Douglas dreams of being a Genie Women's soccer: Former North Carroll standout, graduating from Towson State in May, could find herself helping a new pro league start up.

February 27, 1997|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

It was four years ago when Ashlee Douglas was a senior at North Carroll considering what college to attend and which sport to play.

"I only looked at Towson State and Western Maryland College, and I wasn't sure what I wanted to play," she said last fall. "Then I just thought, 'Why not go for it all?' At Towson, I could play Division I ball with a new program, and figured I had a chance to make an impact from the start."

The "Division I ball" she was referring to was soccer and she indeed made an impact, leading the Tigers to a 10-7-2 mark this past fall and finishing her four-year career as the program's all-time scoring leader with 18 goals and another school record 26 assists.

Just when Douglas thought her playing days were relegated to just-for-fun co-ed teams, an opportunity to play professionally has come about. In the middle of March, she will be trying out for the Delaware Genies of the United States Women's Interregional Soccer League. Around just the past couple of years, the league has grown to 32 teams and five divisions.

And just like the chance she had helping build the Towson program, she's looking forward to making the most of her newest opportunity.

"Basically, I want to make the team," she said. "I never thought [about playing professionally] until the opportunity came about, and now there's another challenge in front of me. I'm real excited about getting back into it."

Towson State coach Ron Rainey, who got a call from Delaware Genies coach Scott Smith in search of players, said Douglas was almost assured a position.

"For some of the players, as long as they show they can make the commitment, they're on the team. Ashlee is pretty much on the team," said Rainey. "This is not much different than what she did here. She was getting this program on its feet, and that's what this league is all about."

A second tryout will take place at the end of March with the regular season set to start in late April. Games will be played on Saturdays and Sundays with practices on Fridays and Mondays. The team's home is Wilmington.

"It's the highest level of women's soccer, aside from the U.S. National Team," said Douglas, who will graduate from Towson in May with a bachelor's degree in sports management. "It's very demanding with all the traveling every weekend. But I look at it like I have a foot in the door on a new thing, hopefully."

Rainey said Douglas' all-around natural ability will be an asset. She was also a fine point guard and track and field standout at North Carroll, and at Towson, she played a number of positions on the soccer field.

"One of the things that helped us was her versatility," said Rainey. "She played up-top, a wing and sometimes in the middle fo the field -- that will help her. She'll find her niche because of her athleticism. They'll find a place for her on the soccer field."

Pub Date: 2/27/97

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