Little League® International is proud to announce Sydney Leroux, U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team forward and 2015 World Cup Champion, and Champ Pederson, an inspirational speaker and brother to Los Angeles Dodgers’ outfielder Joc Pederson, as the 2017 enshrinees to the Little League Hall of Excellence, which is the highest honor that Little League can bestow.
“Sydney and Champ are two outstanding role models that exemplify what it means to be an important influence to young boys and girls around the world,” said Stephen D. Keener, Little League President and CEO. “It is an honor to welcome the both of them to Williamsport this summer to join the most elite Little League graduates as members of the Hall of Excellence.”
The enshrinement ceremony for both Sydney Leroux and Champ Pederson will take place during the 2017 Little League Baseball World Series, which will be held from August 17 to 27 in South Williamsport, Pa.
Sydney Leroux – Whalley Little League (Surrey, British Columbia)
2002 Whalley Little League - Sydney Leroux (front row center)
Sydney Leroux, 27, may currently be a star on the U.S. soccer team, but before she was scoring goals, she was scoring runs. Ms. Leroux grew up in British Columbia, Canada, and played baseball for the Whalley Little League team from 1995 to 2004. She had the sport in her blood; her mom, Sandi Leroux, played outfield for the Canadian national softball team, and her dad, Ray Chadwick, played one season professionally for the then-California Angels in 1986.
In 2002, Ms. Leroux played centerfield for the Whalley Little League Baseball Tournament team, becoming the first girl to play for a tournament team in the league. That year, Whalley made it to the Canada Region championship, nearly earning a trip to the Little League Baseball® World Series.
Since switching to soccer full time in high school, Leroux has been highly successful on the pitch. She was the winner of the Golden Boot and Golden Ball award at the 2008 U20 World Cup in Chile and has the most goals scored in U20 history for Team USA. She joined the USWNT in 2011, winning gold at the 2012 London Olympics, and the Women’s World Cup in 2015, the team’s first World Cup title since 1999. Throughout her professional career, Leroux has since become an advocate for equality and is able to use her platform on the USWNT as a way to inspire young girls like her to follow their dreams.
Ms. Leroux will be the fifth woman enshrined in the Little League Hall of Excellence and just the second Little Leaguer® from Canada.
Champ Pederson – Palo Alto (Calif.) Little League
Joc and Champ Pederson (Photo Courtesy of Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)
Champ Pederson was born with Down Syndrome, a genetic condition caused by the presence of an extra chromosome, but for this graduate of the Little League Challenger Division® at Palo Alto (Calif.) Little League, the condition never once defined who he is as a person. From playing baseball in the Little League program to competing in the Special Olympics, Mr. Pederson has always been actively involved in sports and takes pride in his competitive personality, especially growing up with two brothers and a sister.
For Mr. Pederson, and the rest of his family, the concept of “Live Like a Champ” became a way to help share his story and empower others to step up and live a positive life, even on the toughest days. Mr. Pederson and his family have also used it as a platform to raise funds in support of various causes that support individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities.
With his enshrinement into the 2017 Little League Hall of Excellence, he will become the first-ever graduate of the Little League Challenger Division to earn such an honor.
About the Little League® Hall of Excellence
Enshrinement into the Little League Hall of Excellence is the highest honor that Little League can bestow. To be considered for the Little League Hall of Excellence, a candidate must meet BOTH of these conditions: 1. He or she must have played in a chartered local Little League, and; 2. He or she must have become a recognized role model as an adult.
Being a role model does not necessarily mean being famous (like President George W. Bush, actor Kevin Costner, or singer Bruce Springsteen). Rather, the person must have, as an adult, set an example for children by their actions (like Medal of Honor recipient Spec. Ross McGinnis, Principal of the Year Michael Pladus, or Firefighter Michael Cammarata). Ms. Leroux and Mr. Pederson will be the 53rd and 54th members of the Little League Hall of Excellence.