AKRON, OH -- As the Akron Racers prepare for the 2017 NPF Championship Series at LSU’s Tiger Park in Baton Rouge, Louisiana beginning on Thursday, August 17, our beloved Racer players have to start thinking about what they will be doing this offseason when they are done playing. We would love to keep them here in Akron year-round, but that just isn’t reality for most players in the National Pro Fastpitch league. All of these players cannot just be Akron Racers. They must do something else to make a living. If you watch the award-winning documentary “Burn the Ships” featuring the Akron Racers, you will see the trials and tribulations that professional softball players face, and the goals and plans for the NPF in the future.
But for now, these players must move on, for now, and continue their lives after the Akron Racers season. Here is what you can expect to see from each of your 2017 Akron Racers this offseason:
Ashley Thomas will be returning to Belmont University for her second season as an Assistant Coach.
Shellie Robinson will return to North Greenville University as an Assistant Coach for the Division II school in South Carolina.
Sami Fagan will head back overseas to Japan, and will continue playing softball for Honda.
Megan Betsa recently landed a coaching position with the University of New Mexico for this season.
Alexis Silkwood will be continuing her education at Mississippi State University, and is going to start student teaching.
A.J. Andrews will be working towards her Master’s degree in Broadcast Journalism from LSU.
Kelley Montalvo recently received the Assistant Coach position at Barry University, a Division II school in Miami.
Kristen Wyckoff will be in Minnesota this offseason, as her boyfriend Rodney Adams is a wide receiver for the Minnesota Vikings.
Jailyn Ford will also be returning to Honda in Japan. She and Sami Fagan will be reporting back to their team on August 24th.
Griffin Joiner will be an Assistant Coach at the University of Pittsburgh this upcoming collegiate softball season.
Megan Geer will be returning to The University of Tennessee to get a Bachelor’s degree this offseason.
Hannah Day is going to intern at a training facility in Virginia this offseason.
Sara Groenewegen will be returning to The University of Minnesota to finish her Bachelor’s degree in Sports Management, Minoring in Leadership and Marketing.
Haley Fagan is going to be a Graduate Assistant at Liberty University, and will work towards her Master’s degree in Sports Management.
Chandler Rice will be going to graduate school at Lamar University, where she will be a Graduate Assistant with their softball program.
Maddy Grimm will be an Assistant Coach at nearby Ashland University this college softball season.
Jenny Gilbert will be moving back home to Texas.
Nicole Schroeder is going back to the University of Arkansas to work towards her Bachelor’s Degree. She will also be working with her sister giving hitting lessons.
Emily Weiman is going to be a Graduate Assistant with the softball program at East Carolina University.
Rachele Fico will return to the University of Georgia, where she will serve as the Assistant Coach.
Shelby Hiers recently landed a Graduate Assistant position at the University of Arkansas.
Laura Winter will be an Assistant Coach for the Murray State University softball team. She also plans to graduate in December with a Master’s Degree in Information Systems.
Aimee Creger will be returning to Japan to play for her team, Denso. Aimee will report to her team on August 26th.
Sam Fischer-Cooke will be giving private batting lessons, and will also be instructing at various camps and clinics throughout the offseason.
Racers Assistant Field Manager Alison Owen was recently named Pitching Coach at Georgia Tech.
Our players’ passion for the game of softball and desire to improve as a softball player and as a person is very evident in their offseason plans. Nearly all of our players will be coaching at the college level, playing overseas, instructing young softball players, or going back to school to further their education. All of these women are incredible, and we are lucky to have them in Akron for the time that we do. While the players are off bettering themselves and using their knowledge and experience to help others, we will be anxiously anticipating their return to Akron for the 2018 season.
The entire Racers organization would like to wish each and every player well as they tackle the next stage in their life, and thank them for all that they have done for the Racers and the city of Akron. With the incredible passion and work ethic that each of these young ladies possesses, there is no doubt that our players will be successful in whatever they decide to do.
About the Akron Racers: The Akron Racers, headquartered in Akron, OH, are the oldest existing team in the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) league. The Racers will celebrate their 16th season of play in 2017. The Racers competed in the Women's Pro Softball League (WPSL) for two seasons in 1999 and 2000 and in the NPF since 2004. Historic Firestone Stadium is home to the Racers and numerous amateur events at all levels of play.
About National Pro Fastpitch (NPF)
National Pro Fastpitch (NPF), an Official Development Partner of Major League Baseball since 2004, provides elite female athletes with an opportunity to pursue a professional career in fastpitch softball beyond their collegiate and amateur success. The NPF affiliate teams consist of the Akron Racers, Beijing Shougang Eagles, Chicago Bandits, Scrap Yard Dawgs, Texas Charge and USSSA Florida Pride for the 2017 season. National Pro Fastpitch players hail from the United States, Australia, Canada and China among which are the most accomplished and talented athletes in the sport of women’s softball.