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Gopher State Association Spotlight - Woodbury

Welcome to the Gopher State Baseball Association Spotlight! We will be highlighting our baseball communities throughout the summer.  The second spot in the batting order is Woodbury Athletic Association. 

Check out our previous entry, STMA

Woodbury Athletic Association | Woodbury MN

Outgoing Travel Director: Rich Orbell
Incoming Travel Director: Mike Carlson

GSTC Results

3rd Place:
4th Place:

Results 2017-2023



What makes community baseball special?

"I've been involved in community baseball now for 16 years with multiple sons going through the program. What makes it so special for me is volunteers coming together to help the youth be the best versions of themselves on and off the field. To be able to be there with the players as they grow through the years and then see them succeed as they get into higher levels has been a true joy to be part of."

There are many sports out there and you've chosen to be leaders in the baseball clubhouse - what makes baseball as a sport so unique?

"The combination that baseball brings between a team and individual success has always what sets the sport apart from most others. In one half of the inning, you can strike out looking and think the world is over, and the bottom of the inning you can make a diving stop and need a great catch by a teammate at first to win the game. It's truly a joy for me as a coach to watch it all come together for the boys. I'm their biggest cheerleader. "

How have you seen your association grow over the years?

"I've been lucky enough to have led our association for 9 years. My first year we had 12 travel teams and this year there are 21. We've been able to grow the program to be able to offer almost year round training and have just opened up our own facility for our program and softball program to use. Many people talk about baseball as a sport on the decline, but at least in Woodbury it continues to prosper, most due to a dedicated group of volunteers in both our in house and travel programs."

When assigning coaches, what criteria or points of emphasis do you use?

"First, it's always tough to find volunteer coaches, the season in our program can start in February with indoor practices and go through most of July, so we you do find a good ones - you don't want to lose them! We do have an interview process that we follow and through that process we try to find coaches that have the following skillsets/traits: 1) have the right perspective/outlook into youth sports in general, that this is really all about teaching, rather than winning 2) that coaches are in it for the entire team, from the first kid to the 12th, that they are truly there to help everyone, and 3) if we're lucky, have the right technical knowledge to instill the right behaviors & skills at an early age."

What does your tryout process look like - how are teams formed?

"We are one of the associations that have fall tryouts, so our teams can practice in the winter time. Our tryout process, without going into too much detail, is a combination of coaches evaluations from the previous year, coupled with a 2 day tryout process that utilizes independent evaluators (we use a local college team). We are transparent with families about what skills we test for, how the process works, etc. Our goal is to have teams compete at the highest level of each age as much as we possibly can. "

What challenges do you see for community baseball?

"One challenge that many people see, club baseball, is not as big of a concern for me as maybe some others. I think both community baseball and club baseball can work together, as I think each group provides a valuable service for different families. I think the challenges have been the same for many years, but recently amplified - parent interactions is always a concern, it's extremely hard to find good volunteers because of concerns about parent conflict. Specifically in our area, field availability is a major concern as the sport is growing in the city of Woodbury with no additional fields to support the growth."

Do you have any advice for other associations?

"Do I have any advice to give? ha! no! I feel like even after 9 years of leading, I still don't have it figured out and always looking for better ways to do things."

Who are some notable alumni from your association?

"We've been extremely fortunate to have a longer list of college alumni come through our association over the years, and I would feel bad for those that I miss mentioning because there have been so many, but one in particular is Max Meyer, who went on to the University of Minnesota and now is a top 5 prospect for the Miami Marlins starting the season at AAA."

Editor's Note: Max recently picked up his first MLB Win!

This or That?

Sunflower Seeds


Day Games


Bubble Gum


Night Games