Every Thursday is "Tacky Day" at the girls soccer practice at Wilde Lake. Unusual clothing, not to mention colors, is the rule. So there was co-coach Roy Andersch, a very tacky scarf wrapped around his neck, explaining a drill to his dressed-down team.
"I want you to serve and meet the ball," Andersch said in a firm tone.
His wife and co-coach at Wilde Lake, Anita, stood a few feet away. "That's an Italian word," she said to the players next to her. "Meat-the-ball."
And so it goes at Wilde Lake.
"I have a goofy sense of humor," said Anita. "I'm like a frustrated comedian. But it's not brain surgery here. I like it to be light, to be fun."
Roy and Anita Andersch have been coaching soccer for the better part of 20 years. Their knowledge of the game is extensive, their coaching accomplishments many. But until now, they had never coached a varsity high school team.
"It's working out great," said senior Katie Douglas. "They really know a lot about soccer and they've brought a lot of information to the team. They've been very supportive, very positive. I think everybody enjoys them being here."
Said sophomore Bridget White: "They know what they're talking about. We respect them a lot."
Added sophomore Amanda Berman: "They can explain stuff the way I understand. A lot of coaches aren't able to tell you something and also show you. They can do both."
Roy and Anita Andersch coached the Columbia Crusaders, a seven-time state championship travel team, and their daughter, Samantha, for 10 years. The Crusaders disbanded after the 1993 season, but not before Roy and Anita were named travel team Coaches of the Year by the Maryland State Youth Soccer Association.
"I thought that was going to be it," Anita said of her coaching career.
But Roy still wanted to coach and soon Anita followed, although on different teams. Roy became an assistant coach at Hammond High and for the Columbia Spirit travel team. Anita became an assistant at Wilde Lake and for the Columbia Magic travel team )) and coached the Maryland 13-under Olympic Development Program team.
Although still coaching, the couple, married 28 years, missed working together. "We said that if either one became a head coach, the other one would come over," said Anita, who last year coached the 14-under ODP team.
They got that chance when Rick Wilson retired last season after five years at Wilde Lake. He wanted only one person to take over -- Anita Andersch.
"She had volunteered her time here for two years and I felt I owed her that. But just as important was that Anita is a bundle of energy and has tremendous knowledge of soccer," he said. "She's one of the most enthusiastic people about soccer, especially girls soccer, that I know."
With each holding a full-time job, their time together at practice is both personal and professional.
"I think it's cute," said White. "They work so well together."
"We've been doing this for so long that we're comfortable with our roles," said Roy, who watched the Wildecats run their record to 3-1 after a 6-3 victory over Liberty Friday night. "Neither one of us will make a decision without running it by the other one. We know each other so well. We've become good friends."
Their coaching style has been well received by the players, especially at practice.
"He brings a fun aspect to what he's teaching," said Douglas. "He has a way of working in skills into our little games. The practices have been fun this year."
To avoid confusion, Roy usually is the one talking to the team during a game. "He's the more vocal one on the field, definitely," Douglas said. "He doesn't scream. He's more like giving us instructions."
Anita admits she and her husband have sacrificed other things while devoting so much of their lives to soccer. But the mother of four -- all of her children received partial or full college scholarships thanks to soccer -- wouldn't trade a minute of it back.
"I get a big kick out of working with the kids," Anita said of the Wildecats. "I'm very happy. Win, lose or draw, as a bunch of personalities, they're great."
The feeling by players toward their coaches is mutual.
"They're really easy to relate too," said Douglas. "We've had a great time so far."