OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. -- California softball alumnae Valerie Arioto (2008-12) and Jolene Henderson (2010-13) shined throughout June selection camp to earn spots on the USA Softball Women's National Team, the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of American and USA Softball announced Sunday. The 17-person roster will gear up for a series of tournaments including the World Cup of Softball and ISF Women's World Championship beginning in July.
The duo's selection comes following a 24-person selection camp composed of some of the nation's top softball stars, along with a series of exhibition games.
“This group of 24 athletes that tried out is one of the rarest groups I’ve been around in a long time,” said USA Softball Head Coach Ken Eriksen. “Their college coaches, parents and teammates need to understand the greatness that is within each and every one of them. As always, it’s a very tough decision to narrow the group to 17 but I’m very excited about the potential this team has.”
Arioto, who finished her career as the Pac-12 Player of the Year and Senior CLASS Award winner, begins her fourth consecutive run with the U.S. Women’s National Team. Unlike in previous seasons, Arioto will be able to focus on playing first base during her time on defense thanks to a roster stacked with talented pitchers, including Henderson. Like Arioto, the Golden Bear ace was also an All-American along with a two-time Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year and winningest pitcher in Cal history.
Team USA's summer schedule begins with exhibition games on July 2 and 3 in Morgantown, W.V. Competition opens July 7-12 at the World Cup IX in Irvine, Calif. before the Eagles head to Surrey, B.C., Canada for the Canadian Open Fastpitch International from July 15-21. The team will compete in one more set of exhibition games stateside on July 29 in Waldorf, Md. and then cross the pond to Azzano, Italy to partake in Italian Softball Week Aug. 6-10. Team USA caps off its run with the ISF Women's World Championship in Haarlem, Netherlands Aug. 12 through Aug. 24.
Cal is one of just a handful of the nation's elite programs with multiple athletes on the Team USA roster. Tennessee, Arizona, Alabama and Florida also placed two each on the team. Eriksen (South Florida) returns as head coach of the Eagles and will be assisted by Laura Berg (Oregon State), Howard Dobson (LSU) and Lisa Dodd (UNLV).
View the complete roster and schedule on the USA Softball website.
Stay tuned to CalBears.com for coverage of Arioto and Henderson’s time with Team USA, and follow @CalSoftball on Twitter and Instagram and Facebook.com/CalSoftball for behind-the-scenes action and info on all things Cal softball.