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Updated: November 5, 2013
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Copyright © 1997-2013
Grand Slam/Marco Stoovelaar
Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2013 by Marco Stoovelaar

Willy Juana new Head Coach of Centrals
DE BILT (Neth.) - When the transfer-deadline ended on November 1 last week, Centrals announced that it had named Willy Juana as the new Head Coach for their big league softballteam. Juana will be assisted by Petya Sokolova. Both Juana and Sokolova were active with the Centrals-2 team this season. Juana succeeds Bas Langezaal.

...Willy Juana & Petya Sokolova...
(© Photo: Centrals)
When the 2013 season began, the softball-team was led by Caroline Theunissen. She also coached the team in 2012 when it played in the second highest league ('Overgangsklasse') after having relegated from the big league in 2011. In 2012, the team finished in second place, then won the Promotion/Relegation Play-Off vs. Twins to promote back to the big league. After completion of the season, Bas Langezaal was added to the coaching staff to assistent Theunissen in 2013. In 2012, Langezaal was the Head Coach of Robur '58, which won the Overgangsklasse-championship to earn the right promote to the big league. However, Robur declined the possibility to promote, stating their team was not representative enough for the big league. At Centrals, Langezaal succeeded Hans Snel, who stepped down.

However, after the opening weekend of the 2013 season a change was announced. In the first double-header of the season, Centrals had split with reigning champion Alcmaria Victrix, but three days later, it was announced that Centrals and Caroline Theunissen had separated. Bas Langezaal succeeded her for the rest of the season and was assisted by Petra van Elteren, who joined him three weeks later.

This season, Centrals finished in sixth place with an 18-26 record to secure its spot in next years big league. Towards the end of October, Centrals and Langezaal separated.

Several leading players left the club, including lefthanded pitcher Eva Voortman and infielder Nikki Harte, who are both on the preliminary roster of the Dutch National Team. But also righthanded pitchers Richelle van Gennip and Puck van der Kolk, catcher Laura van Essen, infielders Donna Hartman, Eliza Rikkelman and Stephanie Ruiter and outfielder Kayleigh Adelina left the club.

When the transfer-period came to a close, Centrals announced that it will play in the big league with a very young team. It has moved up its junior-squad to the main squad with the addition of some players from the second team and the remaining players of the main squad. When the team would have withdrawn from the league, it would have been assigned to the third highest league (First Division). But now by staying in the big league, it creates the possibility to secure its spot in the highest league for the 2015 season. And when it should relegate its moves only one division lower.

Willy Juana and Petya Sokolova are no strangers to the main-team of Centrals. Both coached the second team this season.

In June 2011, Juana took over as Assistant Coach at the main team when Willy van der Lee took over as Head Coach. Van der Lee had started the season as Assistant of Glyniss Kenepa.

Sokolova, who is originally from Bulgaria, played in 12 games this season for Centrals, hitting .242 and scored nine runs. She earlier played for Centrals during the 2009 season.

(November 5)

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