SENDAI, Japan (WANE) – Recently married and Olympic bound, this year has been nothing short of special for Andrea Filler. The former Bishop Dwenger and Northwestern University softball star is set to become only the second athlete from Fort Wayne to represent Italy at the Olympic Games.
“I had an idea of where I wanted my career to take me and that was at the time to play college softball because that’s like the peak of the sport for us and even to realize anything beyond that has been a dream honestly.” Filler said.
Growing up in Fort Wayne, softball took Andrea Filler across the country and the world. Most recently is Italy, where’s she’s spent the past three years playing professionally.
“You can’t really understand how a sport would take you in so many different places and experience so many different cultures.” Filler said.
Just last week, Filler led the Italians to the European Softball Championship and was invited to the Italy Olympic roster for this year’s games in Tokyo.
“It was really a pipeline dream for me because softball left the Olympics after the 2008 Olympics. We didn’t know when softball would be back in the games and it was petitioned many times and unsuccessful many times so when we heard that softball was going to be back in the games the entire softball community was so excited.” Filler said.
And for Filler, fulfilling this goal has been a long time coming.
“I watched the game in 2008 and thought, wow some day I could be an Olympian and then realizing never mind, I’ll never even have the opportunity to being here right now and going to experience the first games that are back.” Filler said.
The Olympic Softball Tournament begins July 21st, Filler and Italy will go head-to-head with Team USA.
“Playing against Team USA absolutely fuels me because whether I go 0-4 or 4-4, I think it’s just being on the same stage as those players and realizing like, I’m no different than them. It fuels all of us on our team to go out and compete against them.” Filler said.
And what would this journey be without the people who gave her, her Italian roots and have supported her all the way. Filler has dual citizenship due to her great grandmother’s Italian heritage. In fact, Filler had to win a court case that challenged Italian law saying citizenship could only be passed down on the male side of a family. Filler has also played professionally in Europe.
“I’m just proud to represent for my family, my grandparents especially, they’ve been a huge part of my career and I’m so happy I can do this with them and for them and obviously my family as a whole.” Filler said.
From the Highlight Zone to the a highlight of her life, Filler’s filling her bucket.