When Atholton's new girls varsity soccer coach, Jane Koren, played for the Thunderhill neighborhood soccer team in 1977, she suffered from asthma.
Her father and the team's coach, Steven Koren, would notlet his daughter come out of the game when she had an attack during a contest that season. Koren was 9 years old.
Seven years later, Koren's mother, Beverly, encouraged her daughter to stay in a game when she broke an ankle and was waiting for an ambulance to arrive.
Koren played for the Columbia Eagles -- a traveling team -- that year.
"I worked hard year-round playing soccer," Koren said. "My father would make me play every day in our front yard."
Although Koren might not have the same type of rigorous demands for her players this season, she still is expecting a lot.
Koren, 23, is looking forward to the challenge of trying to turn a soccerprogram around that didn't win a conference game and posted an overall record of 1-9-1 last season. The squad started practice Aug. 15.
"I look at it as a challenge to get high school girls to play together as a team, to develop their skills and win games," Koren said. "Ithink I got a lot from soccer. I would just love to pass on to thesegirls."
Koren replaces Shirley Cohee, who stepped down in January.
"She (Koren) has a good background of playing on high school andtraveling teams," Don Van Deusen, Atholton athletic director, said.
"The kids feel good about her. The kids feel they are making strides toward improvement."
A three-sport standout at Howard High School, Koren graduated in 1985. But soccer was her specialty. She earnedall-county honors for three consecutive seasons. Koren captained theteam her senior year.
She was also No. 2 singles in tennis her junior and senior years. In addition, Koren ran indoor track for three seasons.
While in high school, Koren also played soccer with the Columbia Eagles.
Before that, she played eight years for the Thunderhill and Longreach neighborhood teams that are part of the Soccer Association of Columbia (SAC).
Not only did Koren play soccer, she also was a referee. From 1981-1983, she called games for SAC.
Korenmade a tough choice not to play varsity soccer in college. Instead, she concentrated on earning her bachelor's degree in special education from the University of Maryland at College Park.
"I wanted to get involved in my major, sorority (Alpha Chi Omega) and expand my horizons," Koren said. "It was a tough choice because soccer was such a big part of my life up until that point."
This is not her first coaching job. In 1982, as a high school sophomore, Korean coached 6 and 7 year olds for a SAC community team.
Koren will be entering her second year as a teacher at Atholton. She instructs students with moderate to severe disabilities.
"Teaching is what I love the most," Korean said, who is working toward her master's degree in special education.
About 75 percent of her time last year was spent outside the classroom last school year.
Koren has taken students to Howard County General Hospital where they are part of the environmental services program. She also has taken them shopping to area grocery stores and to the Columbia swimming center for lessons.