Milford Mill's boys soccer players call their team "The United Nations," and for good reason.
The Millers' 18-player roster is composed of six players of Jamaican decent and three of Trinidadian. Two each are from Ethiopia, Nigeria, Liberia and India, and one from Ghana.
When they struggled through a 1-11 season two years ago, said one team member, their playing styles were as varied as their collective heritages.
"There were adjustments to be made," said senior Chris Wellington, a Jamaican who was a sophomore on that losing team.
"From my point of view, the Jamaican style of playing is more skillful, technical and geared toward possession, as opposed to the American style, which is more attacking," Wellington said. "Some of our African players liked taking on defenders in solo runs. But once everyone got on the same page, it became a great combination."
Entering today's Baltimore County Division III game against Lansdowne, the host and defending champion Millers (7-0 overall and league) have outscored their opponents 42-4, with three shutouts.
The Millers are led offensively by Wellington (eight goals, 10 assists), sophomore Joseph Toto (nine, 10) and senior Saye Nimley (10, nine). They are anchored on defense by senior sweeper Gospel Nwogwugwu and goalie Tim Israel.
Last year's Millers went 12-0 before losing to Franklin, 1-0, on a goal in the 89th minute of their first-round Class 3A North regional playoff game. In the past 17 wins, the Millers have outscored their opponents 101-11, with 10 shutouts.
All but three Millers are honor-roll students, said third-year coach Keenan McCoy.
"They were intelligent players, but the one thing we had to work on was their skill and touch," McCoy said. "They really committed themselves to development. They've improved every year."
Carver A&T;'s girls soccer team is determined to defend its championship in Baltimore County's Division III with an unbeaten record this season.
A year ago, the Wildcats lost one league game to Lansdowne, but they are 6-0 now after Friday's 3-1 win over Overlea. Both teams were unbeaten going into the contest.
The Wildcats have outscored the competition 31-5, relying on Alex Hansani, Brittney Walker, Mandy Volmer, Amanda Ford and Jennifer Plaskowitz for much of the scoring. Shelby Lawson, Markyta Johnson and Jen Michelle Allen can create from the midfield.