Little League® Diamond Leader Discussions: Liz Darling

Though her years of playing competitive softball are behind her, Liz Darling’s passion for the game has been carried into her role as a volunteer with Mount Seymour Little League in North Vancouver, Canada. 

In 2016, when her son was finally old enough to play Tee Ball, Ms. Darling started her career as a volunteer coach. For two years, she managed teams, helped with field clean-up and prep, and worked in the concession. In 2018, Ms. Darling joined the league’s Board and Executive Committee as the League Registrar, which allowed her to contribute to league policies and the overall organization and operation of the league.

After four years of working as League Registrar, which allowed her to connect with the players, their families, and the community of Mount Seymour LL, Ms. Darling stepped into the role of League President and today continues to assist as a coach with her son’s team. 

Ms. Darling is also currently playing a key role in establishing an all-girls baseball program in her district as Little Leaguers® from four leagues in British Columbia District 5, including Mount Seymour LL, will come together in 2024 to participate in 10 sessions led by female coaches to develop their fundamental baseball skills. In its first year, more than 80 girls are registered to participate in the sessions this spring. 

“Rather than working individually as leagues, we chose to come together so the girls were given the opportunity to see just how many other girls want to play the game, so they don’t feel alone,” said Ms. Darling. “The collective vision is to build a robust and sustainable program across our district, where girls will learn and develop their skills while having fun and building life-long friendships through baseball.”  

Recognized as the March 2024 Little League Diamond Leader of the Month, as part of the Girls with Game 50 Celebration, Ms. Darling recently shared her experience in a Diamond Leader Discussion: 

From your experience with the Little League Diamond Leader Training Program, why do you think it is important for not just coaches, but for all volunteers to take the training   

“The Diamond Leader training reminds coaches and league volunteers why we do this in the first place, how to connect with the players, and how to give these young athletes the best experience possible. To do that, we need to connect with the Little Leaguers, meet them at their level, and remind ourselves that our learning as a coach and volunteer is never done.”

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Little League Softball® World Series, and 50 years of girls being allowed to participate in the Little League program. What does the Girls with Game 50 celebration mean to you as a female playing an active role in the program? 

Celebrating 50 years to me is very important When I was growing up there were some baseball programs available to me, but not to this extent or this recognition. To see girls now getting to be a part of this recognition means a lot... Plus, if there are other women out there like me who may have once played softball or baseball, I hope by recognizing girls in both that these women will see it and put their hand up and volunteer as a coach because we need you, the leagues need you, and the kids need you.”  

How do you see your district’s program positively impacting the females in the area who choose to participate?  

“I think that providing girls a safe space to play is really important. As League Registrar, I noticed a significant drop in girls playing baseball after age eight. Seeing that only four or five girls were continuing with baseball out of an original pool of 20-plus girls, that is when I knew there needed to be a change, and as a league and district, we needed to figure out a way to help these girls keep playing baseball.”  

What does it mean to you to be a Diamond Leader  

It is significant. By taking the training, you are learning to acknowledge the athletes and focusing on providing them with the tools that they need to not only be great athletes but to go out and be great people in our communities. If you think about the significant impact that you will have on your players, it is rewarding. The training resonated with me because it reminded me of the coaches I had growing up. I never had to question the belief my coaches had in me or how they brought us together as a team because, win or lose, they were always proud of us and encouraged us to be our best. That’s the coach and Diamond Leader that I strive to be with my players and how I encourage coaches in our league to be.”  

Liz Darling with her son, Jace

The Little League Diamond Leader program, which was first piloted with nearly 1,000 Little League volunteers throughout the 2022 season, was created as part of the Susan Crown Exchange’s Million Coaches Challenge and developed in coordination with the Aspen Institute’s Project Play. Focused on ensuring children have a positive, well-rounded experience on and off the field, the Little League Diamond Leader Training Program is a FREE educational resource that provides coaches with an understanding of the impact that mental, social, and emotional well-being has in youth sports through detailed information, interactive scenarios, and a variety of additional resources. Learn more and become a Diamond Leader yourself by visiting 

Become a Diamond Leader Today

NOTE: The Little League Diamond Leader Discussions is a piece of the #GWG50 Celebration in 2024, with interviews of select Girls with Game who have completed the Little League Diamond Leader training program and exemplify their learnings at their local fields. To learn more about this initiative, visit The #GWG50 celebration is proudly supported by DICK’S Sporting Goods, a long-time Little League partner that is committed to creating opportunities for girls and women in sports and will be activating around key events and milestones this year.