Clutter puts Carroll on map

October 11, 1994|By Bill Free | Bill Free,Sun Staff Writer

High school girls soccer standouts usually don't reside in Carroll County.

South Carroll senior Amber Clutter is an exception.

"At our state [girls soccer] meetings, whenever there's a question about the merits of a player, someone always asks, 'How does she stack up to a Amber Clutter or a Laurie Schwoy?' " South Carroll coach Jim Horn said about his player and the McDonogh All-America who had 49 goals and 21 assists last season. "Amber doesn't quite stack up to Laurie Schwoy, but she is one of the top recruits in the country."

Clutter once scored three goals in three minutes of a 3A-4A regional playoff game against Western, has been double- and triple-teamed throughout her career, almost earned Carroll Player of the Year honors as a sophomore and has 63 goals in her career, surpassing the previous county career mark of 56 by Westminster's Nicole Vogel.

In three and a half seasons, Clutter has raised the prestige of Carroll girls soccer to a level few people thought was possible. No one is laughing at South Carroll or Carroll County anymore, not even the vaunted Howard county girls soccer programs.

Clutter and the Cavaliers did the unlikely Sept. 16 -- they beat a Howard county school (Glenelg) for the first time ever.

South Carroll (6-1) climbed as high as sixth in the girls Top 15 poll before losing its first game of the season to neighborhood rival Liberty, 1-0, last week.

Clutter has led this charge to respect with an advanced game that has been honed by playing in more than 200 games at every level in several eastern and midwestern states since she was 6 years old.

South Carroll athletic director Fred Baker said: "Her mother [Linda] and father [Bruce] have taken her anywhere she has to go to play against the top competition. She is a super all-around athlete who has soccer instincts. She knows the game inside and out and understands the theory behind the game."

Two years ago at the age of 15, Clutter chose soccer over basketball as the sport she would concentrate on for a possible collegiate scholarship.

Since then she has been playing soccer 12 months a year, participating in the 17-and-under Olympic Development Program, playing for the Baltimore Football Club of Glyndon in the Washington Area Girls Soccer (WAGS) League and accompanying the Glyndon team to Blaine, Minn., for a USA tournament that included 47 teams .

In the Olympic program, Clutter advanced to the regional level in Massachusetts.

When asked to explain her soccer success, Clutter said: "I anticipate what is going to happen and my teammates know where I'm going to be. Also, my parents keep me motivated."

Mixed between that steady diet of soccer, the 3.9 grade-point-average student also has managed to play varsity basketball and tennis since the ninth grade at South Carroll and is headed toward earning 12 varsity letters before she graduates.

Ten schools, including Division I James Madison, are interested in Clutter for soccer, and Harvard has expressed interest in her as a basketball player.

Clutter has been a starting point guard on the basketball team the past two seasons and holds the South Carroll career record for three-pointers (21), breaking her sister Kelly's mark.

James Madison is Clutter's No. 1 choice, but Linda Clutter said: "Amber might have to be named All-America this season to go to James Madison."

Bloomsburg State, Washington and Lee, and George Mason complete her top four list, with two North Carolina schools (Campbell and Catawba) in the picture.

Other activities include being vice-president of the varsity club, a Maryland Distinguished Scholar, a member of Students Against Drunk Driving and the Carroll County Drug and Alcohol Awareness program and a sports correspondent for the Mt. Airy Gazette.

"She's a good kid. I'm proud of her," said her mother.

Through all the success, Clutter has maintained a level-headed approach to everything and even said to her mother one day recently: "I wish they [reporters] wouldn't write about me all the time."

To which Linda Clutter answered: "Amber, you've worked hard trying to make a name for yourself since you were 6 years old. Don't knock it."

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