Softball assistant May-Johnson picked for Team USA

BY KYLE HUGHES | JUNE 24, 2011 7:20 AM

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This summer, pride for the Black and Gold will turn red, white, and blue.

Former Hawkeye softball standout and current assistant coach Stacy May-Johnson was one of 18 players selected for the 2011 USA Softball Team last week. She is the first Hawkeye ever selected for the squad.

She said it was a great honor to be selected, and she’s proud to represent both her country and the University of Iowa.

“It’s pretty cool,” May-Johnson said. “When you play for your country, you represent a lot of people. You represent your family, and you represent your friends. Also, being an alum of Iowa and being an assistant coach here now, I think I represent the University of Iowa and Iowa softball.”

Iowa head coach Marla Looper said she was excited about her assistant.

“I think it is a great opportunity for her,” Looper said. “The fact that Stacy got invited [to tryouts] and then made the national team is huge for her, and it’s huge for Iowa softball.”

May-Johnson has had an impressive playing career, but it wasn’t until last summer — after she had decided to retire from professional softball — that Team USA came calling.

During her four years at Iowa, May-Johnson started every game and was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year and was a three-time All-Big Ten honoree. She still holds 11 offensive records at Iowa.

She played five years for the Chicago Bandits of the four-team National Professional Fastpitch league and was a three-time All-Star and two-time league MVP.

May-Johnson said she made sure she put the Hawkeye softball team first this past season, even though she knew Team USA tryouts were looming in the summer.

“My first priority in the spring was not my training, it was our team’s training,” she said. “Once the season ended, I really got after it and started working out hard.”

Her training paid off. Last week, May-Johnson was named to Team USA’s final roster after a four-day tryout.

“I think the excitement was really building throughout the week,” the native of Reno, Nev., said. “I had a great tryout. I think there were a couple of things I could have done better, but when it came down to it, I think it would have been hard for me to do much better defensively.”

Team USA Softball head coach Ken Eriksen said May-Johnson is exactly the type of player the team is looking for.

“We are fortunate to have Stacy join our national-team program this summer,” Eriksen wrote in an e-mail. “We are looking for experienced players who are hungry and [who] let their play speak volumes for them. I think we may have found that in Stacy.”

Team USA Softball will begin play Saturday with a two-game exhibition series in Plant City, Fla. The team will start international play in July at the Canadian Open Fast Pitch International Championship in Surrey, British Columbia, then head to Oklahoma City to play in the World Cup of Softball. In October, the team will travel to Guadalajara, Mexico, to seek its seventh-consecutive title in the Pan American Games.

May-Johnson said she believes the team will enjoy plenty of success this summer.

“I’m confident that [winning every game] will be a goal,” she said. “There is no reason that shouldn’t be a goal.”

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