Photo: UBC Okanagan Athletics

UBC Okanagan gets new softball team

The new team will be led by long-time softball coach Joni Frei

UBC Okanagan will have a new competitive club take the field this fall as softball gets set to debut in September under the coaching leadership of Joni Frei.

No stranger to the game, Frei’s past roles include head coach of Team BC at the North American Indigenous Games, director of coaching for Softball BC, and assistant coach for NCAA Division I Kennesaw State University and Mercer University.

Originally from Kelowna, Frei’s vision for the program is focused on “recruiting high character, highly motivated achievers both between and beyond the white lines”, and emphasizes that “family, fun, results, and community service will be corner stones of our program.”

Frei has a Master’s degree in Public Administration and is a Chartered Professional Coach and NCCP Master Learning Facilitator and Coach Evaluator.

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UBC Okanagan is introducing a new competitive club sport model in 2019-20 that is predominantly participant and sponsorship funded in an effort to provide additional competitive inter-university sport opportunities to students, as well as providing a broader range of sport offerings at the post-secondary level in the Okanagan.

Softball will be among the first teams for UBCO under the new model, and has assembled a strong leadership team to build the program.

As a university player, Frei had considerable success between the lines, including leading her team, Georgia College & State University (GCSU), to a runner up finish at the NCAA Division II World Series and recently being inducted into the GCSU Athletics Hall of Fame.

Frei is especially excited about the value of softball for creating female role models.

“We want our student-athletes to enjoy an incredible experience while graduating as empowered women and capable leaders,” she said.

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UBC Okanagan director of athletics and recreation, Tom Huisman, explains the virtues of a competitive club model and the potential of the new softball team.

“The benefits of interuniversity sport participation are many, and although there is limited capacity to the number of teams that can be funded through the Department of Athletics & Recreation, softball demonstrated a commitment and opportunity to build a competitive program that has a sustainable future that has community support, inclusive of its local sport organization, Kelowna Minor Fastball.”

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The UBC Okanagan softball team will be one of eight post-secondary institutions competing in the Western Collegiate Softball Association (WCSA). Following an annual fall schedule, the team has aspirations to qualify for the Canadian Collegiate Softball Association National Championships.

The softball team has an exciting future and will positively impact women in sport at UBC Okanagan. UBCO students wanting to be part of the team should plan to attend a player identification camp scheduled for March 30th and contact Ramon Lawrence (ramon.lawrence@ubc.ca) for more details.

Interested sponsors or donors of the new softball team are also invited to contact Lawrence.

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