JOHN ELLINGER, whose name seems to be looming larger in the national soccer picture, has resigned as coaching director for the Soccer Association of Columbia/Howard County and is moving to Florida from Ellicott City.
Ellinger, who coached at University of Maryland, Baltimore County and holds two degrees from Frostburg State, has been commuting for two years between Howard County, numerous foreign venues and, mainly, Bradenton, Fla.
His Florida duties, leading for the second year a U.S. Soccer Federation resident-training program for highly promising under-17 boys, clearly compromised his hands-on ability for Howard County's largest youth soccer program.
Ellinger, credited with giving SAC/HC new orderliness in the teaching of coaches, his main job locally, also led a Columbia United team to back-to-back national championships in 1996 and 1997.
Last year, his first under-17 national elite team took fourth in the FIFA World Youth Championships in New Zealand.
The next coaching director will be under a one-year contract with two optional years at undisclosed pay, the SAC/HC Web site says.
SAC/HC's top coaching job includes supervising of coaches and setting the training tone for a 750-player travel component, about 4,250 recreation-level players and about 1,000 4- and 5-year-olds in clinic programs.
County championships: Once a sticky, late dispute over what constitutes rec-level baseball players was settled, the first postseason title series for county players of that description produced memories for kids not usually involved in such competition and yielded champions from three county areas.
In the 9-10 age group, the Howard County Youth Program all-stars coached by Bill Howley took the title, beating Russ Stewart's AYRA-Baseball club for the second time in the double-elimination format.
At 11-12, honors went to Chuck Scudder's Columbia Youth Baseball Association stars, who scored 13 runs in the top of the sixth inning to beat Dean Kreh's HCYP club, 21-15. CYBA had beaten HCYP by a run in extra innings early in the tournament.
Among the 13-14 group, Paul Parrish's Western Howard County Angels and Skip Sheppard's AYRA-Baseball representatives split two games, the second a 10-inning win by the Angels, who then won the title tie-breaker, 7-5.
Willie Mays World Series: HCYP's 10-and-under travel baseball team - which, counting parents, comprised an entourage of 40 - finished fifth at the 24th American Amateur Baseball Congress' series.
That meant hurry-up travel plans for parents, who had to get 13 players first to Waterbury, Conn., for regionals and then, with four days for planning and travel, to, honest, Olive Branch, Miss.
The first-year Raiders, champs of Maryland and the North Atlantic region, went 50-12 overall. They were coached by Scott Staso and assistant Mark Johnson, who couldn't have brought off the requisite travel without sponsors and hard work by several team mothers. Even so, postseason play worked out to at least $1,000 in added expense per family.
The Ellicott City boys won the tourney opener over co-host Memphis, Tenn. They then lost to San Antonio, beat Olive Branch, which is about 30 minutes from Memphis, and were eliminated by a California team.
Because of a travel snafu, said Staso, "We came within a half-hour of backing out." But aspiring to win one game, the team doubled its hopes and, unlike several opponents, used every player in every game. Plus, the Mississippi trip was the first time on a plane for many players - in the long run, probably a more lasting memory for kids so young.
Hero(ines?): A county Hero's girls lacrosse team was runner-up in the Vail - yes, the Colorado ski resort about two-thirds of the way across the continent without leaving Interstate 70 - Shootout Tournament.
The team is mainly sophomores and juniors from Mount Hebron and Carroll County's Liberty high schools and was co-coached by Hebron's Steve Waagbo.
The Hero's girls lost the title game, 10-9, to Philadelphia's Westline, which they had beaten, 8-4, in an early round. Hebron alumna Katelyn Hoffman shared MVP honors, and Hebron sophomore Kristin Waagbo and senior Amy Shilling made the all-tournament team, chosen from 16 teams.