As we wrap 2018, we would like to take time to congratulate Softball Factory’s National Showcase and Tournament Director, Ty Rietkovich on recently celebrating five years of the Under Armour Softball Factory National Showcase! For the last five years, the showcase series has helped provide elite travel softball teams from around the country with the opportunity to receive maximum exposure to college recruiters.
We recently spoke with Ty to learn more about the history of the series, coming aboard with Softball Factory and the future of the events.
Softball Factory: Our Showcase Series has a long history that predates the Factory. How did the series get started and how did the series come to Softball Factory?
Ty Rietkovich: In 2006, I started the Southern Star Softball Showcases in Savannah, Georgia as an alternative to some of the exclusive events that were being run at that time. I wanted a place for any team to come and play in front of college coaches. With the help of several local college coaches, we launched the events with a lot of success. Later we expanded to Clermont, Florida and Atlanta, Georgia.
In 2013, Factory Athletics added these events and myself to the Softball division as a way of enhancing the recruiting aspect, in addition to building its brand in the travel softball world.
Our main purpose was (and is) to increase the number of players brought in to the Factory for potential involvement in other areas such as the Under Armour National Tryout Tour, the College PREP program, and Player Development events as well as increase awareness of the recruiting help we can provide a student-athlete.
SF: With the partnership in 2013, there has been significant growth in the showcase series to get more teams involved and more players in front of college recruiters. Tell us about that.
TR: In 2013 and 2014, we ran a total of three events, hosted 126 teams and approximately 1,386 players. Just three years later, we ran 13 events, hosted 363 teams and approximately 4,004 players. Of those, almost 1,000 of them were written up on our blog and identified as potential college players.
In 2019 we will run 15 events including one of the most prestigious USA Softball events, the Futures Cup in July.
SF: Why is the Softball Factory Showcase Series considered one of the best events in the country?
TR: Our Softball Factory National Showcases are the only events in the country where every player on every team is guaranteed to be seen by a college coach. Our Recruiting Blog is filled with comments directly from college softball coaches and the only one on the market. We are the only showcase with notes on the top players for them to share and for other college coaches to see what they might have missed. We say these are the only events with residual value for the players once they leave and go home.
SF: What is the importance for athletes who participate in these events?
TR: We run controlled events with all fields in a close proximity that allows for every coach and every player to be easily seen. We place college coaches on every field to watch the athletes and notate the top players. In this world of “BIG BOX” showcases that take unlimited teams and place them on fields miles and sometimes, even hours apart, all our athletes know they can and will be seen by college coaches who are present, and they won’t be stuck on the “bad” or “far away” fields.
SF: Where do you see the showcase series going in the future?
TR: Within the next five years, we hope to expand our footprint into some areas of the country we aren’t currently in, such as the Northeast, West Texas, and add an additional West Coast event. As well, we plan in 2019 to implement a testing program to gather measurable strengths and skills of our players and make that information readily available for college recruiters. We are working on plans to implement clinics in conjunction with our event that players could attend and receive instruction from top college coaches.
Our goal is within five years to again double the amount of athletes we are introducing to the Softball Factory and the opportunities we possess through our company.
To view the 2019 schedule for the Under Armour Softball Factory National Showcase & Tournament Series, please visit: http://www.softballfactory.com/showcases/ to learn more!