Six members of Team Mexico—Taylor McQuillin, Danielle O’Toole, Sashel Palacios, Amanda Sanchez, Anissa Urtez and Tori Vidales—will play in Athletes Unlimited this summer, a
new pro league that features a unique scoring system that highlights individual and team performance.
The inaugural season begins Aug. 30 and runs through Sept. 29. It will include 56 athletes on four teams, each playing 30 games over five weeks in Rosemont, Illinois.
The teams will be managed by players and redrafted each week by the four players who earn the most points the previous week.
It will pit Team Mexico’s athletes against elite competition as they continue to prepare for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which were postponed to July 2021 due to the Coronavirus crisis.
Statement from Rolando Guerrero, the President of the Mexican Federation: "The fact that six athletes from our Mexican National Team will participate in the Athletes Unlimited league is excellent for their preparation. To be able to continue preparing for the Olympic Games in 2021 is a huge accomplishment for these excellent National Team athletes. From our Mexican National Federation, I wish them success during this new league."
McQuillin, a crafty left-handed pitcher from the University of Arizona, was a NFCA First-Team All-American and First-Team All-Pac-12 in 2019 as she led the Wildcats to their first Women’s College World Series appearance since 2010.
She was selected by the Cleveland Comets in the 2019 NPF Draft, the same year she joined Team Mexico.
O'Toole, another lefty from the University of Arizona, was drafted by the Chicago Bandits in 2017 after a decorated career in Tucson, where she was a NFCA First Team All-American and the 2017 Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year, helping the Wildcats capture their first conference championship since 2010.
She joined Team Mexico in the summer of 2019 and has prior international experience with Team USA.
Palacios, a former standout at Arizona State University, was named to the 2017 COSIDA Academic All District Softball Team after hitting .322 with 10 home runs as a senior. She started in all 53 games, only one of four Sun Devils to do so.
The left-handed-hitting catcher has participated in several international events since joining Team Mexico in 2014, including winning gold and silver medals in the Central American games.
Sanchez, an infielder from Louisiana State University, was an NFCA Second-Team All-American and second-team All SEC in 2019 after transferring in from the University of Missouri. In 2018, she made the SEC All-Defensive Team for her standout performance at third base.
Sanchez joined Team Mexico and the Comets in 2019. She hit .324 and had an on-base percentage of .527 in her rookie season in Cleveland.
Urtez, an outstanding middle infielder from the University of Utah, hit .410 and led the conference with 142 fielding assists as a senior in 2017 as the Utes hosted their first Super Regional in school history. Urtez twice earned All Pac-12 honors and has won gold and silver medals with Mexico.
Vidales was one of the best players in Texas A&M history from 2015-18. A career .355 hitter, she holds the program records for runs scored, RBI and total bases. She also ranks second in school history in home runs (65) and was a NFCA Second Team All-American, as well as a member of the All-SEC and All-SEC Defensive Teams.
As Team Mexico's starting first baseman, Vidales has earned both gold and silver medals in multiple international events.
All 56 of the Athletes Unlimited members will be scored on a leaderboard which can be found here. The leaderboard consists of Rank, MVP Points, WIN points, and STAT points.
Athletes Unlimited games will be played on CBS and ESPN. The season schedule will be uploaded as soon as it is posted.
Statement from McQuillin: "Playing in Athletes Unlimited will help tremendously with Olympic preparation. I feel that getting to experience as much live gameplay will benefit all of the Olympic athletes playing in this league. We are getting the best of the best competition, where all the players in the league are top notch. Being able to play against the best will most definitely help our preparation prior to being able to play with out team again and compete together. This league will hopefully pave the way for younger female athletes to gain the opportunity to have women's professional sports excel for them as they get older. The goal is to get softball viewed professionally the way people view softball collegiately. Growing the game will allow a higher number of viewers past the college level and extend softball beyond that."
Statement from O’Toole: "This new league has given so many women the opportunity to be in charge of their own career. In doing so, the platform for Women's sports has grown in just a few short months. I am excited to not only play with my fellow teammates, but with athletes from multiple countries who will be participating in Tokyo as well. In preparation for 2021, these next six weeks will be priceless for many of us. Athletes Unlimited has worked hard to get us not only what we need as athletes, but what we need as professionals, and a big factor is TV time. For the younger generation to watch us... to dream like we did... it's a blessing."
Statement from Palacios: "First and foremost I am so grateful that I am considered to be a small part of this new league. To be able to play against and with the best softball players is an accomplishment that I don't take lightly. I'm so excited to compete and learn. I'm hoping that this league changes the format and culture of professional softball. Not only is this an opportunity for us women to continue living our dreams, but it will give the younger generation of softball players the chance to watch, learn and fall in love with this beautiful game."
Statement from Sanchez: "Athletes Unlimited is a breath of fresh air. As we all know, women's professional leagues have struggled and I think this is a great way to try and establish a new perspective. The business model and different strategies are as professional as it gets and this will hopefully allow Professional Softball to be taken more seriously. I hope that with this new opportunity, our audience will continue to grow and become everything we want it to be."
Statement from Urtez: "I think it will be an incredible opportunity for not only our sport, but for female professionals as well. Creating this league is something that has never been done before, which makes it so exciting to be a part of the building process. It will definitely feel weird playing against my teammates, but I am so excited to hit the field with and against them knowing we are all getting to compete against some of the best softball players in the country."
Statement from Vidales: "This league is great for our Olympic preparation. It gives us the opportunity to play against the best players in the U.S. Six weeks of competition is a huge gain for all of us, especially during a time where not much softball is being played. This will be a plus when we are all able to get back together and play as Mexico! As far as playing against my current teammates, it is all good fun. It's like a game within a game. We know that each person will win some and lose some but a good chance for banter if we make it to a base and our teammate is playing defense."
Photo credits: University of Arizona, Seattle Times, The Eagle, The Advocate, Sun Devil Softball, Chicago Bandits NPF. <Athletes Unlimited Logo>
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