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Woman dubbed ‘The Kickball Cupid’ BANNED from Tinder after using the dating app to recruit players


A math teacher dubbed Rhode Island’s ‘Kickball Cupid’ cleverly recruited more than 40 players for her local team through Tinder, before she was banned for life from the dating app.  

When Gianna Pecchia, of Warwick, first joined Tinder she was just looking to meet people, but the idea quickly came to her mind in July 2021 that the platform could do more than find her a romantic partner.

‘[Dating] was a lot of pressure and I wanted to meet people in a more organic way. Then I realized, I love to meet people in Kickball… If I could get all my matches to meet in real life, it would be a lot less pressure,’ Gianna told DailyMail.com 

The thirty-year-old used the app as a launching platform to meet and interview potential members for her adult kickball league, Clubwaka, formerly known as the World Kickball Association.

‘I kind of interviewed people based on personality,’ Gianna had told the Boston Globe earlier. ‘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.’ 

During her recruiting, Gianna has found more than 46 players. But her endeavor was somewhat frustrated when Tinder banned her from the platform for violating guidelines regarding corporate recruiting.

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

Since the ban, Gianna has continued to recruit on other dating apps, such as BumbleFF and says that although she is ‘very much single,’ she still hopes to find love on the regular Bumble app. 

Gianna Pecchia, 30, dubbed Rhode Island’s ‘Kickball Cupid,’ cleverly recruited – and matched – over 46 players for her team through Tinder

The thirty-year-old used the app as a launching platform to meet and interview potential members for her adult kickball league, Clubwaka, formerly known as the World Kickball Association

The thirty-year-old used the app as a launching platform to meet and interview potential members for her adult kickball league, Clubwaka, formerly known as the World Kickball Association

But her endeavor was somewhat frustrated when Tinder banned her from the platform for violating guidelines regarding corporate recruiting

But her endeavor was somewhat frustrated when Tinder banned her from the platform for violating guidelines regarding corporate recruiting

Gianna said she was inspired to bring more people to her team because kickball was instrumental in helping her cope with her social anxiety.

She was invited to join by a friend and suffered a panic attack during her first run in the field, which left her feeling upset. 

‘I was p*ssed because I paid for it and I didn’t ever want to go back,’ she said.

However, the situation quickly turned around when she met the team Commissioner’s wife, who had also suffered from a panic attack during her own first time practicing the sport, and met her husband in the league. 

‘And 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,’ Gianna added.

Her anxiety has since improved drastically.  

‘It was really bad. I am definitely not the athletic type. Sports have never been my thing, but I’ve met some of my best friend from this league and they’re such great people I just want to extend this to others,’ Gianna told DailyMail.com. 

Since the ban, Gianna has continued to recruit on other dating apps, such as BumbleFF and said that although she is 'very much single,' she still hopes to find love on the regular Bumble app

Since the ban, Gianna has continued to recruit on other dating apps, such as BumbleFF and said that although she is ‘very much single,’ she still hopes to find love on the regular Bumble app

Gianna said she was inspired to bring more people to her team because kickball was instrumental in helping her cope with her social anxiety. Above, Gianna (second left) with friends from the league

Gianna said she was inspired to bring more people to her team because kickball was instrumental in helping her cope with her social anxiety. Above, Gianna (second left) with friends from the league 

Gianna said that during her unconventional recruiting process, she always made sure she was honest and straightforward with potential candidates,   

‘… I’m like, ”I’m assuming you read my profile, and you match[ed] with me because you want to play kickball?” the Kickball Cupid said, adding that she always sent the first message. 

She would then add all of the potential players/matches on a Facebook group chat, where they would have lighthearted conversations. If they still were interested, they’d be welcomed to meet the team at a restaurant, USA Today reported. 

‘I usually get… ”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?’ Gianna said. 

But Gianna believes her recruiting went beyond filling positions for the team and brought players to a place where they found a family that would understand and welcome them. 

‘Whether they want to hook up or find a relationship, a lot of them are looking for friends or some form in their life,’ Gianna 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.’

Gianna's club has stood by the clever recruiter, applauding her innovative thinking

Gianna’s club has stood by the clever recruiter, applauding her innovative thinking

Woman dubbed 'The Kickball Cupid' BANNED from Tinder after using the dating app to recruit players

‘Last August I matched with Gianna on BumbleBFF and asked her about the kickball league … I signed up that very week in time for the fall Clubwaka Kickball league. And right now we are playing again in the spring league,’ Lauren Richards wrote on Facebook

The math teacher says that Kickball has changed her life and she is now the social coordinator for charity events organized by Clubwaka. 

‘I went from being socially anxious to a social butterfly,’ Gianna told DailyMailcom. 

Her recruitees have echoed Gianna’s stance on Kickball and the club has stood by the clever recruiter, applauding her innovative thinking. 

‘Last August I matched with Gianna on BumbleBFF and asked her about the kickball league … I signed up that very week in time for the fall Clubwaka Kickball league. And right now we are playing again in the spring league,’ Lauren Richards wrote on Facebook. 

‘Because of Gianna I’ve met some of my very best friends, and I couldn’t be more grateful … Gianna you are a ROCKSTAR!!! We’ve met so many incredible people all thanks to you. Joining Clubwaka’s kickball leagues has been one of the very best decisions I’ve made as an adult.’

Clubwaka also said in a statement: ‘… we all share a common need to make real connections and lifelong friendships. That happens in our fun and welcoming space which Gianna helped 46 people discover. We’re so happy they’ve joined the family and increased the fun in the CLUBWAKA community.’ 

In a statement to USA Today, Tinder said that Gianna had been ‘appropriately banned for violating one of our community guideline[S],’ and the app would not ‘provide a formal statement on the details of individual member accounts.’



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