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Updated: February 11, 2020
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(Story by Marco Stoovelaar; Photos by Fred Versluis & Marco Stoovelaar)

Rebecca Soumeru elected into ESF Hall of Fame

VILNIUS (Lithuania) - Former Dutch National Team-pitcher Rebecca Soumeru is elected into the Hall of Fame of the European Softball Federation (ESF). Also elected were player Jesper Panduro (Denmark) and administrators Libby Moss (Great Britain) and Robert Kessler (Israel). With the addition of the Class of 2020, the ESF Hall of Fame now has 35 members. The election of the new Hall of Fame-members took place during the Congress of the ESF last weekend in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. The results of the election were officially announced by the ESF on Tuesday (February 11). In Vilnius, the joint Congresses of the ESF, the European Baseball Confederation and WBSC Europe took place.

...Rebecca Soumeru pitching for the Netherlands...
...during the 2013 European Championship... Prague (Czech Republic)...
(© Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)
Rebecca Soumeru becomes the eighth person from the Netherlands to be elected into the Hall of Fame, but the first since 1991. She also is the fifth Dutch player in the ESF Hall of Fame.

The first Hall of Fame-election took place during the Congress of 1988 in Paris (France). Back then, Theo Vleeshhouwer became the first individual from the Netherlands to be elected, together with Italian administrator Renato Germonio. Theo Vleeshhouwer had been a longtime executive in the Board of the ESF.

In 1989, also in Paris, Ludy van Mourik became the first Dutch softball-player to be elected into the Hall of Fame. Two years later (1991), five new members were added, all from the Netherlands. Players Renee van den Berg, Annemiek van Kappel and Caroline Smit, coach Nol Houtkamp and umpire Bert Brebde then were all elected during the Congress in Venice (Italy). Bert Brebde was elected posthumously, as he passed away in August 1990 after collapsing during a big league-game between HCAW and Schiedam in Bussum.

Last year, during the Congress in Athens (Greece), only one individual was elected into the Hall of Fame, being Italian coach and former umpire Michele Dodde. The election of four persons is the biggest since 1991 and 1992. In both years, five persons were elected into the Hall of Fame.

Libby Moss and Robert Kessler became the first persons from respectively Great Britan and Israel that were elected into the Hall of Fame. The group of 35 Hall of Famers is compiled from persons from eight different countries. Nine of them come from Italy, eight from the Netherlands. The other countries that are represented in the ESF Hall of Fame are Belgium (6 persons), the Czech Republic (5), Denmark (4), Great Britain (1), Israel (1) and Sweden (1).

Rebecca Soumeru has a long and impressive career in international softball. Since 2001, the righthanded pitcher played for the Netherlands National Softball Team. Last year, in the final game of the Europe/Africa Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Vleuten, Soumeru retired from the National Team. The game against the Czech Republic was then halted for some moments and an emotional exit followed.

With the Netherlands Team, Rebecca Soumeru participated in some fifty international events, including the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing (China). She also was part of the Orange-squad during three Olympic Qualifying Tournaments, five World Championships, three World Cups of Softball, ten European Championships and four Canada Cups. In her career, she won the European Championship-title four times. In recent years, the National Team also climbed on the ranking during World Championships, highlighted with a best-ever fourth place in 2016.

...Rebecca Soumeru pitching for her club-team...
...Sparks Haarlem during the 2019 Golden League-season...
(© Photo: Fred Versluis)
In total, Rebecca Soumeru played in 135 official international games for the National Team, which is a record for a pitcher.

After having started playing softball at Run '71 in Oldenzaal, Rebecca Soumeru transfered to Sparks Haarlem for whom she now plays since 2001. Except for the 2006 season when she played in Italy for Macerata. Coming season, Soumeru will return into the pitching-circle for Sparks Haarlem with whom she won nine Dutch Championship-titles.

With Sparks Haarlem, Rebecca Soumeru particpated in 17 European Cup-tournaments in het 18 seasons with the team. In that span, she won both the European Premiere Cup and European Cup Winners Cup four times with her team. Last year, Sparks Haarlem was not qualified for participation for the first time since 1999. In 2006, she won the Premiere Cup with Macerata.

In her 18 Dutch big league-seasons, Rebecca Soumeru won the Best Pitcher Award three times (2002, 2005, 2013) and got two more nominations (2004, 2008). In 2004, she was named Most Valuable Player of the highest division, then was the Holland Series MVP in 2016. She also won the Bep van Beijmerwerdt Trophy for Most Talented Junior-player in 2000 and the Egbert van der Sluis Award for Most Talented International Player Under-23 in 2004. Internationally, she was ther Best Pitcher of the European Junior Championship in 1998 and the Best Pitcher of the European Championship in 2009.

(February 11)

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