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Carroll Community College women's soccer head coach Bill Warburton, left, and volunteer assistant coaches Michelle Shepard and Steve Berry take a photo with the Carroll Lynx during a celebration unveiling the new mascot Wednesday, Feb. 27.
Carroll Community College women's soccer head coach Bill Warburton, left, and volunteer assistant coaches Michelle Shepard and Steve Berry take a photo with the Carroll Lynx during a celebration unveiling the new mascot Wednesday, Feb. 27. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)

The launch for women’s soccer at Carroll Community College will be delayed until fall 2020, according to a news release the college sent out Friday.

The decision to halt the launch process was made due to a lack of enough eligible female soccer players to field a full competitive team this year, college President James D. Ball said via the news release.

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The college will continue to move forward with its new men’s soccer and men’s and women’s cross country programs, and recruiting efforts for women’s soccer will continue. Athletic director Bill Kelvey said via email that 22 men are currently involved in tryouts for men’s soccer, and final rosters for both cross country teams will not be finalized until the end of August.

Community support for these athletic initiatives has been “overwhelmingly positive,” Kelvey said, and the college has received money for a number of efforts including athletic scholarships, sponsorships for advertising and contributions to the funding of athletic equipment.

“Many in the community are very pleased that athletes will be able to compete beyond their high school years in Carroll County,” Kelvey said via email.

Bill Warburton, who has more than 15 years of soccer experience, was set to lead the women’s team as its head coach this fall. Warburton coached at Winters Mill High School and Gerstell Academy, where he led the varsity boys team to back-to-back Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference finals in 2013 and 2014, plus a championship victory in 2013.

Kelvey said the athletic programs did not have athletic scholarships when recruiting started, but the student-athletes are eligible for academic scholarships. The program’s coaches now have at least a year of experience, and Kelvey anticipates they will start their recruiting efforts earlier than they were previously able to.

Carroll Community, which will participate in the Maryland Junior College Athletics Conference, intends to add lacrosse teams in spring 2021 with the possibility for athletes to play both soccer and lacrosse, as well as lay out efforts to increase female participation in all intercollegiate sports.

“As with the launch of any new initiative, we have learned quite a bit as time has gone on,” Kelvey said via email. “Of course we highly value opportunities to learn, and we appreciate the support of our colleagues at the other community colleges and throughout the county who have helped us.

“There has been tremendous student and employee support for our new mascot and the introduction of athletics. They are helping spread the word.”

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