Netball currently has clubs in 35 states throughout the country, with Florida holding about 40% of those registrations and an equivalent percentage representation on the National Squads. That number is always growing as more Americans are being exposed to the sport by its parent body, the United States of America Netball Association (USANA).
Two years after incorporating the Florida Netball Association (FNA) and being sanctioned by the USANA, the USA parent-body, the organization got its first taste of international play, early in the 1991 season by playing host to the Mavisville Prep School from Jamaica.
The 1991 season culminated in our hosting the first Florida Invitational Open. Teams from Jamaica and The Bahamas were our first international guests. Over the years the tournament has gone through several transformations, even being referred to as the Miami Invitational Netball Classic as recently as 2003, though no longer held in Miami.
The tournament was traditionally held in November of each year, and has grown into a two-day event that has hosted up to 50 teams at times. The influx of visitors to our shores brings with it the accompanying increase in hotel and restaurant patronage.
The Coral Springs Gymnasium has been home to the Classic from 2003 to 2006. In 2006 the City of Tamarac, just south of Coral Springs shared the honor of being a tournament venue, as they prepared to introduce netball into the sports and leisure activities of that City.
Our plan for the future is to make the FNA Netball Classic the premier tournament in the USA – officially placing Florida on the map as the hub for netball in the country. To this end, The Florida Netball Association has contracted 4 Tors Inc., an established international tour operator, as the official logistics director for the 16th Annual Florida Netball Classics. Transformation is imminent, from a new website, www.floridanetballclassic.com scheduled to be launched on May 10th, 2007 to the Florida Netball Classics tournament date changing from its regular 3rd weekend in November to October 12 -14, 2007.
Contact has already been made with teams in Australia, New Zealand and England, some of whom were the initiators of the communication expressing interest in visiting Florida with school as well as club teams. We plan to extend the tournament to incorporate other commonwealth countries and to solicit the Western Caribbean Islands and South America.
We look forward to welcoming all past, present and future teams to our tournament and hope to share our vision and enthusiasm in making this the feature netball tournament for schools and clubs in the western hemisphere.
Other Countries That Have Participated in the FNA Netball Classic
Antigua/Barbuda, Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, Cayman Islands, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, British Virgin Islands