Partnership will affiliate 170 Cuban youth programs for children 4 to 12 years old with Little League Baseball and include Little League International Tournament participation for 2019.
Little League® International announced today that the Cuban Baseball Federation (CBF) has aligned its youth baseball program for children 4 to 12 years old with Little League Baseball®. The partnership will bring Little League to the CBF’s approximately 170 local baseball programs with continued efforts to develop opportunities for youth throughout Cuba, where children can learn valuable life lessons through Little League. Beginning with the 2019 season, Cuba will be eligible to enter the Little League International Tournament, with the winner of its country tournament advancing to the Caribbean Region Tournament for the Little League Baseball division. The 2019 Caribbean Region Tournament will be played in Willemstad, Curacao from July 12-21.
“I have been able to see first-hand the passion for baseball throughout Cuba, where so many children love and play the game. I’ve also seen the opportunity where we can help enhance the baseball experience for these children, where equipment and resources could help bring the countless, lifelong benefits of Little League participation to even more children,” said Stephen D. Keener, Little League President and CEO. “While working with the Cuban Baseball Federation, we learned how closely our two organizations are already aligned, and we share the goal of enhancing the baseball experience for the children of Cuba. We are pleased to welcome Cuba into the Little League family and are looking forward to working with the Cuban Baseball Federation to further develop the game and provide a great Little League experience for as many Cuban children as possible.”
For more than seven decades, Little League International has brought baseball and softball opportunities to all children. Believing in the power of sport to teach life lessons, Little League International proudly works with dedicated individuals throughout the world to provide these opportunities for children of all nations, where they can learn the importance of dedication, teamwork, overcoming adversity, and fair play.
“Little League International would like to thank Higinio Velez, Cuban Baseball Federation President, and all those who’ve worked to make this partnership possible, and will continue to be support Little League’s efforts in Cuba,” said Mr. Keener. “We’d also like to thank Jose Ramon Cabanas, Ambassador of the Republic of Cuba to the United States, and Miguel Fraga, First Secretary of the Republic of Cuba to the United States, for their continued support.”
With the agreement, Little League International will work with the CBF and provide support for tournament-related travel, volunteer education and outreach, field renovation and development, and equipment. Little League International will continue to work with the CBF in the immediate future on bringing their youth programs fully into the Little League International program and identifying opportunities to enhance the youth baseball experience in Cuba.