At Play

The Baltimore Sun

Scott Weaver is a busy man. As a structural engineer who handles bridge design and construction, the Pasadena resident is regularly at work by 6 a.m.

But after work, another identity emerges: soccer fanatic. He's on the field nearly every day - he serves as an assistant coach for Gonzaga, a private school in Washington, officiates youth games on Saturdays and plays in four leagues.

"We live in a very stressful society," Weaver, 31, said. "People work it out in different ways, and soccer is my release. Some people go to the gym; some people go for walks. I play soccer."

Weaver is one of the self-described soccer addicts who populate the Monday night adult coed program run by Anne Arundel County Recreation and Parks.

The league boasts about 200 players on 10 teams, including Todd McNeil, 33, of Arnold, who plays in two other leagues; and Chris Weiss, 37, of Edgewater, who fills in on a second.

"I just enjoy it," McNeil said. "If I didn't like it, I'd find something else to do."

Weaver, a friend of McNeil's, is a member of an over-30 league, an unlimited-age league and a Sunday night indoor soccer league.

At Gonzaga, Weaver works a lot with the goalies on the school's freshman, junior varsity and varsity teams. He also plays that position most of the time.

He played varsity soccer at Chesapeake High and club soccer in college and learned about the county recreation leagues by accident. Weaver was driving past Tick Neck Park in Pasadena eight years ago when he saw a game going on. Weaver stopped to find out what was going on. He joined the league almost immediately and never looked back. Now he not only plays on the Training Pro team, he helps run it.

"He's all over the place," said McNeil, a computer programmer who plays with Weaver.

Both have soccer channels on their cable TV packages. Weaver enjoys watching English Premier League action as well as some of the high-powered German games. To see matches in person, he's a D.C. United season ticket holder.

Weiss said finding time to play is a balancing act. A county police officer, he's on the job from 11 p.m. to 7:30 a.m., six nights on and then three nights off.

"Nobody's in college anymore and everybody's working, so to be out there you have to like the game," Weiss said. "I love the game, and I do it to keep in shape."

Weiss competed through middle school, but an ankle injury limited his playing time in high school. Weiss then played recreation soccer throughout his time at the University of Maryland.

He keeps busy helping to run the Bull Frogs team from the coed league.

"I still can do it, so I still play it," Weiss said. "It helps me in a bunch of ways."

The games are two 45-minute halves; teams regularly get players from different areas who like to stay together if everything clicks. Weaver's team features players from Annapolis, Towson and Washington, including a married couple, an engaged couple and a brother-sister duo.

Weaver and McNeil have each promised their wives that they'll play in only one league when they have children.

They'll just have to figure out which ones to drop.

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