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Softball life: Ane Barandiaran, Spain

My name is Ane and I practice softball since 2006 due to a bet with two of my classmates. I started playing for Ordizia, a team of my hometown and after some months practicing I was called by the national team. I was 14 when I wore the jersey of my country for the first time in my life. When I started playing I used to play on third base/short stop until my coach decided I had to be a pitcher and started practing for it. Nowadays I just pitch on my team and that´s my biggest passion.

Thanks to softball I have had the opportunity to travel throughout Europe and part of the world: France, Italy, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Poland, Czech Republic, Bulgary, Austria, Canada, Venezuela, Cuba…

In 2007 I played my first European Championship with the spanish national team in Pilsen (C.Republic) and since then, I´ve almost worn the red and yellow jersey every year. Apart from that, I have played about 4-5 European Cups with my team and with other foreigner teams.

I also have played in different teams. For the last 3 years, after finishing my season in Spain, I have played the second round of the polish league and the Puhar (Polish Cup) in Poland with Warsaw Diamonds. Our season in Spain starts in March and we play every Sunday in the morning. I practice in the field 4 times in a week and I work out almost everyday.

The highlights of my career are winning two times in a row the National League in Spain making history and the games I will never forget are the ones I pitched in Surrey (Canada) against Japan, USA, Canada and Mexico in 2014.

My parents and my little sister are the most loyal supporters of my softball career, they even travel to see me when I play in other countries.

Being realistic, I gave up the dream of being able to play some Olympic games long time ago so I wish we could play Worlds someday. I just have one goal for my private life, I want to have a peaceful life, I want to be happy.

For the season, we have two different competitions :

The National League and the Queen´s Cup. The National League is played almost during 5 months and the Queen´s Cup is just for a weekend.

The winner of the League normally goes to the European Cup Winner´s Cup Women and the winner of the Queen´s cup to the European Cup Women. This year it will be the other way around so the National Champions of 2016 will try to win the gold and get the spot in the Premier Cup. Spain is separated in different Regions so its ones organize their own competitions and tournaments.

Softball is not a popular sport in Spain and the players are not considered as a profesional players. When we finish our studies we have to work. When we play at high level, we have to find time to practice or work out and of course, we don´t get paid in the Clubs for it.

Not being a popular sport means that it´s hard to get funding, media attention and to find sponsors. Until now, we didn´t practice as a National Team very often. Every player had to train in their club, individually. The previous week to the European, we used to practice about 6 hours per day.

This year, the National team will have different plans: We will practice all together at least once in a month and then play some tournaments in Italy or Netherlands (although this is not official yet).

Our first goal will be to get as high as possible. I consider that we can do better than the last two europeans and we will fight for getting best of 6 at least.

It has been a pleassure to let you know a little bit more about myself and the spanish team, I hope you´ll like it!


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