Softball Australia is pleased to announce the appointment of the Australian Open and U19 Women’s Head Coaches:
- Fabian Barlow, Australian Open Women (Aussie Spirit)
- Kerrie Porter, Australian U19 Women (Aussie Pride)
The announcement comes on the back of a lengthy, prudent review process, which aimed to ensure each candidate was familiar with, and committed to Softball Australia’s strategic direction. At the forefront of the selection criteria was the success and long-term development of softball, as we await the sport’s Olympic fate in August 2016.
Softball Australia’s High Performance Program will be athlete-centred, coach-led, performance-driven, which is looking towards developing a new generation of high performance athletes. Softball Australia and the newly appointed Head Coaches will be responsible for ensuring the athletes are in an environment that focuses on their physical, physiological, psychological and emotional well-being.
Softball Australia CEO, Chet Gray, is delighted with the selections. “We feel very confident in our decisions and think there are some exciting times ahead. Both candidates have considerable experience, and are well respected by the athletes they coach. We are excited about working with them in the New Year, and expect many successes during our World Championship and potential Olympic campaigns.”
The well-renowned and newly appointed coaches will start work in the New Year as they convene the selection panels at the National Championships, which will take place in January.
Fabian Barlow – Head Coach, Australian Open Women’s Team
Fabian Barlow earned himself the title of Head Coach for the Aussie Spirit through his extensive elite softball experience, which includes success at an array of both national and international softball competitions.
The former Black Sox player has held highly regarded positions at the Queensland Academy of Sport as the Softball Queensland Elite Coach, and also as the Head Coach of the Open Women’s Team, Queensland Heat that has appeared in five Australian Women’s Softball Championship grand finals between 2011 and 2015.
On an international scale, Fabian was appointed Head Coach to the Australian Open Women’s Team between 2005-2010 and has demonstrated success with gold medal performances at the Canada Cup Championships in 2005 and 2006, silver medals at the 2009 US World Cup and 2008 Canada Cup Championships and bronze medals at both the 2005 US World Cup, 2006 World Championship and the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
“I am very excited and grateful to be given the opportunity by Softball Australia to lead the Australian Women’s program at the 2016 Women’s World Championship” Fabian said. “It’s important we provide a culture and environment that is exciting, hardworking and enjoyable for the players to be involved in, and allows them to be the best players and team they can be. There is a strong player base to select from at the Gilley’s Shield in January and we will be looking to add to that base to create competition and pressure for the final roster spots heading to Vancouver in July,” he added.
Fabian will take to the field in his second national-side appointment during the Down Under Series, where Australia will take on New Zealand and Japan in Blacktown, NSW.
Kerrie Porter – Head Coach, Australian U19 Women’s Team
Kerrie boasts an extensive coaching career that has seen 12 years’ experience preparing and coaching state teams in national competition that includes three wins from five grand final appearances over the last six years at the Open Women’s National Championships, and four years as an Assistant Coach with Aussie Spirit from 2011 – 2014. Kerrie has also held the position of Head Coach of the NSW Institute of Sport Emerging Athletes Program.
“I am incredibly excited and very much looking forward to the opportunity of working with our junior, pre-elite athletes as they not only prepare for the 2017 Junior Women’s Softball World Championship in Florida, but as they demonstrate their potential to become elite athletes and one day represent the Aussie Spirit” said Porter.
Kerrie will take to the field in her biggest and most rewarding coaching role yet as she scouts players for the 2017 World Championship during the International Friendship Series in July 2016. With the aim to facilitate player development a large factor in the rebuild of Softball Australia’s High Performance Program, the organisation has identified the need to align pathways between the U19 and Open Women’s Teams.
For more information, contact Softball Australia CEO, Chet Gray on (03) 9417 0022.
Summer of Softball
A reminder the Softball Australia’s “Summer of Softball” kicks off on Sunday 3 January: Open Women’s Championship at Blacktown, NSW playing for the 69th Gilley’s Shield, U17 Girls also at Blacktown, while the U17 Boys play at Mirrabooka, WA from 3-9 January.
The VIA Network Aussie Spirit start their preparation for the 2016 Women’s World Softball Championship in Blacktown as they play in two International series in February. The Aussies will play the number one ranked Japanese Women’s national team and the New Zealand national team in the Women’s Invitational Down Under Series from 5-7 February, and then the world number one women’s professional softball team, the Japan Toyota Red Terriers in a series of games from 19-21 February.