Busy schedules take their toll Girls soccer: Commitments to club and high school teams can make the fall season one big rush for county players.

September 28, 1997|By Stan Rappaport | Stan Rappaport,SUN STAFF

Stacie Tokasz plays soccer seven days a week. A junior at Centennial, Tokasz practices or plays games for the Eagles after school Monday through Friday. Her club team -- Maryland Majestic -- practices Tuesday and Thursday nights, Saturday morning and plays games on Sunday.

Is Tokasz tired?

Not now. She's hurt. Stress fracture in her left foot.

"The doctor said it was overuse," Tokasz said.

Tokasz is joined on the Majestic by Centennial teammates Mandy Zachmann, Jane Williams and Alexia Vogler. They all follow the same routine.

"Sometimes it can be too much going to two practices a day," said Zachmann.

Burnout?

"You could say that," said Zachmann. "It's not that I'm sick of soccer, you just get tired. I have homework, and it's hard to juggle it all and go to bed at a decent time."

Said Williams: "Sometimes I get overwhelmed with rushing everywhere, going from one thing to the other without stopping, and inhaling your food. And then you have to get your homework done and you're falling asleep."

The four Centennial players -- all juniors -- are not alone. Howard's Sarah Campbell is on the Majestic, as are three River Hill players -- Krista and Karla Killian and Megan Wright. And there are other high school players in the county that also practice for their club team during the week.

There are, of course, some club teams that choose not to practice during the week. The Majestic, in fact, did not practice during the week last fall.

However, a majority of players and parents wanted that to change.

When Dennis Krupa was hired to coach this season, one of the conditions, he said, was that "the team wanted to train in addition to playing in high school."

Said Zachmann: "Our club team needs to practice in order to be good. It's crucial that we practice together because we have the WAGS tournament."

The Washington Area Girls Soccer tournament is one of the top girls tournaments in the country. It is important that they play well with so many college coaches watching.

And being seen by college coaches is why most of them play club ball. Club teams go to tournaments, and tournaments are the primary way of being recruited.

But is practicing three days a week for your club team and playing five days for your high school team too much?

The foursome from Centennial said yes, and no. Yes, it can be too much, but no, they didn't want to give it up.

"High school is fun," said Vogler, who is nursing a sore ankle but still playing. "It's not as physical and not as demanding because the competition isn't as good.

"Club is so much more intense."

And while Centennial coach Mike Senisi thinks "going from one practice to another is a little too much," he believes the high school and club programs can work together.

"The girls shouldn't have to choose between high school and club because they're both important," said Senisi

Krupa agrees. "The level of play certainly is not as high [in high school]," said Krupa, who has taught physical education in Montgomery County for 30 years and has coached high school, club, college and professional teams. "However, there are social benefits. I would never encourage a player not to play in high school."

And Krupa emphasized that he is aware that these players are coming from a two-hour practice or game and plans his practice accordingly.

"They're not extremely hard," Tokasz said of the weekday practices. "It's more technical and tactical."

But is it too much?

Well, everyone's got an opinion.

"My mom says I play better in the spring," Williams said.

Why?

"I'm not so tired," she said.

Pub Date: 9/28/97

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