Rec Sports Spotlight: FSK co-ed soccer team 'a solid group'

Kathy Garvis was worried about this fall's Frederick County Youth Soccer League season.

Her Francis Scott Key Eagles team was a reigning champion, but that had been a spring job in the league's under-13 Division a few months before.


This fall, she, co-coach Larry Haines and their squad, mostly boys but also a few girls, would have to navigate the Under-15A bracket with a roster of seventh- and eighth-graders. There being no under-14 division, they had to jump up two years and play older opponents, some being in the 10th grade.The Eagles' seventh-graders would be as many as three years younger than some of those opponents.

But that never bothered their team because it didn't lose a game.

They tied for first at 8-0 in the regular season, and then they swept five postseason playoff games for the title.

This fall's championship marks the third time in the past four spring and fall seasons they have won their league. Last autumn they lost in the under-13 championship game.

They have also been successful in winter indoor play, winning a championship as an under-12 team.

Garvis credits the team's success to the fact that most of the players have been together for six years; they know each other. This fall, roughly 28 came out for the travel team. About half were broken off to form a second FSK team which played in the under-15 B Division.

While FSK's second youth team struggled in the FCYSL, Garvis said she is happy with the efforts of that second squad. It had less experience than many of its opponents.

So did the "A" squad, but that didn't matter. The Eagles easily won most of their games. Only twice did their opponent ever score as many as two goals, and the Eagles won those two games 6-2 and 11-2.

When it was all over, FSK had scored 49 goals and allowed only nine, second best in the 11-team loop. Glade Valley, the other first-place team, scored 50 and allowed only eight.

FSK never played that Walkersville squad in the regular season or postseason, and Garvis wished her team could have.

"I told their coach we looked forward to seeing them in the playoffs. But they lost in the semifinals," Garvis said.

Meanwhile, FSK chugged along.

"Our defense was really solid. We'd had our players in the same positions for three years. We moved them around until we put them where they would be successful. They were a solid group," Garvis said.

However, that doesn't mean that those kids were frozen in place.


"They have their positions, but they can move if they have to. They can play anywhere you ask them," Garvis said.

While they were second in goals, Garvis nevertheless was uneasy about her players on offense.

"You wouldn't guess it, but we struggled on offense,” she said. “We scored 49 goals but we shot 70 times. We missed a lot of open shots and had trouble finishing.”

Perhaps it was the prospect of facing Glade Valley that concerned her even though she very much wanted her team to play that opponent. But that confrontation vanished when Glade Valley dropped a 1-0 semifinal playoff game to Frederick Soccer Club Revolution Blaze, a team it had beaten only 4-3 in the regular season.

The postseason tournament, played at the Monocacy Middle School in Frederick County, opened with pool play on Nov. 4. All of these games were 40 minutes long instead of the regulation 80.

Garvis spoke somewhat in jest with her players beforehand. She reminded them that they'd been a second-half team during the year. But since there was no second half in these abbreviated games, she advised them to hit the net early and preferably often.

They did that in these preliminary games.

The Eagles scored early in their 3-0 over Myersville in the first game. They topped Hagerstown Soccer Club 3-1 in game two and Frederick 5-0 in game three.

The following Saturday, Nov. 11, they blanked Point of Rocks in a tough semifinal, 2-0.

FSK expected to see Glade Valley in the final. But instead it faced the Frederick Soccer Club.This was a regulation 80-minute contest.

Frederick was tough, but the Eagles were tougher.They won it 2-0.

They went up 1-0 about 15 minutes into the game. They scored the second goal midway through the second half on a headed-in corner kick.

"We talked to (the players) before the game about being complacent because you can lose when you're complacent. Frederick definitely came to play," Garvis said.

But so did the Francis Scott Key's youthful Eagles, and they prevailed.

Next fall, many on the team will play their soccer at Key. And while Kathy Garvis won't be coaching them any more, they will still be within earshot.

"When they are in high school, I'll be yelling from the bleachers," she said.