Carroll County Times
Carroll County Sports

Rec Sports Spotlight: Central Carroll boys soccer squad a Force to be reckoned with

When his son and daughter were very young, Brian Henline said he would support them in any sport they chose to play.

But deep down, he wanted one of those sports to be soccer which he calls “my passion.”


“I played high school soccer four years, and I’ve refereed,” he said. “I’m very familiar with the game. If they got involved in soccer, I told them I would be their soccer coach.”

Henline was more than a little happy to coach his son’s Central Carroll Force soccer team. And, it has been a big winner in the Central Maryland Soccer Association over the past three years.


Two weeks ago, it won the CMSA Under-15 boys Saturday League title.

Henline has coached the team since it was an under-8 outfit, and this is the third time his team has won a CMSA championship. The Force also plays one tournament each year. While they haven’t been as successful as in CMSA, the kids usually make things interesting.

They won SAC’s Columbus Day tournament of 2014, and they were a finalist in the Gettysburg Battlefield Blast tourney last August.

A couple of weeks ago in the Fall SAC Tournament, the Force failed to make it to the finals, but again the team made things interesting.

CC Force was 2-2 in pool play. It then beat one of those teams, Maryland Rush, in an exciting 3-1 game where it played some of its best soccer of the year. However, Liverpool, which had also beaten the locals earlier, eventually got the nod for the finals slot by virtue of tie-breaker criteria.

In CMSA, it has been different — particularly of late.

The Force won the CMSA in the fall of 2016 and spring of 2017, compiling a combined 11-0-3 record in those two sessions. They were a finalist in the spring of 2016, with a 5-1 record.

They didn’t place last fall, but this past spring looked really promising. Central Carroll had a chance to win the CMSA’s under-14 championship going into the final game against the Owings Mills/Pikesville-based Northwest Soccer Club.


Things ended on a sour note though. The Baltimore County-based team hammered the Force 5-0.

“The kids were really deflated. It was pretty devastating for the boys,” Henline said. “They’d never lost that badly before. This fall, everybody wanted payback.”

Since he had most of his nucleus back, he felt his team could do that and contend for the Saturday league title as well. He was glad to see that Northwest was back in the league this fall.

What’s more, a scheduling quirk gave the Force two shots at these antagonists — the season opener and the final game.

“The league couldn’t have planned this any better,” Henline said. “I always tell the boys that the two most important games in the schedule are the first one and the last one.”

However, the weather had its own plans for the team’s opener Sept. 8. It rained the entire time. The game ended in a tie with a football-like score of 6-6 in horrible playing conditions.


The following week was a one-goal win for CC Force. But afterward, the wins came fairly easy. All were by two or more goals. The winning margins generally got greater as the year progressed.

The tension built up though, as that final game approached. Both teams stayed unbeaten as the schedule wound down to that Nov. 3 final.

Northwest had the edge in goal differential coming into that game. A tie would give it the title. The Force would have to win it.

“The kids knew what was at stake, and the parents knew. The other coach knew we were hungry,” Henline said.

The game was played at Franklin High School in Reisterstown. This time, the weather was perfect.

Central Carroll got the all-important first goal, hitting the net midway in the first half. Their coach though, told his players not to go into a shell.


“At halftime, I told them not to make any adjustments and to play the way they had played all year,” Henline said. “I told the boys they had to maintain possession and win the 50-50 balls. They did that.”

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The Force scored again about halfway through the second half, and it made that 2-0 lead stand up.

“The defense played awesomely. It was lights out,” Heline said. “To have a shutout against a team like that was something to speak to.”

The Central Carroll squad will play indoors over the winter. Plans are for the team to play in CMSA this coming spring.

Next fall, most of the team moves on to high school, and Henline wants to ready his players for what they’ll face at that level.

To that end, he’s had the soccer coaches from Winters Mill and Westminster meet with the players to advise them on what high school is like and the level of commitment they must make as varsity team members.


Henline also hopes to maintain the team through high school if the players want to keep playing.

If they like winning, that might be something for them to consider.