For 11-year-old Tim Betz, a Duke Blue Devils baseball cap has brought its share of luck this season.
Tim, a Finksburg resident and center striker on Lovell Regency Homes 12-and-under soccer team, isn't without his good-luck charm at any of the indoor games this season. Sofar, Tim and his charm are working, as Lovell is undefeated and going to national competition.
"The way I picture Timmy," said Lovell's head coach Sandro Marcozzi, "he's always got a soccer ball in his hand and the Blue Devil capon."
For the honor student at West Middle School in Westminster, it might be the cap for luck, but it's the legs for the skill. He is the top scorer for Lovell with 60 goals this year and counting.
"On a scale of one to 10, Timmy is definitely a 10," said Marcozzi. "Heis a natural talent. There is not much you can teach him. We are fortunate to have five or six players like him."
Lovell Regency is 27-0, 1992 regional champs and has qualified for the Seventh Annual National Indoor Soccer Championship Series next month in Atlanta.
Lovell defeated season-long nemesis Baltimore Stars, 5-2, in the final game of the 1992 Indoor Soccer Championship Series Tournament here to qualify for the national competition. Tim scored the goal that tied the game at 2-2.
"We played them outdoor and indoor, and they beat us once, and we beat them once and tied a million times," said Tim. "They always play us tough."
In the regional tournament, Tim scored15 goals and was one of the driving forces in the Lovell success.
"In Europe," said Italian-born Marcozzi, "they give a golden boot trophy to the top scorer. If we had that trophy, we would give it to Timmy. He's got golden feet. He turns the ball well with both feet, andhe's a beautiful shot."
The victories for Lovell and Tim didn't begin with the indoor regional series.
Lovell Regency Homes has wontitles in all three leagues in which it competes -- the 1991 City League, the 1992 Myers Pavilion League and the 1992 Du Burns League.
It's not the first time Tim has been on a championship team. Victories follow wherever he goes.
A former resident of Baltimore City, Tim was on the 1988 Beltway League co-champion Little Flower team and the 1989 Carroll County champion Deer Park team.
The play of the Finksburg resident caught the eye of state champion PSC Topgun, and hetraveled with that squad to a tournament in North Carolina recently.
Tim also wants to compete in the national indoor championships inGeorgia, but the expenses are great.
"We figure about $500 per child," said manager Bob Russell, "for a total of $5,000. If we have that much, it would be up to the parents to pay for the meals."
Lovell Regency Homes has contributed $3,000 toward the teams' traveling expenses, but the club is short $2,000.
"We are very hopeful that the community and business leaders can support us in any possible way," said Marcozzi.
Even though the team still needs money, Tim and his teammates anticipating going.
"I've never been there (Atlanta) and there are going to lots of teams from all over the country," saidTim. "It should be a great experience."
The team is practicing three days a week and playing against teams from older age groups. Proof of the Lovell team's ability is its 2-0 record against 14-under teams.
"The level of competition is a lot stronger at a national event," said Marcozzi. "We have been playing teams from all over the state, and we have been competitive. We know the quality of our players going to the tournament, and we think we can go all the way."
For information about contributions, contact Tim Betz at 2506 Cornstalk Drive, Finksburg, 21048, or call 876-5593.