Sonya Ottoway, President

Sonya Ottoway, President

Netball America is starting the ball rolling in 2011 by breaking new ground yet again, while inspiring thousands of others in our endeavors to put Netball on the map in America.  Before I share our plans I thought it would be a great opportunity to give you a quick update from 2010.

I certainly don’t underestimate the challenges we face in building a sport in an already very crowded American sporting landscape; however, I have full confidence that with the continued development and support from the Board of Directors, Executive Management, Committees, Members and Supporters, Netball America will continue to grow the Netball brand awareness in 2011 and beyond.  Netball America has created a new platform for the sport showcasing games at a number of prestigious events, identifying and developing strategic partnerships with heavy hitters in the American arena.

In support of these efforts, over 35 recognition and support letters were received from prestigious members of the American sporting community like the WNBA as well as the Australian Consulate-General of Los Angeles and the Australian American Association.  The letters mentioned the level of professionalism displayed by Netball America members as well as crediting the outstanding accomplishments the organization has achieved promoting Netball in the USA.

I am honored to announce some new strategic partners who will be instrumental in the organizations growth over the coming year and far beyond:  the National Association of Physical Education Teachers for our elementary, middle and high school programs; Wellness in Total Health University for health education needs; Rugby 7’s; the Women’s Sports & Entertainment Network, WBAI 99.5FM/NYC & Fridge Films for nationwide media needs.  Did you also see us in the Wall Street Journal?

On behalf of Netball America, I thank and commend all of the selfless volunteers who worked tirelessly to ensure Netball exhibition games were promoted, funded and game day logistics ran smoothly to the standard expected at the NBA & WNBA level as well as pitching Netball to community leaders, teachers and sponsors. Your outstanding contributions have impacted the community through various outreach events, summer camps, after-school programs and sponsoring of schools.  During the year, over 8000 physical education teachers were exposed to Netball as well as the launch of the Netball Let’s Move the Youth Program and successful charity fundraiser.  With your assistance, top USA Netball athletes squared off in exhibitions at Madison Square Garden and the Staples Center which saw exposure to over 40,000 basketball fans.  Never before in Netball history has the sport been played in front of live audiences this large!

With membership doubling in size, including newly formed clubs in Houston, Hawaii, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, our appointed Vice Presidents and Committees are here to help drive the increased benefits to our members.  From designing t-shirts and club logos (check out New Horizon, Senators, North Shore and Houston Shooting Stars), distributing Netball education packets, providing relevant netball programs, conducting coaching and umpiring seminars, advertising (from cinema, newspaper, radio, website to writing press releases) and helping to obtain sponsors, grants, provide fundraising opportunities, as well as increase club memberships.  The annual Netball America Cup provided members with top level Netball competition, including gaining experience against international teams.

Have you seen the awesome online videos being used to help promote the game?  The latest videos include interviews with 5-time Olympic Gold medalist Ian Thorpe; “American Idol” / “So You Think You Can Dance” producer and judge Nigel Lythgoe; and of course one of our biggest supporters Season 7 American Idol finalist Michael Johns.   These are available in our store, along with netball equipment such as posts, balls, bibs and rule books.

This year, more than ever, we need your help to grow Netball in America and get Americans playing our beloved sport, but don’t worry, it’s easy.  Read and forward monthly newsletters; ensure you and your friends join our facebook, twitter and sign up for newsletters; post our newsletter and video links on your own f/book page; make a dedication to that special someone; visit the website frequently; use for your internet searches and purchases (Netball America receives a penny for every search and a donation for any purchases made); when using e-bay make a tax deductible donation and you received a credit for your selling fees; You-tube Netball America and you can direct your friends to learn more about netball here too!!  All these simple things go a long way to help.

Building on this strong foundation, Netball America is proud to announce that we have the privilege of being asked to cooperate with the Special Olympics to have Netball as a demonstration sport at the 2011 Special Olympics Texas Winter and Summer Games. This is the first step on the road to having Netball acknowledged as a full medal sport.  You can make a generous contribution today to help provide the resources and education for these Special Need Athletes.

The Netball America 2011 calendar is filling up quickly with exciting new events as well as member’s tournaments and partners promotions. Some highlights include: National Physical Education and East Coast Teachers conferences, where Netball America will be talking with over 8,000 physical education teachers from New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, Virginia, DC, California, Washington and Arizona.  Of course, our premiere WNBA events will be held to benefit our members – be sure to keep an eye out for trial dates coming to your area!

On behalf of the entire Netball America team I want to wish everyone all the successes within 2011 and look forward to having you as part of our Netball community!


Sonya Ottoway

President, Netball America

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