By Jennifer Roback
The United States Olympic softball team is scheduled to begin their gold medal run Tuesday July 20, 2021 against Italy at 11pm EST.
The 18 women representing the US have been chosen and include:
Monica Abbott- Pitcher
A 2007 graduate of the University of Tennessee, Monica Abbott, 35, was an SEC standout.
During her collegiate career, she was a three-time SEC Pitcher on the year, and set NCAA career and single season records during her final year with 189 victories, 2,440 strikeouts, 112 shutouts, 253 appearances and 1,448.0 innings pitched.
She finished her collegiate career with 23 no-hitters and six perfect games.
In 2008, she was an Olympic Silver Medalist after posting a 0.29 ERA and a 3-0 record in 24 innings pitched while striking out 32 batters.
Ali Aguilar- Infield
Ali Aguilar, 25, is a two-time World Championship gold medalist and a former NFCA standout during her time at the University of Washington.
In 2016 and 2018, she won gold at the world championships and then the following year, won gold again at the Pan American Games.
When asked what USA Softball means to her, Aguilar said, "It’s a true blessing. USA Softball is the biggest platform in softball and I’m so humbled that I’ve been given the opportunity to represent the three letters."
Valerie Arioto- Infield
2012 was a big year for Valerie Arioto. The 32-year-old California native earned Easton Softball All-American First Team, NFCA All-American First Team, Pac-12 All-American First Team, Pac-12 Player of the Year, and was also named to the USA Softball Top-50, Top-25, Top-10, and Top-3 watch list for Player of the Year.
If that impressive resume isn't enough, Arioto has also won six gold medals throughout her career and has played for the Japan Softball League.
Arioto was born and raised in Pleasanton CA, and went to the University of California, Berkeley.
Ally Carda- Pitcher/Infield
A 2015 graduate of UCLA, Ally Carda, 28, was a back-to-back Pac-12 Player of the Year during her NCAA days.
In 2010, she earned her first gold medal at the Pan American games at just 17-years-old.
Since then, she has earned six more gold medals and in 2015, she was the Japan Cup MVP after leading the U.S. pitching staff with a 0.00 ERA in 14 innings pitched.
Amanda Chidester- Catcher
Amanda Chidester, 31, made a name for herself during her time at Michigan State University.
During her NCAA career, she was the captain of her team and earned countless honors including Big Ten Player of the Year, All-Big Ten First-Team honors, and NFCA All-America first team.
When asked what it means to play for USA softball Chidester said, "Dream come true. I am living what I have worked my whole life for and I am not going to stop working for it. To be able to wear those three letters across my chest and step on the field, there are no words to describe that feeling."
Rachel Garcia- Pitcher/Infield
A 2020 UCLA alum, Rachel Garcia, 24, is a three-time gold medalist.
In 2015, she was the Gatorade Player of the Year and was back-to-back USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year while helping her team win an NCAA Championship. During her time at UCLA she was also a four-time All-American.
When asked what it means to play for USA softball, she said, "It's truly a blessing and a lifelong dream of mine to play for Team USA. It's the largest stage in softball and It means everything to be wearing USA across my chest. This is one of the hugest opportunities I have had and I am so proud to be a part of something so big and so meaningful to the sport that I love."
Haylie McCleney- Outfield
Haylie McCleney, 27, is an Alabama alum as well as a four-time All-American.
She is a six-time gold medalist throughout her professional career and has been competing in the World Championships since 2014.
When asked what USA softball means to her, she said, "It's a dream come true. I get to play alongside the best players in the world and continue to learn so much every single day."
Michelle Moultrie- Outfield
Jacksonville Florida native Michelle Moultrie, 30, was originally a walk-on player at the University of Florida and went on to have a very successful collegiate career. In 2011, she was the NCAA WCWS Co-Most Outstanding Player and in her senior season was the SEC Player of the Year.
She is a five-time gold medalist and when asked what USA Softball means to her, she said, "The opportunity to represent the United States in softball is such an honor! We get to travel the world showcasing our country's love and talent for the game of softball, and also represent as people; an example of the United States' values, diversity, and culture."
Dejah Mulipola- Catcher
University of Arizona alum, Dejah Mulipola, 23, had been named a Second Team and First Team All-Pac-12 Conference player.
In 2019 she won the Johnny Bench Award for top female NCAA Softball Catcher and was the NFCA Division I Catcher of the Year.
Throughout her professional career, she has won three gold medals.
Aubree Munro- Catcher
Joining the National Team back in 2016, Aubree Munro, 27, was drafted in the 2016 NPF College Draft by the USSSA Pride as the 39th overall pick.
She is a four-time gold medalist and prior to her national days, she was a back-to-back NCAA champion at the University of Florida.
When asked what USA softball means to her she said, "I was in 4th grade when the Olympics was in Athens in '04 and that year all my projects centered around Red, White and Blue, or wanting to play for Team USA. It's a dream come true and I'm SO grateful for the opportunity to further the sport and hopefully help my younger sisters to have the same dream."
Bubba Nickles- Utility
Madilyn "Bubba" Ida-Marie Nickles, 23, is a UCLA alum who led the Bruins in 2019 with 18 home runs, 72 runs batted in and a .714 slugging percentage.
She has won two gold medals at the WBSC Junior Women's World Championships and in 2017, she has 10 runs scored, 30 RBI, six home runs and eight doubles which set event records in hits, batting average, RBI and home runs.
When asked what it means to play for USA Softball she said, "It means that I get to play for the best country in the entire world and live out my childhood dream of playing for the same three letters that so many of the greatest softball players in history played for as well."
Cat Osterman- Pitcher
Cat Osterman, 38, is a former four-time All-American at the University of Texas and was a three-time winner of the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year.
She has won six gold medals throughout her career, one of them being at the 2004 Olympics.
Janie Reed- Outfield
Janette Miiko "Janie" Takeda-Reed, 28, is a University of Oregon alum who has won four gold medals throughout her career.
In college she was a three-time All-American.
When asked what it means to play for USA Softball she said, "It wasn't really ever a dream of mine because I never thought that I would be at the level of my heroes. It means the world to me to be able to represent this amazing country and play alongside some of the best in the game."
Delaney Spaulding- Infield
Delaney Spaulding, 26, is a former All-American at UCLA.
Throughout her professional career, she has won four gold medals.
On what it means to be a member of USA Softball she said, "It’s a dream come true. I dreamt of this since I was a little girl, I play for the little girls with the same dream. I am honored and humbled to wear USA!"
Kelsey Stewart- Utility
A Florida Gators alum, Kelsey Stewart, 26, has won two NCAA National Championships during her collegiate years as well as being a two-time First Team All-SEC player and 2015 SEC Player of the Year.
Throughout her professional career, she was won five gold medals and had the game-winning, walk-off hit in the Gold Medal game against Japan at the 2018 WBSC Women's World Championships.
When asked what it means to play for USA Softball she said, "To represent the United States means something way more then I can even put into words. You're a part of the select few that get this opportunity. It's the early mornings, the sweat, blood and tears all being worth it. It is a childhood dream come true, but even more it's playing for those little girls who never thought they could."
Taylor Edwards- Catcher
Taylor Edwards, 29, was a Big-10 standout at Nebraska.
Back in 2014, she was the NFCA Division I Catcher of the Year, and a First-Team All-American.
Throughout her professional carer she was won two gold medals.
When asked what it means to play USA Softball she said, "It's a very humbling feeling and I'm so honored to represent the USA. I've been dreaming of this since I was a kid. I want to make my family proud and continue to play for them no matter how big the stage is."
Hannah Flippen- Infield
Hannah Flippen, 26, is a three-time All American from the University of Utah.
Throughout her collegiate career, she was a standout and in her senior year won Pac-12 Player of the Year and Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year.
She has won one gold medal throughout her professional career and asked what playing for USA Softball means to her, she said, "Representing the USA is a dream come true. To represent my country and all the amazing softball players that came before me is a huge honor."
Keilani Ricketts- Pitcher
The left-handed pitcher from San Jose California, Keilani Ricketts, 29, is a former collegiate All-American athletes the University of Oklahoma.
She was back-to-back USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year and Big 12 Pitcher of the Year.
In 2013, she helped lead her team to an NCAA Championship and was a finalist for the Honda Cup.
Throughout her professional career, she has won two gold medals.