IWAKUNI, Japan – Members of the U.S. Women’s National Team (WNT) 16-player collegiate roster have arrived in Iwakuni, Japan ahead of the 2023 Japan All-Star Series scheduled to take place August 4-7. Stretching across three cities in Japan, the world-ranked No. 1 Team USA will go head-to-head with No. 2 Japan in a three-game series held at three major venues that contributed to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Game 1 of the series will take place at Kizuma Stadium (Iwakuni, Japan) – host of the WNT pre-Olympic training, followed by Game 2 at Azuma Stadium (Fukushima, Japan) and Game 3 at Yokohama Stadium (Yokohama, Japan) – both of which were host venues for the Tokyo Olympic Games. Thanks to the hospitality and efforts made by the Japan All-Star Series Organizing Staff, the U.S. will have the opportunity to participate in a series of training sessions ahead of the event while experiencing the culture and traditions of the three Japanese cities off the field.
An annual event that is highly anticipated in both Japan and the U.S., the Japan All-Star Series showcases the best talent from across the globe while providing the two countries with opportunities to continue their goals of growing and developing the game at the highest level. Facing off for the first time this year, the three-game series will open on Friday, August 4 at 7 p.m. JST (5 a.m. CT) in Iwakuni, Japan followed by a second matchup on Sunday, August 6 at 2 p.m. JST (12 a.m. CT) in Fukushima, Japan. The two international rivals will cap the three-game series in Yokohama, Japan on Monday, August 7 at 7 p.m. JST (5 a.m. CT).
The Japan All-Star Series has provided an exciting experience for fans since its inception in 2016 where over 31,000 fans packed the Tokyo Dome while 2017 saw 15,000 fans in the stands at Yokohama Stadium. Continuing its popularity across the country of Japan, last year’s three-game series held at Azuma Stadium and Yokohama Stadium saw more than 17,000 fans across the three-day event, which signified as a one-year celebration of the Tokyo Olympic Games. The U.S. WNT looks to improve from the 2022 Japan All-Star Series, which resulted in a hard fought 1-2 series loss to Team Japan. Due to live streaming restrictions in Japan, USA Softball is unable to provide streaming of this event. To follow along via live stats, please follow the 2023 U.S. Women’s National Team on GameChanger.
Representing 12 NCAA Division I universities from the 2023 season, the Japan All-Star Series roster highlights top collegiate athletes from across the country with the back-to-back National Champions – Oklahoma Sooners – tabbing three athletes to the roster, followed by Stanford and UCLA with two athletes apiece. Also represented with one athlete on the squad is Arkansas, Clemson, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Missouri, Texas, UCF and Washington.
The 16-player squad includes seven veterans from former Team USA rosters – four of which will make their debut on a WNT roster after leading the JWNT to gold at the 2021 U-18 WBSC World Championship. Also highlighting the squad are nine rookies who will represent the Red, White and Blue for the first time in their careers.
At the helm of the Japan All-Star Series roster will be John Rittman (Clemson Head Coach) who enters his first season as head coach for the WNT after previously serving as an assistant coach for various seasons where he helped lead the Eagles to three WBSC World Championship gold medals (2002, 2006, 2016), two Pan American Games gold medals (2003, 2007) and two Olympic medals (2004 – gold, 2008 – silver). Joining Rittman for his first stint on a WNT coaching staff is Mike Roberts (Wisconsin Associate Head Coach & Pitching Coach) while Brian Kolze (Pacific Head Coach) and Chris Malveaux (Tennessee Assistant Coach) return as assistant coaches following the 2022 season.
Follow along with the USA Softball National Teams at USASoftball.com.