Soccer year-round for Liberty trio

October 05, 1992|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,Staff Writer

Every fall, after the high school soccer season is over, a second season arrives for a select few looking to take their skills one step higher.

For three Liberty juniors, making the Maryland state select team of the Olympic Development Program is something they have down pat.

Kevin Henderson and Travis Foote have played for two years in the program, coached by Delaware Tech's Joe Brown. Mike Sheehan made it for the first time last year.

"It's just a higher level of soccer," Henderson said. "There are a lot of great players surrounding you which makes you that much better."

Foote recalls the first tryout he had two years ago.

"There had to have been around 200 players out and I really didn't think I'd make it," he said. "For one thing, I wasn't as flashy as some of the other players. But things just went my way and I kept getting called back."

The team starts practicing in the spring to prepare for tournaments throughout the spring and summer. It culminates with the Regional ID Weekend, which features a tournament involving teams representing East Coast states .

All three say the main benefits from the program are enhancing individual skills, gaining confidence and receiving recognition.

"The state team is a lot more advanced and they tend to highlight the individual skill part of the game. It really makes you more confident," Sheehan said.

"Travis has been a sweeper back forever it seems," said Liberty High coach Lee Kestler. "He has a good soccer sense, sees the whole field and makes good decisions. We get a lot of overlaps with Mike and you can see the benefit of the years he's worked on individual skills."

Henderson is the guy in the middle for the 3-0-1 Lions, playing center midfield.

"He's very intense in what he does," Kestler said. "His job is to distribute the ball and he's getting better and better at it."

Their years spent playing together have given the Lions a strong, cohesive nucleus.

"Playing together for such a long time and knowing what each other is going to do has really helped," Sheehan said. And the skills I've learned with the state team has made me a better player, knowing I have the confidence to beat players one-on-one at the high-school level."

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