A record number of teams are due to compete at the 2017 Junior Women's Softball World Championship ©WBSC

World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) has announced that a record number of teams are set to compete at this year's Junior Women's Softball World Championship.

Due to be held in Clearwater in Florida between July 24 and 30, the tournament will feature 26 nations.

The Eddie C. Moore Complex, which has nine softball fields and a state-of-the-art training facility, will host the event.

Last held two years ago in Oklahoma City, the United States are the defending champions after they were victorious on home soil.

The Americans claimed a comfortable 8-1 win over Japan in the final.

Puerto Rico took third place.

Only 15 teams competed in Oklahoma City with a further 11 announced for this year's event.

The US are one of 10 teams from the Americas and are joined by continental rivals Argentina, the Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru and Puerto Rico.

Japan will be hoping to go one better than 2015 and they make up one of the six Asian countries.

China will also feature alongside Chinese Taipei, India, South Korea and the Philippines.

The United States won the Junior Women's Softball World Championship in Oklahoma City two years ago ©WBSC
The United States won the Junior Women's Softball World Championship in Oklahoma City two years ago ©WBSC

A strong European contingent is also set to travel to Clearwater. 

Turkey will be making their debut at the Junior World Championships and are joined by The Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Great Britain, Ireland, Israel and Italy.

Australia and New Zealand will represent Oceania, while South Africa are the sole African representative.

"The largest field of teams competing in this year's World Championship highlights the growing popularity and reach of softball across all regions and ages of the world," said WBSC Softball Division President Dale McMann.

"The location and top notch facilities will be an asset for these top youth female softball athletes to compete.

"This is an important competition opportunity for this age category to be able to continue to test their skills against their counterparts from around the world."

A total of 30 umpires from 23 countries will oversee refereeing duties at the competition.

Umpires officiating the action are due to arrive from countries including the Bahamas, Bulgaria, Israel and Nicaragua.