Club Profile: Soccer Club of Baltimore

Interview with John McHugh, president, by Soccer America Youth Soccer Letter executive editor Dan Woog

Location: Baltimore, Md.

History: Founded in 1990 by Kevin Healy (current NPSL Baltimore Blast coach) and Bob Mezzadra. At that time, soccer clubs in Columbia and Bethesda were drawing players from Baltimore; SCB was devised as a way to keep top players in the area.

Championships: 1 national (boys '74 Spirit, 1994); 6 regional (all boys); 28 state cup (27 boys, 1 girls).

Most famous players: Zach Thornton (Chicago Fire), Russell Payne (MetroStars), Santino Quaranta (D.C. United), Devin Barclay (Tampa Bay).

Number of players: Approximately 650.

Number of teams: 31 boys and girls teams, ages U-7 through U-18; there is also a "Mini-Kickers" program for 5- and 6-year-olds.

Number of coaches: 31.

Coaching salary scale: Ranges from no pay to $10,000 a year.

Cost to play: $50 per player per year.

Facilities: Several outdoor sites (rented); Freestate Indoor Sports Arena.

Club philosophy: "We bring in quality coaches, and put player development first. We want to prepare players for high school, ODP, college and beyond."

Club's greatest strengths: Coaching staff on the boys' side; the boys' quality of hard play.

Why boys are more successful than girls: "Early on, through strong coaching and strong play, we accomplished our original goal of keeping the top boys players in this area. The girls still go down to Bethesda. We don't want to lure them away; instead, we have to provide a reason for them to stay here."

Club's biggest challenges: "Bringing the girls' side up to the same level as the boys'. Joe Malia just came on as coaching director to address that issue. Also, having 31 teams with no place to call home is difficult. We've begun grouping teams by age at our facilities, but fields are still an issue we must address."

Use of former players as coaches: "We've really reached back to players who have come through our system, and have a passion for the club and what we're doing. We have seven former players on staff right now.'

Biggest rival: Baltimore Football Club.

Sponsor: adidas.

Fundraising: Tournaments (including Chesapeake Classic) and events such as dances.

Web site: http://www.scbalto.org.

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