Broadneck soccer star Tyler Gabarra wins a ball in the offensive third, sends it wide to a teammate and dashes to goal. Successfully behind the defense, he collects the return pass and gets to work.
A quick cut back to his right foot and then an extra touch to get past a sliding defender gives him just enough space to slip a shot under the drawn out goalkeeper.
Gabarra's goal — perfectly placed inside the near post — came with seven minutes left to give the Bruins a 1-0 win over Annapolis this month.
The entire sequence took 10 seconds to develop, showing off Gabarra's soccer pedigree. The junior, who plays midfield and forward, isn't the son of just one prolific soccer player, but two.
The energy Gabarra spent winning the ball is a trait received from his father, Jim Gabarra, who played two years on the U.S. men's national team and largely earned his spot with a strong work ethic.
The crafty work inside the penalty area, including the poised finish, comes from his mother, Carin Gabarra, once the college record-holder for carrer goals (102 playing for UC-Santa Barbara) and the Most Valuable Player in the U.S. women's first World Cup championship in 1991.
If there's added pressure that comes with being the son of two highly successful former players — both parents have also enjoyed fine coaching careers — Gabarra doesn't find any. He has found his own niche as a dynamic playmaker for the No. 11 Bruins, who take a 10-4-1 record into Tuesday's Class 4A East sectional semifinal.
"I don't think there's any pressure, but just succeeding is a big thing in my family," said Gabarra, who has nine goals and seven assists this season. "That motivates me a lot in soccer, in school and whatever else I do. My passion and love for the game is what motivates me to succeed."
Gabarra has been around soccer all his life with his father coaching the women's professional Washington Freedom from 2001 to 2010 and his mother currently in her 21st season as Navy's women's coach.
Carin buckled her 3-month-old son in the car and drove to Colgate for his first soccer game.
The countless games and practice sessions gave him ample opportunity to learn the game. Most important to the parents, however, was for Gabarra to love soccer on his own.
"As a youngster, we kind of pushed him toward lacrosse and some other things because we wanted to make sure he made the choice that was right for him," Carin said. "Just because Jim and I have been involved in the game so long doesn't mean it would be the perfect fit for him. But his love for the game showed really young and never changed."
Gabarra, who also plays for the Baltimore Celtic Club Team, was part of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy last year, so he didn't play for the Bruins as a sophomore. With an ability to influence a game in so many ways, his return has been instrumental in the team's success this season.
"He understands the game very well and brings a really good work ethic," Broadneck coach Sean Tettemer said. "He definitely has that competitive drive and understands there's a way to play the game and a way to find what we need to get a win."
Senior forward Henry Welsh, who also plays for the Baltimore Celtic club, values what Gabarra brings to the field.
"When he has the ball, you know that if you get to the right spot, the ball is going to be there," Welsh said. "It adds so much to our team just having that assurance that if you make the right run, the ball is going to be there. Tyler is a fiery guy, too. He really gets into the game and he'll put everything out there, which is great."
When asked what his favorite soccer moment was, Gabarra didn't bring up a big goal or a special win. Instead, he mentions watching his mother's Navy team upset perennial power Penn State a few years back.
Asked to cite a game he actually played in, he brings up a 4-3 loss his club team endured two years ago against another powerful club, the New York-based Red Bulls.
"The pace was just unbelievable," he said. "It was back and forth — the best game I ever played in."
The appreciation and understanding he has for the game shows on the field. Most every touch he has on the ball is precise with purpose. It makes him one of the area's top players in the junior class, and high Division I schools are interested.
"We'll win games and he won't be satisfied because he feels he didn't do enough to help the team," said Steve Nichols, Gabarra's club coach, who also coaches at McDonogh. "So, in that sense, as unselfish and always wanting to please shows he's a coaches' son. The thing that makes him special is that unselfishness ... He does the dirty work, and if he's got to be the star, he'll do that as well."
Jim and Carin have always made a point to respect and trust Gabarra's various coaches over the years to develop his game. But they are still always there when called on.
"You always go into parenthood with the possibility that they may want to pursue something different. But he's always enjoyed the game and has been fortunate to have grown up with two coaches, so he's a typical coaches' kid," Jim said. "It's great that we have the background and he has the resources right here at home. But it's still mom and dad, and we can go out and teach him how to shoot a basketball, too."