Soccer tournament helps teens go to camp

May 23, 2009|By MARIE GILBERT

HAGERSTOWN -- Twenty-five years ago, soccer was a sport trying to get a foothold in the United States.

That didn't stop Rich Daughtridge from setting up a soccer goal in his Hagerstown backyard, where, as a youngster, he practiced the game's fundamentals every day.

While his friends were playing other sports, Daughtridge wanted to play soccer.

"I don't think I was ever ridiculed," he recalled. "But even if I was, I didn't care. I loved soccer."

Daughtridge was back on the field Saturday, joined by hundreds of other players who participated in the first Rich Daughtridge/Young Life 4v4 Soccer Tournament at Fairgrounds Park in Hagerstown.

Debby Fiola, Young Life 4v4 coordinator, said the tournament featured 10 divisions for children, as well as adults.

"The adults are very competitive," she said. "They came out to play for bragging rights."

Fiola said the tournament was designed for four players to compete at a time against four opponents. Because of the small field size, there was some modification of the rules.


Participants included high school coaches, local club members, and high school and college soccer players, as well as people who never have played organized soccer, Fiola said.

The all-day event was a fundraiser to send local Young Life teenagers to a summer camp in Virginia.

Young Life is a nondenominational, international Christian organization committed to affecting the lives of youths and preparing them for the future.

In Washington County, the group is active in area high schools and one middle school and has more than 250 members.

While attending Smithsburg High School, Daughtridge said he became involved with Young Life and continues to support the organization's message.

"As a student, I became a member because of the Christian atmosphere -- learning good ethics and good morals," he said. "I still believe strongly in the cause. It's a great organization that offers hope for youth in today's world."

Daughtridge was named to the all-state first team when he played soccer at Smithsburg High School. He then played college soccer at Virginia Military Institute, where he became the school's all-time leading scorer.

After college, Daughtridge played professional outdoor soccer for the Hampton Roads Mariners and the Charlotte Eagles and also coached soccer for Washington and Lee University.

In 2000, he began a professional indoor soccer career with the Baltimore Blast, where he played until 2006, winning three championships.

Following his retirement from professional soccer, Daughtridge returned to Washington County to raise a family and put his business and economics degree to work. He is the co-founder of High Rock Studios, a Web design and development firm in Hagerstown.

Daughtridge also sponsors soccer camps and encourages young people to take up the sport.

Fiola said businesses and individuals who are interested in making a donation to send teens to camp may go to the Young Life Web site at

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