Local girl will have a ball at the World Cup

June 30, 1999

World cut soccer girlBy JULIE E. GREENE / Staff Writer

photo: KEVIN G. GILBERT / staff photographer

When top women's soccer player Mia Hamm steps out of bounds tonight for a throw-in there's a chance a Hagerstown girl will hand her a fresh ball.

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Emily Foltz, 13, is one of 24 youths who were chosen to be ball girls or boys at tonight's 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup quarterfinal doubleheader at Jack Kent Cooke Stadium outside Washington, D.C. The games will air on ESPN starting at 7 p.m.

Originally scheduled to be a ball girl during the second match, between Brazil and Nigeria, Foltz was switched to the first match, between the United States and Germany, after three youngsters failed to show up for practice on Tuesday, said her father, Tim Foltz.


"I'm excited. It's an honor," said Emily Foltz, of 19617 Granada Lane north of Hagerstown.

Foltz applied to be a ball girl after her mother, Debbie, saw an application form in The Washington Post.

As a ball girl, Foltz will be responsible for handing players soccer balls when a ball goes out of play.

Foltz said when she found out five weeks ago that she would be a ball girl for a World Cup game she jumped up and down.

Tim Foltz, said about 3,000 applicants had sought to be ball holders or flag bearers for tonight's doubleheader alone.

There will be 12 ball girls or boys for each game, with three standing on each side of the field, said Richard Finn, Women's World Cup spokesman.

As a ball girl, Foltz will walk away with $400 worth of merchandise, including two green and white uniform shirts, shorts, an Adidas bag, a hat and shoes, according to Finn and Emily Foltz.

The Northern Middle School student began playing soccer when she was 6 years old after watching her older brother, Matt, 16, play.

"I enjoy it. It's a lot of fun," she said.

Foltz is a fullback, or defender, for the Hagerstown Hotshots, a girls team in the Hagerstown Soccer Club that won the under-13 division championship at the Mason Dixon Soccer Tournament in Hagerstown on June 12-13.

The Hotshots play in the Washington Area Girls Soccer League, so Foltz finds herself playing in fields from Fredericksburg, Va., to Harford County, Md.

The league plays for nine weeks in the spring and nine weeks in the fall, said Tim Foltz, who is the Hotshots head coach.

She also plays on the Maryland District Developmental Team, a development program for youths who would like one day to play on the Olympic team.

Foltz would like to play professionally and aspires to making the Olympic team.

In addition to trying to win a Women's World Cup title, members of the U.S. team have been pushing for a professional women's soccer league.

"That'd be nice," said Foltz, who wants to earn a soccer scholarship from one of the area's colleges.

The U.S. Major League Soccer for men began in April 1996.

Foltz roots for the D.C. United in the men's league. Her favorite male players are the United's Jeff Agoos and John Harkes, who was traded from the United to the New England Revolution in February.

Although Foltz is a defender, her favorite two players on the U.S. women's team are Hamm and Cindy Parlow, whose uniform number is 12 like Foltz's.

Hamm is a forward and Parlow is a midfielder, playing both offense and defense at times.

Foltz isn't permitted to talk to players tonight, except to say "You're welcome," when players thank her for giving them a ball.

She got autographs from Hamm and Tiffany Roberts when she saw the team play China at Hershey Stadium on April 22.

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