On the weekend of 6th and 7th May, Prague will host the second edition of the Joudrs International Cup tournament, a unique international fastpitch softball event for U-13 and U-16 boys. The U-13 part of the tournament will be held at SaBaT (Trója) and the U-16 games will take place in Svoboda Park (Bohnice).
The format of the tournament is based on last year’s edition, which was organized by coaches at the end of a summer training camp involving three Danish teams and one Croatian squad. While last year, the age categories were mixed, this year there will be two separate tournaments for two separate categories. In future, the organizers are planning to expand the tournament to include the U-19 category as well.
And what is the origin of this idea? There are virtually no international tournaments in Europe for boys in these age groups. The first time players get to face a foreign team is in the junior boys’ category. So the Joudrs International Cup, hosted by one of the most successful clubs in Europe, will give all teams that apply for the event the opportunity to gain what may be their first international experience.
“This year, apart from the Danish and the Croatians, we also addressed two French teams, a Bulgarian team and an Israeli team as well. The French and the Israelis are interested in next year’s tournament, and we are communicating with the Bulgarian squad about their possible start at this year’s tournament,” said the coach of the junior cadet squad at Joudrs, Ondřej Stoner, who is in charge of organizing the event.
The tournament itself will be preceded by a training camp under the leadership of Czech coaches, as well as coaches from abroad. Kevin Stockford - the coach of the Great Britain national squad - promised to participate in the camp. The camp will focus on all aspects of the game - there will be a seminar for batters, and special training units for pitcher and catchers.
“Our boys regularly travel to Denmark for practice, and this is our way of paying them back. The event will be held during summer break in Denmark, so the program is pretty much up to them,” Stoner added.
Five Czech teams have already confirmed their participation, as well as three Danish squads and one Croatian team. There are still places available, so any team in either of the age categories should feel free to apply. For applications or more information, please contact Ondřej Stoner- firstname.lastname@example.org; +420 724 429 608.
-Helena Novotná, Michaela Poláková, Jakub Kopřiva-