Softball stars take their game to Europe

By Costa Maragos Posted: July 14, 2015 6:00 a.m.

U of R Cougars Alyssa Taylor (18) in action for a team in the Netherlands
U of R Cougars Alyssa Taylor (18) in action for a team in the Netherlands (Photo courtesy of Alyssa Taylor).

Playing softball for the U of R Cougars Softball team can be a ticket to a summer in Europe. That’s the case for Alyssa Taylor and Mikaila Etheredge, who are taking a swing at playing pro softball overseas.

Taylor has primarily pitched for the Terrasvogels Dames 1 club in the Netherlands. 

“Thus far I have had a very good experience in Holland,” says Taylor. “Being able to play against players on the Dutch national team as well as playing against players who are going to play in the National Pro Fastpitch League in the U.S. has been great and very competitive.”

Etheredge is the catcher for the Witches Linz, in the city of Linz located in Upper Austria.

Mikaila Etheredge Baseball 150
Mikaila Etheredge behind the plate for a club team in Vienna. (Photo courtesy of Mikaila Etheredge)

“It’s been interesting to see the game from a European perspective,” says Etheredge. “I’m able to teach and give a lot to the players and vice versa.  

Etheredge and Taylor are coming off stellar seasons with the Cougars, helping the club to a bronze medal at the Canadian Collegiate Softball Association National Championships in 2014.

Etheredge, who is originally from Decatur, Alabama, led the league in numerous categories including hits and batting average and was named to the first all-star team.

Taylor, who is from Craik, Saskatchewan, was also named to the first all-star team and was second in the league in batting average.
“For me going to Europe was always a dream of mine,” says Taylor. “Female athletes have such a short career since there are few pro leagues available, so I wanted the opportunity to further my career as well as travel around.”

Softball clubs in Europe are always looking for top-notch players from Canada and the U.S. Players are normally compensated for travel and accommodation costs and receive a stipend.

That’s hardly a ticket to riches normally associated with professional athletes, but for the players it’s a chance to play the game they love in a different way.

“Playing in Europe has always been the ultimate goal. The opportunity to further my playing career while travelling Europe is something I’ve always wanted,” says Etheredge.

Unfortunately, Taylor had her European experience cut short because of a knee injury and has now returned home.

However, she along with Etheredge plan on returning to the U of R this fall to play softball and further their education.

Etheredge is in the second year of a Master’s degree in Sport Psychology. Taylor is entering her first year of Education with plans to major in Physical Education.

The return of Taylor and Etheredge gives the Cougars another legitimate chance at a national championship.

Under the direction of coach Mike Smith, the Cougars have competed in three national championships. If you're interested in joining this winning team please visit here.