ELDERSBURG - Simply put, soccer is a way of life to the McCurdy family of Eldersburg.
Brent and Julynn McCurdy have six children -- Melissa, 15; Logan, 14; Tracy, 12; Douglas, 10; Julie, 6; and Alan, 5.
Hmmm. . . . Let's think. . . .
Melissa and Tracy also both play basketball and run track.
Logan likes football, track and also plays basketball . . . or is that Douglas?
Let me check my notes. . . . Right the first time -- Douglas plays baseball and runs track.
Julie will play basketball soon, while Alan may some day play football, basketball and/or baseball.
One thing is for sure: They all play soccer and love it.
In a recent poll, six out of six McCurdy children say they prefer soccer more than any other sport.
"Soccer has brought us closer together as a family. We all have something in common that we enjoy and can talk about," said Julynn McCurdy, who, along with her husband, has coached and officiated.
The McCurdy family moved to Eldersburg from Denver 1 years ago.
Logan, an eighth-grader at Sykesville Middle School, was the first to play the sport six years ago, when they lived in Idaho.
He played forward, halfback and fullback for a Freedom Optimist traveling team this past summer and would like to play for Liberty High next year.
He said the last game he played in Denver was his most memorable.
"We won the under-12 recreation state championship, and it was the last time we all played together," Logan said.
Melissa, a sophomore at Liberty, split time between goalie and center halfback for the 6-2-4 junior varsity team this past season and has been playing soccer for five years. She plays center for the junior varsity basketball team as well.
She said playing both midfield and goalie has its advantages.
"I like playing halfback and doing all that running, then I can play goalie and rest," she said.
Tracy, a seventh-grader at Sykesville Middle, played halfback and forward last summer for a Freedom Optimist traveling team.
She said she likes playing halfback more because "you get to go all over the field." She also enjoys the physical part of soccer.
"Soccer is more of a challenge (than the other sports she plays), there are more skills to learn and you have to be able to take a hit," she said.
Said Tracy's mother: "She's a very aggressive forward. She's a fighter who just doesn't give up on the ball."
And then there is Douglas, a fifth-grader at Carrolltowne Elementary who scored eight goals last season for the 11-0 Freedom Strikers -- an under-12 traveling team.
He plays center fullback (a position where defending goals is more common then scoring them) and enjoys shutting down opponents.
Also a pitcher/shortstop on the baseball diamond, Douglas finds soccer more exciting.
"There's much more to learn (in soccer) and there is more running and I like to stop shots," he said.
The final two members of the McCurdy clan are Julie, a first-grader at Carrolltowne, and Alan, in kindergarten.
They both started playing soccer when they were 3 years old in a knee kickers league -- a no-goalie loop for young players -- in Denver. This summer they played on Freedom Optimist intramural teams.
As for the parents, their participation in soccer is now relegated to cheering on the sidelines. At least most of the time.
"We don't just sit on the sideline, we yell on the sideline," said Brent, a district sales manager for Hershey Candy Co. in Columbia, Howard County.
During one of Douglas' games last year, Julynn McCurdy did a little more then just sit and watch.
"After yelling at the ref in the second half, (the referee) said 'Do you want a whistle?' (To his surprise) I said 'yes' and helped him ref the rest of the game," said Julynn McCurdy, who was a certified official in Colorado.
"All the kids are individuals, and all have their own personalities on and off the soccer field," Julynn said.