Rec Sports Spotlight: Elliott year-long contributor for Freedom

Chrissy Elliott nicely summed up her volunteer work for the Freedom Soccer Club when she said, "I'm constantly doing something for soccer."

In the nine years she's been involved, she has performed virtually every job imaginable for that Freedom youth soccer program except occupy the office of president.


She estimates she spends about 30 hours a week doing those chores during the soccer season. Of course the term "soccer season" might at first give the impression that she's involved for only certain months of the year. However down in the Freedom program, "soccer season" runs about 11 months out of 12 when you throw in the indoor and outdoor seasons plus the planning and preparation that go between.

The powers that be in the Freedom Recreation Council have recognized her contributions by naming the Eldersburg resident its Volunteer of the Year.

Freedom Soccer Club president Chris Little recommended her.

"Volunteers are so valuable to any organization, particularly in youth sports. Chrissy has been committed to the Freedom Soccer Club for almost 10 years. Because of her commitment to the organization and the community, this person needed to be recognized," said Little, a Freedom Recreation Council Volunteer of the Year himself in 2013.

Elliott grew up playing soccer both at the rec level and then in high school. In fact she still plays on women's teams a couple of nights a week. When she moved to Carroll County the only impetus she needed to get involved in the sport as a volunteer was a couple of children.

Once daughter Devon and son Ryan were born, it was only a matter of time until she signed herself up. In 2007 she began by coaching Devon's kindergarten team and becoming manager to Ryan's under-9 squad. There, she first handled the administrative details such as making sure all players were properly registered for leagues and tournaments.

She became increasingly valuable as an administrator. Because of those considerable talents, Elliott was named FSC vice president in 2011.

Since then, she has continued to follow a dual track. She has kept her coaching job with Devon's team and also assumed a host of other duties as the vice president. The latter require her to ensure that the program's 40-some teams complete all of the registration and certification requirements for their roughly 500 players. She is particularly involved with the Maryland State Youth Soccer Association which is the major area sanctioning body. However, she also has to be on top of registration requirements of other sanctioning organizations if one of FSC's teams plays in a more distant league or competes in certain tournaments. She also ensures that background checks have been done on all new coaches and assistant coaches.

Elliott helped develop a web site that allows teams to order uniforms online. This involved advising the site developer concerning things the site had to have.

Interestingly, Elliott says that, "I'm not very computer-oriented.But I'm a quick study and I learn things quickly. But it's definitely not my specialty."

However, she was computer-oriented enough to have a big hand in creating a system in which the uniforms for 500 kids can be efficiently ordered online. And these uniforms change every two years. She also updates the web site's information regularly.

She must also keep up with changes in the world of soccer in case one affects her program. Recently, she learned that youth soccer teams must be organized by virtue of calendar year birth instead of school year as was previously the case.This has resulted in a number of shifts in her teams' rosters. She has become involved in that sometimes wrenching process of team reorganization which can separate teammates who have played together for years.

Elliott also briefs coaches on rules changes made at the national level that affect field sizes and the number of players per team in different age groups.

Another chore she has assumed is working on the annual Scrimmagefest soccer tournament that raises some $10,000-$15,000 per year for the FSC program. While not overly expansive about her own role in this all-important FSC money-maker, Little is.


"She is the architect of Scrimmagefest," he says, bluntly.

Little explained that Elliott ran that tournament herself in its early years. Then she committed her experience to paper-or perhaps to cyberspace. In that role, she spelled out a detailed list of duties that organizers must complete along with a detailed seven-month timeline showing when each must be accomplished.

Little says that she is valuable as a coach, but adds that what makes her really indispensable are her contributions as an administrator. Elliott though, sees the reverse when it comes to the role closest to her heart.

Despite all of her administrative responsibilities and the authority that goes with being vice president, Elliott says she derives the most satisfaction from coaching the children.

"I like helping people. I would say that working with the kids is the most rewarding. It's nice to see (the players) develop their soccer skills. But they also develop skills they can use in life, like taking responsibility, assuming leadership and the ability to get along. It's definitely the best part of my job," she said.

Elliott almost didn't show up at the November Carroll County Department of Recreation and Parks get-together at which the county's volunteers of the year are honored.

"When I got my invitation in the mail, I thought it was just because I was on somebody's mailing list. I threw it out. Then (Freedom Recreation Council President) Ken Whalen called me and asked me if I'd gotten an invitation. I answered, 'Ffor what?' Then he told me I'd been named Volunteer of the Year." she recounted.

She said she was very impressed with some of the others at the county rec ceremony.

"I'm amazed at what the people [there] do. They do as much as me and probably more. I'm just a small part of soccer," she said.

Not in the Freedom Soccer Club she isn't.