Freedom Optimist kicked off the fall season last week with its annual soccer tournament.
The tourney, played at Oklahoma Park and Eldersburg Elementary School, attracted 24 teams from throughout the metropolitan area plus Frederick County.
Teams competed in boys and girls under-12 and under-14 divisions,with each having six teams.
The whole affair turned out to be a humbling experience for the Carroll squads, most of which were playingtheir first games of the year.
Out-of-towners won three of four brackets.
The only Carroll-connected champ was the Glyndon Hot Legs, a team split almost evenly between Carroll and Baltimore County players. Glyndon took the girls under-14 bracket.
Freedom teams placed second in the other three.
Most of the Carroll teams that playedin the tourney are members of the county's fall boys and girls traveling leagues.
"Many of the teams used the tournament as an experiment to see what they want to do with the kids for the season," said Freedom Optimist youth soccer program President Mike Roy, who coordinated the boys portion of the tournament.
The Roy-coached Freedom Strikers also played and won their first three games in the under-12 bracket by a combined score of 11-2.
Doug McCurdy scored five of theteam's goals, and goalkeeper Mike Amos and stopper Ryan Blair sparked the defense.
But things came apart in the under-12 championship game, one of the four played at Eldersburg Elementary School on Sunday afternoon.
Lovell Regency Homes of Overlea in Baltimore County erupted with four second-half goals to top the Strikers, 4-0.
The under-14 Freedom Force also won its first three games but fell to Columbia City United, 4-2, in the finals.
The Howard countians broke a2-2 regulation tie with a goal in each of the two overtime periods.
Glyndon won't play in the Carroll County Girls Soccer League this fall, and it may be better for the other participants that it doesn't.
The Hot Legs won all four of their games by a combined score of 25-0.
They blanked the Harford United Flash, 4-0, in the finale for their third consecutive Freedom tourney title.
Rick Schaefer coordinated the girls tournament and also coached the under-12 Freedom Thunder.
His Thunder blanked its first three opponents, as keepers
Chrissy Jenkins and Jodi Baire shut off the goal.
But the Thunder wilted in the second half of Sunday's finale with St. Ursula's as the Parkville, Baltimore County, team snapped a 2-2 tie with two goals to win, 4-2.
"Our girls played very well but they got tired," hesaid. "But you can't take anything away from St. Ursula's."
There may be a big new local rec league next summer.
Local youth baseball officials are considering starting a traveling youth baseballleague that would include teams from Carroll County as well as nearby portions of Frederick and Howard.
John Hamper, who coordinates the Sykesville youth baseball program's travel teams, said he will contact roughly 15 organizations in efforts to set it up.
Hamper saidparticipating teams could get strong competition without having to travel as they now do when they join the Baltimore Beltway League or similar loops.
"I've had a great reaction from people I've talked to. It's been very positive. There's a lot of good competitive teams right here in Carroll County," Hamper said.
He envisions four age divisions for youths ages 7-14, with each organization having teams inall four divisions.
Games would be played on Sundays to avoid conflict with in-house programs.
All four age brackets would play when two organizations are scheduled to meet each other, as is now done in the Carroll County Football League.
Joe Hesen, who headed the Hampstead Lions baseballprogram this year, likes the idea.
"It gives the players more opportunity to see different competition all year rather than just in postseason tournaments," he said.
Hamper has invited all interested organizations to a meeting on the proposed league at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Sykesville baseball complex on Obrecht Road in Sykesville.
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