West Tampa Little League gets new leadership

WEST TAMPA, Fla. — Little league will always be special for Nilses Vera. It’s part of her identity, and it’s what welcomed her to the United States.

“So when I immigrated to the United States, I was alone and I was an only child – and I was alone. And I didn’t speak English either,” Vera recalls. “I felt 100% accepted for who I was.”

Now, years later, she wants to bring that same warm feeling to kids who play for the historic West Tampa Little League, which is located on N. Jamaica St. near MacFarlane Park in West Tampa.

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Vera is the new president.

“I didn’t think I would take this job, to be honest,” she said.

Vera, however, is committed to the new role.

“If I could be a voice for parents and children, then that’s my role,” she said.

According to Vera, she and a new board of directors took over months ago as the historic little league entered a new chapter after years of problems and more recent questions about the leadership and direction of the league.

“We realized there was a serious need for change, and we wanted to impact that change, and the only way to do that was to commit our time,” Vera said.

Vera said she and the board are committed to transparency and effective communication priorities to help regain public trust and build membership.

The current enrollment is around 100 children, which Vera says is down from recent years. The league hopes to double its membership.

“If the kids are happy, we’re happy,” Vera said. “If the children are not happy, we are not happy, and we have to change something.”

On Saturday, Mayor Jane Castor will help Vera and others cut the ribbon on the league’s newest field.

“Tampa Parks & Recreation is pleased to continue its partnership with the Little League Association of the West Tampa Little League and is excited to work with its new Chairman of the Board, Nilses Vera, to both strengthen baseball league and to ensure a strong return to softball post-COVID to help keep the girls in the game,” a city parks and recreation department coordinator wrote in a recent statement.

Brian Auld, President of the Tampa Bay Rays, and Rays players Brandon Lowe and Tyler Glasnow will be at the grand opening and will participate in a “Play Ball” clinic, which you can register here.

For more information on the West Tampa Little League, including how to register for the Fall or Spring Ball, visit the league website at this link.

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