'Kickball Cupid' banned from Tinder after player uses dating app to find players for her team

Gianna Pecchia, also known as "The Kickball Cupid" in the kickball community, intended to find love on online dating apps, instead she found recruits for her kickball team.

Pecchia of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, is a part of Clubwaka, an adult sports league, originally founded as the World Kickball Association.

Pecchia used Tinder to find 25 players this kickball season – 18 for her own team and seven to help fill three other teams in the league.

But after a very successful recruiting process, Tinder banned Pecchia indefinitely for violating their promotion or solicitation rules.

“One day, I went to log in, and it said you’re banned for life. For life! — it seems a little severe," Pecchia told Clubwaka. "So that put a huge deterrent in my recruiting.”

After being banned from Tinder, Pecchia started recruiting potential teammates on Bumble BFF, another online dating and friendship app.

In an email to USA TODAY Sports, Tinder communications spokesperson Sophie Sieck said they've reviewed Pecchia's case and she was "appropriately banned for violating one of our community guideline." Further, Tinder is not able to "provide a formal statement on the details of individual member accounts."

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Posted by CLUBWAKA on Wednesday, May 4, 2022
The 🔴🏹 is on 🔥!At one point, Gianna Pecchia had more than 100 people interested in playing #kicball. Want to know this Rhode Island Captain's secret to "Playing the fields?" Click + Read + Listen!

Pecchia explained her recruiting process to Carlos Muñoz of the Boston Globe.

“I kind of interviewed people based on personality,” Pecchia said. “We would go to dinner and be like, here are people from the league and we would all vibe and if you were interested, great. If you weren’t, that’s fine, too.”

"Whether they want to hook up or find a relationship, a lot of them are looking for friends or some form in their life,” Pecchia told Clubwaka. “I was like, not only will I be your friend, I’ll give you a whole league of friends. The way I sell it to people is right there in my profile: I’m looking for you to join my kickball team because they’ll get pissed if I don’t want to date them,” said Pecchia.

“I usually get one of two messages from people. ‘I’d like to join because I’m looking to make new friends, but I’m not very good at kickball.’ And I’m like – perfect. Or, I get ‘I haven’t played kickball since elementary school.’ Like, who has?”

Pecchia shared with Clubwaka that she struggled with social anxiety when she first joined the organization five years ago.

“My friend made me do it and I ran off the field on my first rookie night with a panic attack. I was pissed because I paid for it and I didn’t ever want to go back,” said Pecchia.

When she ran off the field that night, she ran into the club commissioner’s wife who said she also had a panic attack her first time on the field but later met her husband through Clubwaka.

“I’ll never forget… she said ‘I’m not saying you’ll find a husband in this league, but it is amazing and you should give it a chance.' And I did! And now I’m bringing all these singles,” said Pecchia.

Clubwaka General manager Johanna Hueber told the Globe how thrilled they are to have Pecchia's efforts bring new people to the league. “I fully support it and totally encourage her,” said Hueber. “This is ingenious. Someone finally had the balls to do it. It’s a great way for people to end up meeting people.”

Hueber told the Globe that Clubwaka has its best season to date with 245 players and 15 teams.

“Our league, as of today, has 245 people in it. Cut that in half, or in thirds. One-third of girls are gay or already in a relationship. I’d say one-third are probably unavailable but two-thirds are still ready to flirt”

Contact Analis Bailey at [email protected] or on Twitter @analisbailey.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Tinder bans 'Kickball Cupid' for using dating app to find players

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