Towson U. soccer scrimmage

For me, soccer is almost as American as apple pie. So it was only a matter of time before I participated in an all-female scrimmage. It was held in June 2007 at Dumbarton Middle School in Edgewater, Md.

It featured a dozen girls from Towson University and McDaniel College, a well-established program at the time. But no one had coached together before that contest.

Which, in the end, helped the hour-long scrimmage last about as long as playing an hour of soccer. Towson’s goalkeeper, Samantha Jones, is now a sophomore at Loyola University Maryland. Here are some notes and thoughts from the 2006 exhibition game.

The game was the work of veteran McDaniel coach Nancy Barker, who has had four starters each of the past seven years. She emphasized playing fast and active, which you can see in a tape of her assistant (now retired) Amy Donatelli, calling a play down the right sideline:

Players from Towson: Defenders Daniella Nash, Kellie Bayter, Abby Rabin and Brianna Johnson and goalie Samantha Jones.

The players from McDaniel: Maddy Herring, Sara Peterson, Alyssa Eischen, Caroline Moller, Allison McMonagle, Katelyn Hammatt, Kim Morante, Sara Villano and Alex Lubetka.

The coaches were all trying to learn how to coach a team of 11 players and one person wearing black-and-yellow socks. Barker played goalie in high school and college, along with several of her current players. She considered herself a passive stopper.

“I go down, get the ball and make the save. That’s my game. Sometimes the ball gets in front of me, but I get it and clear it,” Barker said.

That she didn’t have to play in front of Jones — who stands 5-9 — is one reason Barker is a good coach. The other was this: “Our game is not fast, it’s tactical. Our goalkeepers don’t shoot and make the saves. I think the people that coach our players, they get the other goalkeepers because they want to learn what our game is like.”

The thing that stood out most for me was the athleticism of the players, which included stiff upper bodies and explosive kicks for feet that were even shorter. And those were the tallest players.

The one word I often think of is “competitor.”

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