thunderbirds 16/18U

Head Coach – Charlie Ball


Team Roster

“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”

– Andrew Carnegie

Coaches Bios

Charlie Ball, Head Coach and President

Head Coach and President, Charlie Ball, enters his 28th season with the Thunderbirds; however, his years of experience far exceeds his time with the organization. Coach Ball has 37 years of experience coaching at all levels – from community, to high school and 14u to 18u Gold travel, and is well respected among the softball family. Because of his success and reputation, he has formed great relationship with many of the areas most successful softball programs and college coaches. Due to his relationships he gets bids into many of the tri-state areas most prestigious tournaments. He has created many winning teams since 1994 for the organization and many of his athletes have gone on to play college softball. 

In 2011 Coach Ball took on the head coaching job at Gwynedd Mercy High School Academy and has boosted a successful high school coaching career. He has produced winning records for 7 of 11 seasons as head coach and in the last 5 years has made it to district playoffs. In 2021, he lead his teams to their first ever conference championship. 

Since stepping down as head coach of the 18U Gold team he has been helping to coach and develop the 14U team. His emphasis at this age is to teach the girls the game of softball, while developing their skills so when they get to 18U he can help them take the next steps in their softball career should they wish to move on past travel and high school.

Coach Ball truly believes in creating an atmosphere that gives young athletes a place to play more competitive softball while helping to teach them lessons that can be used far beyond the softball field. While many coaches count their wins and losses as their success story, he counts his success as the players he helps improve and learn the game as well as those who move on to play at higher levels. He is truly in this sport for the girls!  

John Golden, Assistant Coach

Coach John enters his 17th season with the organization and brings 22 years of experience to the Thunderbirds coaching staff. Before joining the Thunderbirds in 2005, as the head coach of the 14U team, he coached in the Souderton Community League for 5 years. While with the Thunderbirds, he has coached at various levels including 14U and 16U before assisting head coach Charlie Ball with the 18U Gold team and this year is returning to assist with the 14U team.  
In 2011 Coach John added to his experience by becoming the assistant coach at Gwynedd Mercy High School Academy. Since 2011, the Lady Monarchs have produced winning records for 7 of 11 seasons he has been a part of the coaching staff. From 2017 to 2022 the team has made it to district playoffs and in 2021, the Lady Monarchs won their first ever conference championship. 
Additionally, he has two daughters who both wore the Thunderbirds uniform and had very successful travel, high school, and college softball careers. 
Coach John’s dedication to the organization goes beyond his coaching experience. He feels fortunate to be involved with an organization that not only teaches and instructs players to respect and play the game the right way but that also cares about their players both on and off the field. Although the organization has been successful, winning national championships and making numerous semi and quarter final appearances, it is his hope that he, in some way, has helped players become better people. 

Kim Krapf, Assistant Coach

Coach Kim enters her third season with the Thunderbirds 14U team as an assistant coach that focuses on catcher development; however, she is not new to the organization. She was one of the original Thunderbirds and played with the organization from 1994 to 2000. In 2000, she returned as the bench and catching coach for the 18U Gold team assisting head coach Charlie Ball for 8 years before leaving to start a family of her own. While coaching the 18U Gold team, she served as the board secretary for the Harleysville Girls Softball Association where she also coached one of the 8U coach pitch teams. In addition to playing for the Thunderbirds, Coach Kim played for Indian Valley Middle School and Souderton Area High School before moving on to play four years at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, PA, where her team won four consecutive Freedom MAC Conference Championships and made four NCAA regional appearance.  

Ryan Krapf, Assistant Coach

Coach Ryan enters his third season as assistant coach with the Thunderbirds 14U team. He originally joined the coaching staff in 2005, coaching the 18U team along side Coach Ball. He stepped away from the organization in 2012 to be with his family before returning in 2019 to help start up the Thunderbirds 12U team. As a former track runner, he brings tips and tricks to help the girls increase their speed.

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