If the Carroll County Girls Soccer League were a corporate stock, itwould be a great investment.
The loop began in fall 1985 with only six teams and now numbers 32.
In fact, it has jumped by nine teams from last year's total of 23-- an increase of almost 40 percent.
That's not a bad rate of return in any investment.
Nevertheless, there has been a major management change this year.
Donna Price, league founder and president for the past six years, stepped down last month, citing increased pressure from her full-time job as the primary reason.
However, she had a lot more time in the early 1980s. Back then, she and her husband,Dave, who coaches the Liberty High girls varsity soccer team, managed their daughter Debra's team in the Freedom Optimist soccer program.
And it was evidently a pretty good squad. Donna recalls it was undefeated for a year or two.
But by 1984 she wanted some new mountains to climb.
"I thought, "Wouldn't it be nice if we could take the best kids from our own team and play different teams throughout thecounty?' " she said.
She says another thought on her mind was thedesire to prepare girls for high school soccer, which had been introduced in Carroll County only a year or two before.
"I wanted to give the kids some tougher competition," she said.
Thus, the CarrollCounty Girls' League was born.
Nevertheless, there is a lot to doin starting a traveling league, so Donna and Dave attended meetings of the Carroll County Boys Soccer League to learn the ropes.
She said longtime boys league official Jim Myers was of great assistance in answering questions.
"One of the things I'll miss is being on the phone with him two, three times a week. He was very knowledgeable and very helpful," Price said.
She also cited county rec departmentstaffer Lisa Sasala for her assistance in helping the girls league meet county requirements.
The league itself was an almost immediatesuccess.
It started in fall 1985 with one under-14 division and quickly added under-12 and under-10 brackets.
Price says the league's successful start and expansion wasn't surprising, given the dramatic growth of the county and the existence of a high school soccer program.
"The time was right, and the league was bound to start. If it hadn't been me, someone else would have done it," she said.
Price says her primary sense of satisfaction comes from the league's rapid growth and the fact that it has sent many players to the county's high school teams.
Donna Price is uncertain concerning her future role in rec sports, although she says she still hasn't been allowed todivorce herself totally from soccer.
"I still get a lot of phone calls from people asking where their daughters can play soccer," she says.
And she'll remain involved in soccer through the efforts of her family.
"I'll follow my husband to his high school games and my daughter (Debra, who plays for Essex Community College in BaltimoreCounty) to her games," Price says.
Freedom area resident Sam DeLaurence has taken her place as head of the girls league.
Speaking of soccer (and it's hard not to this time of the year), Taneytownis beginning its own program.
Taneytown rec council rep Bob Broderick says he is setting up a fall soccer clinic for boys and girls ages 6 through 14.
The clinic, featuring instruction in basic soccerskills, will run from Oct. 12 to Nov. 2 at Northwest Middle School in Taneytown.
Registration is $5 per child, "so we can buy a few soccer balls," Broderick said.
"There is a gap this time of year," he added, explaining why the program is being started. "Most of the kids don't have anything to do."
Broderick says he expects about 65 to 70 youngsters to sign up for the program.
"With 1,300 school-aged kids here, I think there will be a full-fledged in-house program in a year or so," he added.
The Taneytown rec official said the priority of the program is to develop a strong in-house league and that entering teams in the county boys and girls traveling leagues will come some time in the future.
Broderick says the big problem is finding coaches to help with the clinic. He says he will look for coachesamong Francis Scott Key High students and parents who show up at registration. He will also put up notes around town.
Registration is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 5 at Northwest Middle.
Those interested in coaching or registration information should call Broderick at756-2809.