Link on road to soccer success Forward expected to step up in '93 as Calvert Hall junior

November 13, 1992|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,Staff Writer

Soccer has taken Calvert Hall sophomore Jeff Link to many places.

Next year, he's hoping to land a starting position up front for the Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference champion Cardinals.

Playing on the senior-laden varsity team this year, the 15-year-old Westminster resident was happy to just be a part of the metro area's top-ranked team, which won its third straight MSA title with a 3-0 win over Archbishop Curley on Monday.

"It's just overwhelming," Link said. "Soccer is a big deal at our school and it was great just being a part of it. We all play as a family and get along on and off the field. The positive attitude really keeps us focused."

Link began playing soccer when he was 5 and has stayed with it, having taken trips to Europe in 1990 and this past summer with U.S. travel teams.

"I wasn't one of the stronger players at first. It wasn't until I made an under-12 travel team that I really got into it and started scoring a lot of goals," he said.

"Going to Europe also opened my eyes to the game. It's as popular over there as baseball or football is over here, but I think soccer has taken a big turn for the better here of late."

Playing behind a couple of the best strikers in the area -- Jeremy Baker and Todd Perkins -- Link made the most of his few opportunities this season with two goals and three assists. He also learned from the talented seniors.

"Jeremy and Todd have been like role models," he said. "They've always been there to tell me what I was doing wrong and pointing me in the right direction."

Eight seniors will be gone next year and Calvert Hall coach Bill Karpovich will be looking for players like Link to step up.

"He's shown a lot of potential and has a good chance of becoming a starter next season," Karpovich said. "He gained some valuable experience this season and I felt very confident putting him in. Every time he had the opportunity, he gave everything he had."

Next year, Link wants to give more.

"I hope I can come close to filling [the seniors'] shoes and know I'll try my best and give 100 percent," he said. "Hopefully, I can help out the younger players like those guys helped me."

Said Karpovich: "With eight starters not coming back, I can't see why he shouldn't be starting next season.

"He came in here unheralded -- I think he's the only player from Carroll we've ever had -- and has worked hard. He's a very determined young man who has pretty good speed and a strong left foot."

Link played lacrosse for a few years, but gave it up to concentrate on soccer. He's hoping all his efforts will pay off with a chance to play Division I college soccer.

In a few weeks, he'll be trying out for the state's Olympic Development Program team.

"I'm a bit nervous, but I know if I can play the way I know I can play I'll be OK," Link said. "It's good exposure with college coaches and looks good on the resume."

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