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California Dominates NCAA Softball Rosters


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#1
SpartanIlliniCub

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As a fan of NCAA softball for over 10 years, I have visited the web pages of hundreds of college teams and looked through the rosters of dozens of teams.  Each time I look at a different NCAA team's roster, I get the feeling a significant number of players are from California--no matter what team I am looking at or where in the country it is from.  Am I just seeing things, or is there something to this?  I know California is a hotbed of softball talent, but does it really take up a significant number of roster spots on each NCAA team? 

 

Let's go to the data:

 

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For my sample I used the 16 teams that made the Super Regional in 2017.  I pulled the roster info for each team and found that out of 320 players, 102 or 32% were from California!  I was not expecting it to be that high.  I would have considered 10% to be high, but 32%!  Almost one in every three players on the top teams are from California.  And not only did California players make up almost 32% of the players, each of the top 16 teams from 2017 had at least one player from The Golden State.

 

Based on my analysis, I must conclude that California makes up a disproportionately large percentage of NCAA softball rosters, and that California produces players that win at the highest level in the NCAA. 

 

I am surprised too that so many players from California are willing to travel so far away from home to schools all along the West Coast and to the central and southeast parts of the country to play ball.  The investment in coaches and facilities by conferences like the SEC must play a huge role in luring the talent away from California. 

 

It might be that the increasing parity we are seeing in college softball can be explained by the fact that California players are no longer limiting themselves to the Pac-12, but are fanning out geographically and bringing the benefits of their talent to more teams across the county!

 

If I was a college coach I would just go to California every off-season and recruit exclusively in The Golden State.  I would try to make an all-California roster, and I bet I would never lose a game! :P



#2
KCSoftball

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If you had done this survey 10 years ago the number would have been a lot higher. It used to be that all coaches headed for California in late June and in July. Now softball has spread all across the country, so coaches can spend less time in California looking for talent. Just look at how the Colorado Fire Cracker Tournament has grown!  I think it is now the biggest youth tourney in the country. I would give odds that 90% of coaches or assistants are in Colorado right now! Heck even the NPF now sends teams to go play there for the exposure!

 

But really, parity is spreading across the country. Look at the Paige's in Oklahoma, one is from Missouri and one is from Iowa!  Florida's Barnhill is from Georgia! It goes on and on now. California will remain the hotbed of recruiting for a long time because of its large number of elite travel teams, but Texas and Florida are growing as are cities all across this country!



#3
CatOsterFan

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This is amazing!  I bet there is no other sport that has such a high concentration of players from one state.  Another unique part of the game that makes it so great!



#4
SpartanIlliniCub

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The other weird thing: I could have sworn that of the players from California, a ton of them were from two cities: Elk Grove (a suburb of Sacramento) and Riverside (a suburb of Los Angeles).



#5
FaspitchPapa

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I agree there are a lot of California players spread all across the country playing softball at a high level, but UCLA's high concentration of California players skews the numbers quite a bit.  If we take out UCLA, the numbers become 297 total players and 81 California players which changes the percentage from 32% to 27% (a 16% drop in the state's overall dominance).

 

Though I bet if some other California teams like Stanford, Cal or Fresno State made this list, the numbers of California players would be even higher.



#6
MammaZord

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I am not surprised that so much of the talent comes from Cali. The same is true for women's soccer as well. I think the obvious answer is that in Cali (as opposed to the Midwest), softball can be a year-round activity. Also, I seem to remember reading that California was really good with implementing Title IX, and a lot of girls/women's sports programs got up and running quickly. 

 

The chart is really interesting. I am surprised UCLA isn't 100% Cali  ;)  I remember a thread on this board discussing how Utah shot up in the rankings once it brought in Cali talent. Smart move! Also, Arizona has a good amount of Cali girls too. That's not really a surprise, but I'm thinking that Arizona has to have some pretty solid home-grown talent too. 






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