By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network
The National Junior College Athletic Association and the NJCAA Coaches Baseball Association announced that an NJCAA All-Star Team will be able to participate in the Honkbal Haarlem Week event hosted by the Koninklijke Nederlandse Baseball en Softball Bond.
The tournament will be held from July 12-19, 2024 in Haarlem, Netherlands at Pim Mulier Stadion.
The NJCAA All-Star Team will be able to represent the United States at the event. The NJCAA Baseball All-Star Team roster for the Honkbal Haarlem Week event will be announced during the spring of the 2024 collegiate season.
The NJCAA Baseball All-Star Team roster will be selected from the NJCAA Baseball Coaches Association top 120 players by Jan. 1, 2024, and will be used to build the roster for Honkbal Haarlem Week.
College of Central Florida head coach Marty Smith will be the head coach for the NJCAA Baseball All-Star team at Honkbal Haarlem Week.
The NJCAA All-Star team will have Mike Davenport of Madison College in Wisconsin and Rob Valli of Rowan University in Gloucester County, New Jersey, as their assistant coaches for Honkbal Haarlem Week. The roster for the event could include numerous players who have had playing experience with participating in USA Baseball age group events suit up for the 2024 tournament.
The Honkbal Haarlem week event will provide points for the World Baseball Rankings from the World Baseball Softball Confederation for the participating national country federation teams.
The USA Baseball National Collegiate Team has yet to announce if they will participate at Honkbal Haarlem Week. If USA Baseball participates in Honkbal Haarlem Week, they will earn points in the World Baseball Rankings.
The USA Baseball National Collegiate Team has won gold at Honkbal Haarlem week in 2000, 2002, 2008 and 2014.
The last Honkbal Haarlem Week event was held in 2022 with the host nation the Kingdom of Netherlands, Curacao, USA Baseball Collegiate National Team, Japan, Italy, and Cuba participating.
Japan also sent a collegiate national team to the event during 2022.
Dr. Christopher Parker, the NJCAA President and CEO stated on the NJCAA website, “The NJCAA is excited to represent the United States at Baseball Week Haarlem next year. This will be a great opportunity for our student-athletes to play on an international stage and showcase the immense talent at the two-year level.”
Honkbal Haarlem Week started in 1961 and has had various club teams participate in the tournament over the years. During the 1961 tournament five out of the six teams except the Netherlands national team were all club teams that included the Alconbury Spartans from England, the Chateauroux Sabres from France, the London All-Stars from England, the Manheim Knights from Germany, and the Wiesbaden Flyers from Germany that participated in the first year of Honkbal Haarlem Week.
The club teams and non-federation teams that have participated in the Honkbal Haarlem Week event are the Reno Astros in 2004, the Grand Rapid Sullivans in 1963, 1968, 1969, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1976, 1982, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996 and 1998, the Pac-10 Conference All-Stars in 1990, the University of Iowa in 1984, Washington State University in 1984, the University of Miami in 1980 and 1982, the Mitsubishi Japan Industrial Team in 1980, UCLA in 1980, United States Air Forces in Europe in 1971, 1974, and 1976, University of Arizona in 1974 and 1976, the Alaska Goldpanners in 1972, the California Stags in 1966, 1969, and 1971, Detroit ITM in 1971, the Berlin Bears from Germany in 1969, the Augsburg Bayonets in 1966, the England Spartans in 1963, and the French Woods in 1963.
The NJCAA All-Star team participated in the 2010 Honkbal Haarlem Week event and finished in fourth place losing to Japan in the bronze medal game. The NJCAA All-Star Team in 2010 was coached by current NJCAA Baseball Coaches Association President, Jeff Willis.
Will coached as Louisiana State University-Eunice during his time as the head coach for the NJCAA All-Star Team at Honkbal Haarlem Week.
This will be the second time that the NJCAA will bring an All-Star Team to Honkbal Haarlem week event once they take the field in the Netherlands during July 2024.