Nearly 700 high school aged girl soccer players converged on Carsin’s Run Fields in Aberdeen on Tuesday for the start of the Top Flight Girls Soccer League.
The teams, 32 of them, are all decked out in full colorful uniforms and rosters range from 16-24 per team with an average of 18.
The players are from both Harford and Baltimore county high schools, both public and private.
“I’m happy with the amount of time that went into organizing because without that I think it probably could have been bumpy, but I’m very happy with how everything has kind of played out,” league director Josh Ruggiero said. “Everybody has followed the rules, we tried to be clear in laying out what to expect when they got here and what we were asking of them. Everybody did a great job.” Ruggiero is also owner of Top Flight Sports.
All players and team personnel went through temperature checks and all persons throughout the complex wore masks. “Coaches, players, parents, we haven’t had one person who I’ve had to remind about a mask, which is fantastic, everybody’s kept their spacing. We’ve been really happy and to have a place like this to be able to hold this many games, makes it a little bit easier, but yes, very, very happy,” Ruggiero said.
The games on opening day were eight at a time with 3:30 p.m. starts and eight more starting at 5:30 p.m. Game times will vary a bit as the weeks move along. The league plays on Tuesdays and Thursdays and all teams will play twice a week for the first four weeks.
In weeks five and six, teams will play one game each. The league will have playoffs starting November 3 and all teams play a 10-game regular season schedule.
“I think it’s really fun, I think it’s good for our team to come together and play even though high school was delayed later in the season. It’s good that we get to play together before the actual high school season,” Danielle Marino, a Bel Air junior said. Marino is part of Team Queen B SC. Stallions 1 defeated Queen B SC, 2-1.
The league features 20 teams in Division I and 12 teams in Division II. Division I teams are broken down into North and South divisions, while Division II is one division.
D-I games are played with 40-minute halves, while D-II games have 30-minute halves.
Sarah Goad is a junior at Havre de Grace and member of team Havredeen. “I think it’s a good opportunity since Fall sports have been moved practically to the Spring and we basically get to play with different counties that we’ve never played before, so it’s a good opportunity to see what’s out there from their own county,” Havre de Grace junior Sarah Goad said.
Havredeen is one of the league teams that have players from two schools, combining players from Havre de Grace and Aberdeen to create the team. “I feel like it’s okay, because we get to meet new people from different schools and we can become friends with people we didn’t even know existed. It’s an overall good to know who they are. I feel like it’s a good idea,” Goad added.
Her Havredeen team opened with a win in D-I South play, beating Looker, 3-2.
All teams have volunteer coaches and all teams have sponsored uniforms. There are 40 sponsors covering 32 teams.
Team names and sponsors are; Queen B SC, PRMI; Stallions 1, Simply Grand Home Furnishings; Code Orange, Basta Pasta; Vipers, Kim Parsons Realty; VT7, Direct Mortgage Loans; Horn SC, POPS; Nottingham United, Amanda Gallagher Orthodontics; S.S. Ciro, Tarheel Construction; PAT$, Clean Air Heating & Air Conditioning; MM’s, Swan Title; Venom, Conrads; Havredeen, TW Ellis (Front) and Blevins Mortgage (Back); Hot Shots, All Pro; Edgemere 1, Power Factor; Green Beans, Amanda Gallagher Orthodontics (Front) and Beltway Capital Management (Back); Red Devils, United Crane; Twisters, Philly Pretzel; Looker, Lymphoma Awareness; Falcons, Straight Forward Painting; Togo SC, Bright Oaks Pediatrics; Heighe United, Meritage Jewlers; Stallions 2, New German Performance (Front) and State Farm: Ingrassia (Back); Orange Attack, Independent Brewery; Fang, Jarretsville Veterinary Center; Talons, State Farm: Hammond (Front) and Reliable Construction (Back); Seppala SC, Town Security; Horn SC, University of Maryland Department of Orthopaedics (Front) and Carroll Tree Services (Back); Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Harford Financial Group; PAT$, Maryland Mutual; FC Pirlo, Amanda Gallagher Orthodontics (Front) and Pure Raw Juice (Back); Edgemere 2, Maryland Skylights; Pink Lightning, Claire Marie Foundation (Front) and Welsch Insurance Group (Back).
“So, 32 teams, 40 sponsors, 41 because we had a sponsor, sponsor all the coaches shirts,” Ruggiero said. “It gives me a lot of hope of where we are. With everything going on right now, to see little glimpses of people, thinking outside of themselves, really, it makes you feel good. More than just myself putting this together, to see these companies come together to get these kids on the field is one thing, but to do it the right way, and to have these kids like they’re a part of something, doesn’t happen without those businesses stepping up. So, I’m extremely grateful to all of them.”
The players and league could not have asked for a better day to start. Light wind, temperatures in low 70′s and sunny skies. “We have built into our schedule a rain date, so every Friday we have set in there as an opportunity to make up any games that we might miss,” Ruggiero said. “Luckily for us, Fridays, for a lot of these kids at school are a little lighter, so we might have a little more room to work with. But to get day one in beautiful weather like this, I can only hope that it continues to be anywhere close to it.”