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2022 END OF YEAR MESSAGE

Dear Empire Family,

              With the fall season now behind us, John Wren and I would like to take a minute to thank all our volunteer coaches, players and families that are so important to our organization. Without dedicated coaches & players there is no Empire Fastpitch. Without parents and guardians that are committed to seeing their athletes mature into young women athletes, our vision for fastpitch softball in NYC would not be possible. Thank you for your continued trust in our vision and for the privilege of coaching and training all your amazing athletes. Remember “Trust the Process”! 

              Over the last twelve months so many positive things have taken place for Empire Fastpitch. We held winter workouts and tryouts at Match Point to start the 2022 year off. We had over 50 athletes work out with us during that time. Many of whom joined the Empire family of teams for the Spring/Summer & Fall. We added several talented athletes to our growing list of alumni that are now playing collegiate softball around the country. We held several free youth clinics in Brooklyn & Queens to bring better training and awareness to the sport of Youth Fastpitch. We believe these outreach programs will benefit not only Empire but our community, more kids playing sports is beneficial to everyone.

              In July we hosted the LARGEST college softball prospect ID camp EVER held in NYC. With over 20 colleges represented from every level of the sport (DI, DII, DIII, JUCO & NAIA). We even had a coach from Virginia Beach, VA attend. Our outreach and relationships to surrounding areas, coaches and organizations resulted in a total of 69 prospects that attended the camp. These athletes came from across New York City, Long Island and 4 surrounding states, we even hosted 2 athletes that came from Canada to take part in the camp. The event was a huge success for Empire Fastpitch and for NYC fastpitch softball, and you can be sure that we will continue to host this event annually going forward.

              In August we travelled south to Viera Beach, Florida where we were invited to take part in an event that matches exceptional college players against the best professional players in woman’s softball. Coach Wren and I were also asked to assist in coaching these amazing young athletes at USSSA Space Coast Stadium. We sent several players to join the CCSL college team and they played games against the Florida Vibe, Smash-it-Sports Vipers and the USSSA Pride PRO teams. We also attended a Fastpitch Softball convention that emphasized player testing, training, analytics, physical health and wellbeing, and the growing issues with mental health in collegiate athletes. During our stay we secured a partnership with PPN (Peak Performance Network) to utilize their platform for all our Empire Fastpitch athlete’s player development functions; including development, management, analysis and player projection of each individual athlete. We will be implementing this system beginning in the winter of 2022 during our indoor winter skills camp.

              Another technology asset that we piloted during the summer & fall of this year was an AI (Artificial Intelligent) video recording system from Trace Inc. The recording system has turned out to be a tremendous asset for our college prospects. The camera system uses a GPS tracking system to individually record every one of our players on the field during game play. The camera system records the entire field and uses AI to follow the player and the ball simultaneously. Once the game is completed the videos are uploaded to the Trace servers where they are processed into individual player moments and e-mailed directly to the player/parents. This technology has virtually done away with all the struggles related to video recording, editing, trimming, and converting clips to send to prospective colleges. The quality of the videos is excellent, look at the video clips of our players on their pages to see just how good it is. In conjunction with this technology Empire is also designing and developing our YouTube channel where we will be housing ALL player videos as well as complete game recordings. This channel will be fully launched in the next few weeks so keep an eye out for that announcement as well.

              Continuing with the fall of this year we fielded multiple teams at the 14U-18U divisions. Our 14U futures team has continued to train and grow, by the spring of 2023 these girls will be a force to reckon with for sure. Both of our 16U teams played a predominantly showcase schedule to familiarize our athletes with the level of competition they will be competing with when it comes time to select where they want to continue their education and playing careers. Both teams were routinely scouted by colleges and universities throughout the region. Our 18U team played exclusively in recruiting showcase events this fall. The 18U Marinello squad is routinely pitted against the best prospect teams at any given event. Their players are all high-level college prospects and most of them are already in receipt of roster invitations to continue their playing careers in college. This team will continue to play several events over the winter months to continue to compete at the highest levels of the sport. Stay tuned for commitment announcements from these ladies as I’m sure they are on the way!

              In September our website was successfully fully launched. www.empirefastpitch.org is our online home that stores and displays all our athlete college profile information, along with skills & game videos that can be easily shared with college prospects via weblink or QR Code. We also released our new “Recruit Corner” page which has tons of relevant college recruiting information stored all in one location. Our news and photo sections are areas where everyone can learn more about the state of our organization and to view all our team and event photos. Lastly our on-line store is live, and you will be able to purchase Empire fan gear directly from the site. So, if you have some extra time check out our new online home and catch up with all the great things that are happening at Empire.

              Back to the present and we are just a few days away from the beginning of our winter skills camp once again. This year we will be implementing the PPN program as described above, the FDNY strength and conditioning coaches will be joining us again and we will have several college coaches visiting us over the course of the winter to scout and speak to our athletes. We are also hosting our first youth baseball skills clinic on Nov. 12, 2022. This is exciting since we were specifically asked by multiple baseball travel teams if we would be willing to train their developing players. Empire never envisioned developing baseball teams and athletes, but it is apparent that the need does exist. So, who knows maybe there is an Empire Baseball in the future? Only time will tell.

              Lastly but not least, our fundraising season is in full swing, and we are currently running several different campaigns now. Our basket of cheer raffle is available from any of our coaches, or you contact me or John Wren directly or you can even buy tickets in our web store. We are also running our Thanksgiving Day NFL pool. You can check out our Facebook page for remaining boxes in the pool.

              My apologies for the extremely long message but as you can see the organization is growing at a breakneck speed and we are dutifully doing our best to run and manage an organization that truly puts players and family’s needs first and foremost. So, thank you once again for all your support and we hope to have another extremely successful year in 2023!!! GO EMPIRE!!!!

 

Sincerely,

John Wren & John Capozucca

EMPIRE FASTPITCH

 

 

 

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