ELDERSBURG — When Rosemary Marsiglia registered her 6-year-old daughter, Bernadette, to play softball in 1979, she had no idea of the positive effect it would have on the family.
Today, Bernadette, 19, is a sophomoreat the University of Maryland-Baltimore County playing varsity soccer after a solid three-sport career (soccer, softball and basketball) at Liberty High School.
Her younger sister Darlene, 17, is a junior at Liberty playing soccer and softball.
And while Mom definitely is their No. 1 fan, dad Ron has been their No. 1 coach since the girls first got involved in sports.
"Once my kids got involved I figured I'd be out there (watching) anyway, so why not help out and coach?" said Marsiglia, who played three years of varsity baseball in high school.
He began coaching in the Freedom Optimists softball program and St. Joseph's basketball league in 1979. He coached the Liberty girls freshman basketball team for two years starting in 1987 along with assisting the varsity team and now coaches Darlene's indoor soccer team at Four SeasonsSports Complex.
"He's a good coach," Darlene said. "He's helped me out a lot and I've always worked extra hard to impress him."
With Dad busy coaching and the kids busy playing, it didn't take Mom long to catch on and enjoy from the sidelines.
"She was not very athletic in high school," Bernadette said, "but the more she went to our games the more she learned and helped us out.
"They have both beenvery supportive and always encouraged me to play. It's great to see them at every game, particularly now at college where we travel to a lot of different places."
Bernadette played four years of varsity softball and three years each of varsity soccer and basketball in high school.
Darlene played varsity basketball her first two years atLiberty, recently finished her third year of varsity soccer and willbe playing her third year of softball this spring.
"Both kids arenaturally gifted and sports came pretty easy to them," their father said. "They both started playing at a young age (Darlene also startedplaying softball and basketball at age 6) which helped and both played three sports going into high school."
Of all the sports they'veplayed, both have enjoyed the most success in soccer.
"Both kids have a good attitude and approach toward the game," Liberty girls soccer coach Dave Price said. "They are quiet leaders who go out and lettheir actions do the talking.
"I didn't have much of an opportunity to coach Bernadette (due to a knee injury that sidelined her for her senior year), but Darlene's been a joy to work with and I've coached her off and on since she was in the second grade. She's a solid defensive-minded halfback," he added.
Bernadette was an all-county and All-Central Maryland Confer
ence selection in high school and, although slowed by a number of knee injuries beginning with her senior year in high school, earned a spot on UMBC's varsity soccer team her first two years.
Last Dec. 26, she underwent arthroscopic surgery on her left knee.
"I started having problems the summer before my senior year in high school and missed soccer and basketball, but came back for the softball season that year," she said. "Things are going great now.
"I'm not playing indoors (soccer) with the team. I think if I had to watch practice it would be tough for me, but since the coach doesn't make me come and sit at the practices it isn't as hard."
Darlene also earned all-county and All-CMC honors this past season and is looking forward to her senior year in soccer.
"We hada very good year this year and have 12 seniors coming back next year, so we'll be tough again," she said.
After her senior year, Darlene would like to follow in her sister's footsteps and play college soccer -- possibly at UMBC.