The Florida Gulf Coast League (FGCL), capitalizing on a successful inaugural summer baseball season, is expanding to include collegiate softball for summer 2020.
According to the event organizers, “This will be the first softball summer league of its kind and is designed to provide the collegiate player with a playing and training experience not offered in any other capacity.”
The league will consist of 12 teams located in the Tampa Bay area stretching from Clearwater to Sarasota.
Rosters will be capped at 16 players per team and all must be current collegiate players, with a very limited exception of two signed high school graduates per team.
The season will begin in June and will consist of a 30-game schedule which will include an All-Star/Parent Weekend, as well as special events throughout the season. Players will also have access to indoor facilities for training.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled at starting a league specific to college softball players,” said FGCL Executive Director Ryan Moore. “Softball continues to grow and we want to be part of that. These athletes have never had an opportunity like this and we, as a board, are committed to them and in growing the game.”
Added Moore: “They’re not just playing games, they’re developing their craft.”
College coaches will be able to place players in the FGCL to get additional reps and experience to accelerate their progress.
“When they go back to school,” continued the league’s director, “they will have the extra at-bats and extra work in to be able to compete right away for a starting spot on their team.”
The plan is to eventually add more teams and expand in 2021 as spots for the 2020 season are limited.
Already nearly six dozen players have registered including elite players from universities such as Florida, Central Florida, South Florida and the league is in discussion with top college programs from the SEC, Big 12, Big 10, American Athletic and other major conferences to place players.
“We want to have a competitive league, so there’s no just one dominant team,” explains Moore. “We will field teams with diversity that have talented Division I players as well as excellent Division II, III, NAIA and JC players.”
The FGCL is also talking to local corporations to provide internships for the summer so the athletes “can have a life-changing event and a potential career after softball ends.”
Registration for the FGCL has opened and can be found on the league website, www.flgulfcoastleague.com.