Girls soccer teams catching up with neighboring counties South Carroll coach talks of huge strides

September 02, 1992|By Bill Free | Bill Free,Staff Writer

It's hard to fight tradition in any sport, but old-line attitudes are especially tough to challenge in soccer.

In Maryland, the traditional thinking in girls high school soccer circles is that Howard and Anne Arundel county teams are far superior to Carroll County squads.

South Carroll girls soccer coach Jim Horn says some members of the state soccer committee "refuse to look at our [Carroll County] program."

"They're still listening to complaints from Anne Arundel County, which believes it should have its schools spread out through four regions so they can have four teams make the state tournament," says Horn.

Horn insists that Anne Arundel has lost much of its edge over Carroll County.

"Howard County is still ahead of us but we're just about even with Anne Arundel County," says Horn, who is a member of the state soccer committee.

"Last year, we had a [1A-2A] regional champion in North Carroll, and we got to the 3A-4A state quarterfinals. And state 3A-4A champion Centennial had two of its toughest games against Westminster and us."

There can be no doubt that as Carroll County enters its 10th season of girls soccer competition, it has made giant strides in narrowing the gap on those more established programs in Howard and Anne Arundel counties.

More and more girls from Carroll County are playing the game year around, competing in the prestigious Washington Area Girls Soccer league the past two summers.

Liberty High and Westminster High have had several girls play in the WAGS league, which is one of the best club leagues in the country.

Two of Westminster's top senior players this season, goalkeeper Kara Hedges and midfielder Lisa Dofflemyer, were selected to the Maryland Olympic development program last summer.

Liberty, Westminster, South Carroll and North Carroll all have top-notch recreation program feeder systems sending them players each year. Only Francis Scott Key lacks a good feeder program.

Westminster draws from rec programs in Deer Park, Sandymount, Westminster and Sacred Heart, which is located in Glyndon in Baltimore County.

Liberty gets highly skilled players from a top-notch Freedom District program, and South Carroll draws from a prolific Mount Airy system that also feeds Central Maryland Conference power Linganore.

North Carroll not only has tremendous soccer tradition, enabling it to get the best athletes away from other sports at the school, but it also gains players from a growing North Carroll recreation program.

Westminster coach Greg Bright says Carroll County schools have narrowed the gap on Anne Arundel and Howard in the areas of ball-handling and understanding of the game.

"We're getting more and more girls in our programs who travel to play soccer in the off-season," says Bright.

"And there are a lot more opportunities to play locally. The result is a higher skill level. But you still have to say that Howard County is better right now."

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