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Thunder Soccer Club's goal is to put players first

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Name: Dan Ennis

Job description: Ending second year as president of the Thunder Soccer Club, which serves mainly the western part of the county. Was coach and director before that. Club, with annual budget approaching $70,000, focuses on travel ball, fielding 10 boys teams and eight girls teams; added a developmental "micro" program for kids 9 and younger last spring. Works with about 30 volunteers, plus those who serve each age-group team. "Our goal is to provide a travel option that is varied, and, ultimately, to have two teams at each age group." Club is separate from the rec-level Western Howard County Youth Soccer organization.

Age: 42

Residence: Howard County side of Sykesville since 1983.

Personal: Leesburg, Va., native who grew up in Bowie; played football at Bowie High. University of Maryland, College Park, criminal-justice major who works for the Department of Defense. Became involved in soccer through two sons, two daughters; plays indoor ball. Older son is on Glenelg's varsity team.

Best thing about position: "One of the beautiful things about travel ball is the time you get together with your own kids, as well as the others. With the club, it's when you see things that you've helped organize work. It's really a blast to see the kids, like with the young ones in our 'micro' [small-sided] program, out there experiencing not only the game but the camaraderie of the sport. That's when you know you're succeeding."

Biggest challenge: "Time. When you agree to volunteer, you commit to spending a lot of time, and as the club has grown, so has the challenge of time you can devote to the club vs. what you have to do for your kids and family. You spend a heck of a lot of time with soccer. For the club, it's determining and maintaining our vision - putting players first, which is our club motto."- Lowell E. Sunderland

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