It is impossible to measure the impact International Stars has had since we began in 2012. Almost 1,000 players have participated in our various unique programs and have benefited through life changing experiences.
Our International Tournaments - Finkstonbal (Austria), Yoshida Challenge (France), and Prague Baseball Week (Czech Republic) have connected over 250 players and coaches from over 25 countries, helping countless players secure additional professional opportunities in baseball. Our tournament teams have won 6 combined championships and finished runner-up twice.
Our Detroit Academy has served over 500 kids through our year-round free baseball programming and elementary school outreach. We have helped graduate numerous little league players to high school baseball and have positively altered the lives of so many more that would otherwise not have had opportunities to play.
Since 2013 our College Showcase has been attended by 150 players from 12 different countries and has helped over 70 players receive scholarship offers, with 40 international players accepting. In 2020, two alumni were named Junior College All-Americans - Giulio Monello (Italy) and Lenin Ashby (Aruba) while playing for Odessa College in Texas.
ISB has helped 4 players sign MLB contracts out of our program - Matteo Bocchi (Italy), Cesare Astorri (Italy), Marco Cardoso (Germany), and Max MacNabb (USA).
There are so many life-changing stories, here are some in their own words:
Matteo Bocchi was an under-scouted teenager from Italy who spoke very little English and had a dream of playing baseball in America. He came to our 2014 College Showcase and performed well enough to get a scholarship offer to Odessa Junior College in Texas. After 2 years of hard work at Odessa he was able to land a scholarship at one of the best baseball programs in the country - the University of Texas, where he helped pitch the Longhorns to the College World Series in 2018. After graduating in 2019 he signed a professional contract with the Chicago Cubs organization, making it all the way up to AAA level. Matteo is the embodiment of what International Stars is all about - we provide the platform and connections to excel and he did the rest. We are proud of Matteo as he continues his journey to one day become a Major Leaguer!
"It’s hard to tell how International Stars impacted me in only one sentence. After losing hope of signing pro from Italy, International Stars gave me more than a second chance... they gave me the opportunity to not only chase my baseball dream, but also the occasion to live and study away from home in one of the best Universities in the world."
Matteo Bocchi (Italy)
College Showcase 2014
Odessa College & University of Texas
Current Pro Pitcher for Chicago Cubs
Max MacNabb, an American pitcher from Encinitas California found himself on the international baseball circuit after being released from the San Diego Padres organization. He was 24 years old, traveling the world playing ball - with stops in France and Australia before joining the International Stars at Prague Baseball Week in 2016. After a fantastic winter season pitching for the Adelaide Bite of the Australian Baseball League, Max returned to Europe to pitch for Skokani Olomouc in Czech Republic and once again returned to Prague Baseball Week to pitch for the Stars. There he dominated the Czech National Team, and with more maturity and his advanced pitching repitoire he signed with the Baltimore Orioles organization. Max's 2nd chance in MLB rarely happens, but thanks to International Stars platform and his own hard work, he was able to accomplish the rarest of feats.
"My overall experience with International Stars is that it has given me some of the best memories both on and off the baseball field [that] I have had, up to this point. And without Prague Baseball Week and the International Stars community, I certainly wouldn’t have the opportunity I have now."
Max MacNabb (U.S.)
Prague Baseball Week 2016-2017
Baltimore Orioles (MLB)
Gateway Grizzlies (Frontier League)
We first notcied Cesare Astorri, a catcher from Parma Italy, playing at a tournament in Novara Italy as a skinny 15-year old who didn't jump out other than calling and catching a good game. We invited him to participate in our College Showcase in 2016 after attending the MLB European Academy where he went unsigned. After becoming too old to participate in the Junior European Championships, Cesare got stronger and better and he came back to the program in 2017 - first playing for the Future Stars at Prague Baseball Week and then coming to the Fall Showcase in Arizona that same year. There he put on a SHOW. Originally coming to the Showcase to get a college opportunity, he did that and much more. At the well attended Showcase day he was noticed by a number of MLB Scouts which led to a private workout and eventually signing with the Oakland A's. Cesare's cool story shows that it only takes one opportunity be seen and your dreams can be realized!
"I would like to start by thanking the International Stars for this experience that thanks to them I managed to make my dream come true. I remember when I went to Mesa in Arizona for the first time, a beautiful experience, full of enthusiasm, hard work and lots of fun. International Stars is a fantastic organization, with valuable coaches and people who really care about you. Thanks to the International Stars I signed a professional contract with the Oakland A’s and will be forever grateful to the staff and organization."
Cesare Astorri (Italy)
College Showcase 2016 & 2017
Current Pro Catcher for the Oakland A's
"From Prague to Arizona and ending up in Missouri. International Stars helped me to meet a lot of new people, and definitely helped me out getting to where I am right now. I really appreciated all the help!"
Martijn Schoonderwoerd (Netherlands)
College Showcase & Prague Baseball Week - 2019
Current Pitcher at Mineral Area College (Missouri)
"We had great baseball knowledge from MLB/College scouts and coaches. Every campus and baseball field we went to was breathtaking. Baseball in the U.S. is so different than with us here in Europe. Not only has traveling with the International Stars helped me become a better baseball player but even a better person. You'll get in touch with so many different people from all over the globe and share stories and knowledge. It's a beautiful opportunity to get the chance to prove yourself in front of a lot of colleges and pro teams! It helped me to get several offers from college teams! So it's worth your while. During these trips I had the time of my life!
Damian Melis (Netherlands)
College Showcase 2014 - 2016
"The International Stars provided a different sport outside of basketball and football for my son Darreon to play. Baseball has allowed him to connect with other kids and build friendships. It keeps him active and the coaching staff keeps him motivated, they educate, and inspire the kids. My son has been with this coaching staff since he was 6years old and he has learned commitment, sportsmanship, honesty, loyalty, and courage. It has helped with his hand and eye coordinations, physical strength and a multitude of other things. International Stars keep kids off the streets and occupied."
Mother of 13 year-old Detroit Academy participant Darreon
"Being a part of the International Stars has really allowed my son to gain a great foundation for the game of baseball. His confidence and drive has increased and he has made numerous friendships. As a parent I have become to trust the program because the coaches really love the kids and have their best interest at heart. They not only want them to be successful ball players they want them to be successful, contributing members of their communities."
Mother of 14 year-old Detroit Academy participant Kirby
"Being able to travel to Arizona with the International Stars was a great honor. I had an amazing time, met some great people and learned a lot. The Stars offer a great program for European players to travel to the US and be able to play in front of College Coaches. Without this program and without the coaches providing this opportunity I wouldn't be at a College in the US right now."
Joshua Spezia (Germany)
College Showcase 2019
Scholarship to Menlo College (California)
"I can't tell you how grateful I am for International Stars taking a shot on me and helping me get hooked up overseas! There was nothing in it for you at all and you went above and beyond to help me achieve something I didn't even realize was possible.
The baseball is an important piece of it - we need a vehicle - but the travel, the people the time of your life and the overall experience was seriously unmatched. Going to play ball overseas was an eye-opening and life changing experience and I appreciate you!"
Kyle Strauss (USA)
Prague Baseball Week 2016
"This is what International Stars means to me. 2013 Prague Baseball week was one of the greatest times of my life. It is one of the greatest events ever. In 2013 I hopped on a train with Julius Spann my teammate in Mainz, it was early in the morning. Excitement, anticipation and I remember we were looking at the people getting on the train for their commute to work, we called them zombies, and we noted how lucky we were to not be doing that (I'm doing that now lol). For me International Stars is just a collection of great guys, great ballplayers, who come to do a job and then execute that job. Baseball is a team sport but it's about everybody doing their job. For a team that hadn't played together there was just an understanding about how we were going to play the game and we played hard. We also partied hard... I probably went over the top on that. Looking back the connection between baseball and alcohol is an issue for me... I had a great time but I think its something that young players should understand and be aware of. Its important to find a balance. Have a good time but going over the top will never help you. It was about 5-6 in the morning when I got out of the subway station. I knew our hotel was at the last station... I just went the wrong direction and ended up in outskirt village/fields of Prague. I did find my way eventually. Bottom line for me. What International Stars is: Comeraderie with strangers... coming together to achieve a goal and creating personal bonds in the process. Also I think we played a hard nosed style that is kind of lacking in European baseball overall. I think this toughness/smartness/agressiveness is one of the most important elements of the game of baseball that can be instilled in young European players."
Pat Haugen (USA)
Prague Baseball Week 2013
"International Stars Baseball Academy of Detroit has help me by helping me with my behavior it made me a better person... the coach’s help you all the time when you need it they check on you when you in school and you can play with them for free."
13-year old Detroit Academy participant
"The International Stars organization is truly a little known diamond in the rough. Two of my boys joined their indoor workouts in the beginning of 2019. The sessions were very well organized and the drills were top-notch. The coaches all have excellent credentials and are all positive role models for the players and their families. The camaraderie between the players and coaches, an eclectic mix of residents of Detroit and the outlying suburbs, was one of optimism, care and support. The organization is bringing high-quality baseball to people who in any other circumstances would not have exposure to the sport at such a professional level."
Father of 9 year old Zev and 14 year old Max, both Detroit Academy participants
"International Stars [College Showcase] has been amazing experience, here I've found an incredible environment, talented players from all around the world and competent coaches. During these 2 weeks we trained everyday and played games versus college teams and since the first game offers were made and there I understood it wasn't all about the showcase, a lot of scouts were watching trainings and games everyday, I personally received an offer right after pitching just 2 innings in the first game and there I realized how much visibility International Star was giving us, 15 pitches scholarship offer? Real American dream here. In these weeks we went watching some Arizona league games, very high level of baseball, I've never seen such high level of baseball in my life everything was so damn fast I was stunned by these guys and there I remembered why I love so much baseball."
Nicolo Pinazzi (Italy)
College Showcase 2019 participant
Full Scholarship offer to Northwest Florida State College
"The International Stars College Showcase helped me with my dream in a different way than I expected… It gave me the chance to showcase myself in front of tons of scouts which enabled me to choose different colleges across the United States."
Jorin van Amstel (Netherlands)
College Showcase Participant in 2013
Prague Baseball Week - 2013, 2017, 2019
Scholarship to Odessa Junior College (Texas)
Scholarship to Northwestern Oklahoma State University
"I am glad I have been a part of International Stars community. Playing for International Stars at the Prague Baseball Week in 2014 with the guys from all over the world was a great experience! Moreover, the College Showcase was a key step in my life because it helped me to get to college in the USA. ISB gave me the opportunity to show myself at the College Showcase in front of numerous college coaches from different parts of the states."
Lukas Holub (Czech Republic)
College Showcase 2013 & 2014
Prague Baseball Week 2014
Scholarship to NW Florida State College
Scholarship to Ranger Junior College (Texas)
Scholarship to Oklahoma Panhandle State University