“It’s been an absolute honor to coach and mentor ALL of our Glory players who played for something bigger than themselves, who gave their teammates their very best (#IronSharpensIron), and who competed at the highest level. Thank YOU for helping us shape our Purpose Driven Softball movement. We hope you take great pride in what YOU helped build and that you will cherish it always.”
— Coach Mertz

TEAM ALUMNAE & PARENTS YEARBOOK

Mike, thank you for everything you do for the young ladies. What you do is not normal. It is special. And truly shows your absolute caring nature for doing everything in your power to help each one achieve their potential and dream. Wanted you to know that I recognize it and I am grateful. Fortunate to know you.
— Gregg Ritchie, former Pittsburgh Pirates Hitting Coach, Team USA Baseball Coach, GW Head Baseball Coach, Glory Parent 2014-2018, UVA Parent

 

Joining Glory has been one of the best decisions of my life. The program not only made me a better softball player but a better person. Thank you for the unbelievable opportunities that you have given me. Thank you for introducing me to my best friends. I don’t know where I’d be or who I’d be without Glory. You took me in as a young girl who liked to play softball and turned me into a strong, capable woman with a passion for the sport of softball. I will never forget all the amazing experiences and I will be eternally grateful to have been a part of this Glory family.
— Kathryn Sandercock, ‘18, Florida State | 2021 Women’s College World Series | USA Jr. Natl Team | PGF All-American | VA Gatorade POY

 

The 7 years I spent playing for Glory were some the best years of my life. I made life long friends and memories that I will have forever. This organization prepared me for college not only on the field but off. Academics was always a priority for this organization as it is in college. On the field the amount of reps and good instruction, both offensively and defensively, really prepared me well for the practices at Penn State. Having my number 23 retired at my signing senior year is something I will never forget. I am in debt to Coach Mertz, Coach Griffith and this organization for playing a part in turning me into the strong young woman I am today.
— Ally Kurland, ‘18, Penn State | PGF All-American | #23 Retired

 

Our family has both the honor and privilege of having the longest tenure with Coach Mertz and his Virginia Glory teams. Putting words to feelings underestimates how much love, respect, and appreciation we have for the time, energy, and passion the Glory coaches put into each player. Coach Mertz, Coach Griffith and Coach Neuhart were more than softball coaches; they served as mentors, sounding-boards, and the biggest advocates a player could have in supporting Ally’s dream of attending and playing at Penn State. Having been on this softball journey since our daughter was 9 years old, there was no one we entrusted our daughter’s goals and ambitions to more than Glory. We are grateful and blessed to have been part of the Glory family!
— Liz and Kevin Kurland, Glory Parents 2012-2018, Penn State Parent

 

Glory is one of the most common praise words in the scripture. Glory translated in Hebrew can be defined as honor and respect. Glory Softball has taught me both honor and respect. Not only respect for the players and coaches around me, but for the game, because you aren’t promised tomorrow. Glory has also taught me to honor this sport as well as the greats who have worn this jersey before me because it is a legacy that they have all worked hard to provide for me. Purpose Driven Softball has taught me the true GIFT of the game. Driving six hours one way to practice every weekend wasn’t something I had to do… it was something that I GOT to do. God gave me the opportunity to play the sport I love with the people I love. Playing for this organization has taught me more about who I am and what boundaries I used to put on myself. Taking a leap of faith and joining a national team that was out of a whole different state was uncomfortable at first, but it taught me that you have to be uncomfortable in order to grow. I will forever be indebted to this program.
— Makenzie Mason, ’20, UCONN | PGF All-American Finalist

 

Mike, I can’t thank you enough for everything. I am speechless right now and I will tell anyone that the process is 2 parts: 1) Your daughter putting in the hard work and dedication. 2) Being a part of a servant organization with purpose, culture and high expectations and standards for their players. You absolutely give more to the girls and the team than you get in return. But it’s times like these when you can look back and know you made a difference in a girl‘s life. Thank you, Mike. I can’t wait to give you a big hug and a hearty thank you. It is a blessing to have had the opportunity to put on the Glory uniform and play with this TEAM! Love ya, Brother.
— Elmer Mason, Glory Parent/Coach 2017-2020, UCONN Parent

 

I’ll never forget the day I tried out for Glory. At the end of the practice, we were doing wall sits while holding a rope over our heads then we had to run down and touch a line. Somehow I managed to get at the end of that wall sit line and my legs were burning by the time I had to run. Finally it was my turn to run and when I took off my legs just gave out and I wiped out across the turf (you had to be there to really understand how funny this was). After wiping out, I got up and finished running. At the time, this seemed like the most embarrassing thing, especially because I was the new girl. Even though I wiped out, I still made the team (yay!) and it is something I will always be grateful for.

Everyone, I mean everyone, involved in the Glory organization that I crossed paths with were phenomenal people. They cared about me as a player and a person. This organization helped me mature not only as a teammate and player but as a person too. Glory brought me to some of the best people I have ever met. I formed relationships with teammates and coaches that will last a lifetime. I also have memories that I will never forget (the ups and the downs…haha). Getting to play with the Glory was so much fun and if I could go back and do it all again I would. I learned about myself and the game. I was fortunate to learn from my coaches, teammates, and players from other teams too.

Glory softball was a huge part of my life for many years and it is also a huge part of so many lives. Whether this is just the beginning of your travel ball career, or near the end, enjoy every moment because it flies by. Take in time at the hotel pool with your teammates, traveling with your parents, or just those small conversations with umpires in the field. At the end of the day, those little moments and the relationships you form are what you walk away with. Those things are better than winning a game any day (winning games is still nice though). Lastly, always remember to say thank you to the people who have helped you to be where you are, and play with everything you’ve got all of the time!
— Maddie Gordon, ‘21, Penn State | PGF All-American Finalist

 

My Glory experience really showed me what it’s like to have a team that is really bonded and cares about each other. Softball is about more than the sport. It’s about building relationships and friendships. Glory is the type of program that builds a family.
— Arizona Ritchie, ‘18, University of Virginia | PGF All-American

 

Glory, thank you so much for teaching me aspects about myself that I never knew could be possible. Prior to Glory, I struggled with confidence on the mound and within myself. The coaches and staff believed in me from the second I stepped onto the field for the first time and taught me to embrace failure, rather than letting it knock me down. The constant support from both my coaches and my teammates allowed me to build my confidence from the ground up and I will forever be grateful for that.

Not only did the Glory organization help me with personal growth, but it also helped me become a better teammate and person. I now know how to support others and simply listen to a teammate when something is wrong. I believe no other organization could have taught me these skills that I learned and applied as well as the glory organization did. I will miss my glory gals and coaches, but I can’t wait to embark on a new adventure and dream of mine that the Glory helped me to achieve. Thank you Glory!!
— Maria Urban, ‘21, Lehigh | PGF All-American Finalist

 

Coach Mertz and the entire Glory organization: thank you, thank you, thank you!!  Thank you for believing in a young rising sophomore, and helping her believe in herself!  Thank you for teaching her, training her, and mentoring her to success at the highest level of national competition! And thank you for doing it with a perfect balance of encouragement, toughness, empathy, and competitive joy!
Mike, we are truly blessed to have a such a nationally respected Coach and Advisor in our own backyard.  Your expertise in navigating the recruiting process is second to none on the East Coast. It was THE single most valuable factor helping Maria land at the school of her choice.  And your advice was SPOT ON, even when difficult to hear. We are forever grateful. And when Maria takes the mound at Lehigh, know that you and the other great Glory coaches will be there with her.
— Bruce Urban, Glory Parent/Coach 2019-2021, Lehigh Parent

 

I loved being a part of the Glory Organization! Everyone was always so positive and supportive and really focused on creating a good, positive culture for the players. My teammates are some of my favorite people in the world. There was never any drama with them and they welcomed newcomers to their teams with open arms. I love the coaches, Coach Mertz and Coach Griffith! They created such an amazingly supportive and positive environment for us and I loved playing for them! All the places we went to we were a family and we knew that we would always support each other in anything we did. Just like a family should.
— Kaitlin Beasley Polko, ‘17, Coastal Carolina | MD Gatorade POY | PGF All-American Finalist

 

I am so thankful for all of the opportunities the Glory gave me. Not only did the organization make me a better player, but they made me understand the values of hard work and family. I wouldn’t be where I am now without the Glory. The friends that I’ve made within the program will stick with me no matter where we are. Coach Mertz, Coach Griffith and Coach Neuhart, thank you for accepting me into the program with open arms and encouraging me to be the best player I could be!
— Victoria Figueroa, ‘18, James Madison | Puerto Rico Jr. Natl Team | PGF All-American

 

Playing for Glory was an amazing experience. You don’t find many travel teams with such passionate coaches. You would think that coaching is their second full-time job. They truly love all of their players and put so much into allowing them to live out their dreams. What makes Glory so special is that it breeds a culture of unity and family. Everyone says that the game teaches you so much about life. I have experienced this first-hand in numerous ways. However, I think playing for Glory taught me one of the most important lessons the game has to offer — it’s also about the relationships and memories you make along the way. Glory isn’t just a team; it’s a family. I have made some of my best friends and memories while playing for this organization. I was able to take this lesson with me to college and started appreciating every moment, from the exciting wins to the early morning run tests. All because I knew how special it is to be a part of a team. Glory taught me that softball is more than just a game.
— Tori Gilbert, ‘18, University of Virginia

 

The glory organization will forever hold a special place in my heart. Everyone from the coaching staff, to the families, and every player creating one unit and one heck of a team. Having a team that sets a standard and not letting anyone fall short of their potential, constantly pushing each other to be better. It’s amazing how much I got from this experience.
— Keira Womack, ‘18, East Carolina

 

I am so grateful God led me to the Glory organization because of the amazing people and family atmosphere. Everyone truly cares for one another. The competitive energy and drive for greatness, created by the team and coaches, made me better everyday. Thank you Coach Mertz, Coach G, and Coach Neuhart! Thank you, Glory!
— Brit Lew, ‘18, Liberty

 

Coach Mertz, I was just thinking of Glory and how thankful I am to have played for you. And how much your practices have helped me adjust to college practices…especially your 4-hour practices! I miss you and the girls so much, hopefully I can visit a practice when I’m back home.
— Jazmyn Stokes, ‘17, Bucknell

 

Coach Mertz, playing for the Glory organization was such an amazing experience. We weren’t just a team, we were a family. Traveling all around the country wouldn’t have been the same without the culture we built. All of my teammates, coaches, and all of our families made each time we stepped onto the field special because we just embraced each and every moment. The relationships I’ve built through playing for this organization will always be there no matter how far apart we are. Always ‘All Guts, All Glory’.
— Amanda Nee, ‘17, University of Maine

 

Mike, we can’t thank you enough for all you have done for Emily since we met you last July! You took a chance on a unknown pitcher with no experience at the elite level and gave her an opportunity to chase a dream she has had since she was 10 years old (to play college softball). Since the day you told us she could guest pitch with your Glory team at PGF you have been a caring mentor and advocate who welcomed us into the Glory organization and showed us how to navigate the recruiting process. Your positive coaching style and interest in all your softball girls is amazing and we can’t be more thankful that our lives crossed paths. Emily is very excited about her commitment to UMaine and we will be forever grateful. This wouldn’t have happened without your help!!
— Carl Reid, ’18, Parent

Mike Mertz

Head Coach / Recruiting Advisor
703-371-3312  /  virginiaglory99@gmail.com

Since 2016, 100% of Coach Mertz‘s grads have gone on to play in the college ranks. In 2020, Coach Mertz was ranked by ExtraInningSoftball.com as #33 in the country (#3 in the NE Region). His teams have produced six PGF All-Americans (NE Region) and 13 PGF All American finalists in the region. During his tenure, the team overall GPA is 3.9 which has allowed many players to earn academic scholarships as part of their packages. Excellence in class, and class on the field.

CHAMPIONS – 18u Triple Crown Summer Nationals (SC ’20)
CHAMPIONS – 16u Team NJ Summer Showcase (NJ ’16)
3rd Place – 16u PGF Platinum Nationals (CA ’15) *as 14u/15u split team
5th Place – 18u Louisville Slugger IDT (Louisville, CO ’19)
9th Place – 18u USAES World Fastpitch Championships (FL ’19)
TOP 5 – 18u Atlanta Legacy (GA ’17)
17th Place – 14u PGF Premier Nationals (CA ’14)
Runner Up – 16U USA Elite Select SUPER 32 (Las Vegas ’19)
TOP 25PGF Nationals (6 times)

In 2021, three alums participated in the College World Series. In 2017, the 18U team went 47-6-1 on the national stage. From the ’18 grad class, two players competed on ’19 junior national teams for both USA and Puerto Rico.

Coach Mertz has a great passion for teaching hitting, pitching, defense, base running, speed of play, instinctual play and the mental aspects of the game.

 

Team Alumnae (Ages / Tenure)

Ava Kang ’22 • Yale (14U & 18u)

Savannah Nash ‘22 • Saint Francis (18U)

Daniella Lew ’22 • George Washington (16u)

Reese Torres ’22 • George Washington (16-18u)

Maddie Gordon ’21 • Penn State (14-18u)

Jaimee Hardy ’21 • Campbell (14-18u)

Katie Jo Moery ’21 • Maine (16-18u)

Maria Urban ’21 • Lehigh (16-18u)

Dani Brown ’21 • Mount St. Mary’s (17-18u)

Kiaris Alvarado-Rojas ’20 • Georgetown (17-18u)

Tori Bowles ’20 • Mount St. Mary’s (16-18u)

Makenzie Mason ’20 • UCONN (16-18u)

Bella Smith ’20 • James Madison/Campbell (15-18u)
2021 Women’s College World Series

Sidney Torres ‘20 • George Washington (18u)

Abby Weaver ’20 • Virginia (18u)

Jenna Pearson ’20 • Virginia Tech (14-16u)

Amy Hills ’19 • Rollins (18u)

Katie Delph ’19 • Morgan State (18u)

Hannah Lalk ’19 • Morgan State (16/18u)

Kathryn Sandercock ’18 • Florida State (16-18u)
2021 Women’s College World Series; USA National Team; VA Gatorade Player of the Year (’17); MaxPreps Player of the Year (’17); PGF HS All-American

Victoria Figueroa ’18 • James Madison (16-18u)
Puerto Rico Junior National Team; PGF HS All-American

Arizona Ritchie ’18 • Virginia (15-18u)
PGF HS All-American

Ally Kurland ’18 • Penn State (9-18u)
PGF HS All-American | #23 retired!

Carlie Mertz ’18 • St. Joseph’s (9-18u)

Keira Womack ’18 • East Carolina (13-18u)

Cait Myers ’18 • Marshall (16-18u)

Anna Deshaies ’18 • Penn State (16-18u)
PGF HS All-American

Tori Gilbert ’18 • Virginia (13-18u)

Brittany Lew ’18 • Liberty / Georgetown (18u)

Avery Neuhart ’18 • Mount St. Mary’s (16-18u)

Karlye Pallotta ’18 • Bowdoin (18u)

Nicole Kidwiler ’18 • Towson (18u Guest/Recruiting Coordinator)

Aly Rayle ’18 • Virginia (17u Guest/Recruiting Coordinator)

Emily Reid ’18 • Maine (16u Guest/Recruiting Coordinator)

Kaitlin Beasley-Polko ’17 • Coastal Carolina (15-18u)
MD Gatorade Player of the Year (’17); USA Today 3rd Team All American (’17); Washington Post All-Met Player of Year (’17)

Jazmyn Stokes ’17 • Bucknell (13-18u)

Raina Cooper ’17 • UAB / Bowie State (14-18u)

Michelle Sullivan ’17 • James Madison (13-18u)
2021 Women’s College World Series

Amanda Nee ’17 • Maine (13-18u)

Abby Nyquist ’17 • Christopher Newport (13-18u)

Sienna Williams ’17 • Radford (9-16u)

Julia Sinnett ’17 • Virginia Wesleyan (12-14u)