CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Mike Roberts, the associate head coach and pitching coach with the Virginia softball program, has been tabbed to join the USA Softball Women’s National Team coaching staff for the Japan All-Star Series this summer it was announced on Thursday (June 22).
Roberts is one of three coaches who will join head coach John Rittman to help guide the United States in a three-game series against world No. 2 Japan. Slated to take place August 4-7, the selected collegiate athletes will go head-to-head with the Japanese team in Fukushima (Azuma Stadium – Tokyo Olympic Games softball venue), Iwakuni (Kizuma Stadium – host of WNT pre-Olympic training) and Yokohama (Yokohama Stadium – Tokyo Olympic Games softball venue).
Representing 12 NCAA Division I universities and five athletic conferences (AAC – 1, ACC – 1, Big 12 – 4, Pac-12 – 5, SEC – 5), the Japan All-Star Series roster highlights top collegiate athletes from across the country with the back-to-back National Champions – Oklahoma Sooners – tabbing three athletes to the roster.
The 16-player squad includes seven veterans from former Team USA rosters – four of which will make their debut on a WNT roster after leading the JWNT to gold at the 2021 U-18 WBSC World Championship. Also highlighting the squad are nine rookies who will represent the Red, White and Blue for the first time in their careers.
Athletes were selected by the Women’s National Team Selection Committee (WNTSC) based on previous and ongoing evaluations at the collegiate levels as well as USA Softball National Team events, trials and camps. Additional rosters for the 2023 season will be announced later this year.
The Japan All-Star Series squad marks the second WNT roster set to compete during the 2023 season in addition to the previously announced World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) World Cup roster slated to represent the U.S. in Dublin, Ireland in July.