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County getting in the soccer Spirit Professional team to visit Hampstead


Carroll County soccer fans can get a first-hand look at the Baltimore Spirit professional indoor soccer team when it conducts a preseason scrimmage at the Four Seasons Sports Complex in Hampstead tomorrow night.

The night also marks the unveiling of the complex's two new professional-sized indoor soccer fields.

The Spirit, part of the new 13-team National Professional Soccer League, will scrimmage from 7 to 8:30 p.m. tomorrow and remain on the field to sign autographs and talk to fans until 9:30.

"We are excited to give our Carroll County fans a chance to see a sneak preview of our squad for the upcoming NPSL season," said Spirit coach Kenny Cooper. "We are also glad to help unveil the Baltimore area's two newest indoor soccer fields."

There will be a lot of familiar faces on the Spirit to any former Baltimore Blast fans.

Along with Cooper, formerly the coach of the now-defunct Blast of the Major Soccer League, the Spirit also has former Blast players Rusty Troy, Tim Wittman, Doug Neely, Chris Vaccaro and Joe Koziol on the roster.

The Spirit will play 40 games beginning in November and continuing through late March. The first of their 20 home games at the Baltimore Arena will be Nov. 7 against the Chicago Power.

"We're very excited to be able to bring Baltimore's professional team to our county," said Ron Shroers, program director at Four Seasons. "And they were very happy to come up here and promote the team. We're hoping to have around 200 kids to watch them [tomorrow]."

The two new fields -- 50 yards long and 20 yards wide -- give Four Seasons three, more than any other such facility on the East Coast.

Along with soccer for youth and adults, the complex also will feature youth baseball, adult softball, indoor field hockey for high school and college players and box lacrosse for high school boys. The leagues will begin in late November.

Four Seasons management also plans to expand on the programs it already has. In soccer, it will have an A Division for advanced teams and a B Division for recreational, in-house teams. Softball will be extended to four nights a week, and the lacrosse program will have an increase in teams.

"We can accommodate close to 300 teams with all the different sports, but we're looking at about 200 to start with," Shroers said.

"All the different programs gives the people a variety of sports they can play during the winter. Before, most people just had wrestling and basketball during the winter months. But now, they have a lot of different indoor sports to choose from."

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