastpitch players the opportunity to pursue a professional career in their chosen sport, has operated since 1997 under the names Womens Pro Fastpitch (WPF) and Womens Pro Softball League (WPSL).
Washington Glory Media Contact: Lana Torres