Taking the pains to succeed Soccer: Wilde Lake's Amanda Berman has suffered her share of injuries but says the only thing that really hurts is not being able to play her favorite sport.

September 22, 1996|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

Amanda Berman fell to the ground, landing squarely on her left shoulder.

"I knew something was wrong," Berman said. "There was tingling throughout my fingers and arm and a sharp pain in my shoulder."

A broken collarbone.

In the first game of the Maryland State Cup soccer tournament.

"I didn't cry though," said Berman, remembering the incident that happened three years ago when she was an eighth-grader. "I only cried when they told me I'd be out for eight weeks."

Now that hurt.

"I love to play the game," said Berman. "I couldn't stand to be away that long."

Call it mental torture.

"I went to a psychiatrist. I needed to talk to somebody," said Berman, who went for a few sessions. "That helped a lot. I guess that shows how much I love the sport, that I needed to seek professional help."

Berman recovered from the broken collarbone, and the medial cruciate ligament she tore during a Thanksgiving tournament in ninth grade, the sprained neck in seventh grade and the concussion in July at the Olympic Development Program (ODP) regional camp.

A junior at Wilde Lake, Berman is one of the county's brightest stars. She was third in scoring as a freshman, and last year led the league in goals (13) and assists (9).

"She is a very good player," said Wilde Lake co-coach Anita Andersch. "Very skillful, has fast feet, great moves and surprising speed. She's also very smart."

Said another person very close -- very, very close -- to Berman: "She works really hard, and is very dedicated to the sport. She has a good attitude. She has fun with it."

That's Abby Berman's opinion, Amanda's identical twin. Amanda is 10 minutes older and, at 5 feet, three inches shorter.

Abby, a defender for the Wildecats, and Amanda share in their frustration over injuries. Abby has broke her right wrist three times -- twice in soccer, once in lacrosse -- and has dealt with a sore right ankle on and off for two years.

Amanda's most recent injury -- the concussion at the ODP regional camp -- came at a terrible time. It prevented her from making the 16-and-under national pool team.

"I was trying to head the ball, and a teammate tried to kick it and she kicked me in the back of the head," Amanda said. "We both missed the ball."

Amanda stayed in the game, but shortly thereafter felt dizzy and nauseous. She reached the sideline and collapsed.

The next morning, Wednesday, Amanda learned that she had made the pool team. But she decided not to play that day.

"I decided to take the day off because I wouldn't be able to go percent," Amanda said. "I thought the day off would give me time to recover."

Wednesday night, she was off the pool team.

She played for her state team Thursday and again Friday morning. Later in the day she was told she had been put back on the pool team. Tired from the two-hour morning practice, Amanda tried her best but, for the second time in three days, was cut again.

She admits that injuries are "part of the game," but Amanda said of the kick in the head: "I didn't deserve that. I really wanted to show what I could do. I'm really disappointed that I missed some games because I think I could have done better."

Amanda, who is more determined than ever to next year make the national pool team, occasionally gets headaches as a result of the concussion and takes medication. Three weeks ago she had a MRI and everything was fine.

Amanda plays club soccer for the CSC Phoenix. The Phoenix has many local players, including two-time county Player of the Year Lauren Molinaro of Centennial.

"I compare myself to her," said Amanda, who has a 3.5 grade-point average and is interested in studying archaeology in college. "That's who I want to be like. I want to be as good as she is. She's really driven. I want to have that drive. To give everything you have every day."

Amanda does have that drive. And the skills and the quickness and everything else that last year made her an All-County and second-team All-Metro player. She's playing with confidence, and hopes her 15th-ranked Wildecats (1-1) will be up to the test when they travel to fifth-ranked Centennial Friday in the league opener.

"If we play like we did against [No. 8] McDonogh [a 2-1 overtime victory Friday], we can win."

Pub Date: 9/22/96

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