A new softball academy comes to Fort Walton Beach as the city begins supporting Travel Ball


The Fort Walton Beach Rec Department has something new for fast pitch softball beginning in April.

The year-round ‘850 United Academy’ is for girls ages 7-18 and is taught by travel ball coaches, high school coaches and college players. 

“They will create leagues out of this Academy that will play internally, and they will also create some travel groups out of this Academy,” said Doug Rainer, Public Information Officer for the city of Fort Walton Beach. “This Academy is new for our Rec Department, but we think that it’ll be really beneficial to grow girls playing ball here and also to keep them here in the city. They won’t have to go to a different city or a different area to play travel ball. We’ll do that right here in Fort Walton Beach.”

According to the city’s website, with the City of Fort Walton Beach representing the organization, there is no longer a need for “pop-up” travel teams

“We are 850 United to bring together a large unit of female athletes, at little cost, by merging the local travel teams in this area so we can play together as one unit. This will strengthen our teams and make college coaches recognize, know, and want 850 United players.”

The cost is $45 per month (no contracts) and includes professional training on and off the field, an 850 United training shirt, team bonding activities, travel teams for all league ages (8-U, 10-U, 12-U, 14-U, 16-U and 18-U), and more. 

It is important to note that the Academy is separate from the Travel Team. The Academy makes it possible to play at a higher level without the enormous travel fees, and players on the Travel Team are chosen from the Academy.

As for baseball, the Spring League is currently accepting registration from March 2nd – April 1st for ages 5-12.

  • Tee Ball
  • Coach Pitch
  • Minor Baseball
  • Major Baseball

“We are in need of sponsors and we are in need of coaches,” explained Rainer. “That’s something that we’ve been trying to  really push out and to get some help there. But the leagues are growing and they’re filling up, so we encourage everybody to go ahead and sign up if they are wanting to play.”

For more information on both of the leagues, head over to fwb.org/youthathletics.

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