Ready for sum­mer soccer

Thomas Stone’s Roper with busy sched­ule ahead

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By TED BLACK tblack@somd­ Twit­ter: tblack­somds1

On the day that she ac­cepts her high school di­ploma, Thomas Stone High School se­nior Tabitha Roper will cel­e­brate her 18th birth­day and she was al­ready be­gin­ning mak­ing plans to con­tinue her soccer play­ing days this sum­mer and fall at Ship­pens­burg Col­lege in Penn­syl­va­nia.

Roper, who was twice se­lected to the All-South­ern Mary­land Ath­letic Con­fer­ence first team with the Cougars, has played with the Mary­land United Soccer U-18 team in var­i­ous tour­na­ments be­gin­ning with this week­end’s Mary­land State Cup at the Soc­cer­plex in Ger­man­town. She will then be­gin pre­par­ing for her play­ing days at Ship­pens­burg.

“I’m re­ally look­ing for­ward to grad­u­a­tion and then the Mary­land State Cup this week­end,” said Roper, who will grad­u­ate with a 4.5 GPA that was good for sev­enth in her class. “We had a good spring sea­son and now we’re prac­tic­ing for the State Cup. If we win on Satur­day, we’ll play for the cham­pi­onship on Sun­day.”

Dur­ing her play­ing days at Thomas Stone, Roper did not have the chance to play for a re­gion or state ti­tle, but her best friend, Drew An­der­son, a McDonough High School grad­u­ate come Satur­day who also plays for the same Mary­land United U-18 squad and will be join­ing Roper at Ship­pens­burg, played in the state semi­fi­nals as a ju­nior.

“It’s been great hav­ing Drew on the same Mary­land United team with me,” Roper said. “She’s my best friend and she’s a great team­mate. We played against each other a few times over the years in high school. They were al­ways com­pet­i­tive games and it was fun play­ing against her.”

Not only has Roper ex­celled on the soccer field dur­ing her days with Stone, she has also per­formed ad­mirably in the class­room. On Tues­day evening at the school’s an­nual awards cer­e­mony, Roper gar­nered plaques for fin­ish­ing in the top 10 in her aca­demic class, out­stand­ing stu­dent — busi­ness, and a merit schol­ar­ship.

“I was very for­tu­nate to get all of those awards,” Roper said. “I re­ally en­joyed my teach­ers at Thomas Stone and I got a lot of good coach­ing from my soccer coaches. I had the chance to play with some good play­ers, like Sarah Rut­ledge, who was an­other team cap­tain with me the last two years.”

Roper played cen­ter-mid­fielder and oc­ca­sion­ally at for­ward for Stone the last three sea­sons, but she net­ted 33 goals that in­cluded hat tricks against Lackey and St. Charles dur­ing her fi­nal two sea­sons with the Cougars. Roper plays pri­mar­ily a de­fen­sive role with Mary­land United, so she rel­ished in her scor­ing chances at Stone.

“I had a cou­ple of hat tricks play­ing for Stone,” Roper said. “I wasn’t too wor­ried about scor­ing many goals. I al­ways wanted to make sure my team­mates got in­volved. Some years I would run cross coun­try dur­ing the first cou­ple of meets just to help the team be able to score and it helped me get in shape for soccer. Then I played lacrosse as a fresh­man, but now I play club soccer all spring.”

Prior to head­ing to Ship­pens­burg, Roper will play one last club tour­na­ment with Mary­land United and then be­gin em­bark­ing on her sum­mer work­out sched­ule sent by the school. Roper will also work part-time this sum­mer to help her cover some mod­est ex­penses for school this fall, in­clud­ing books and other ameni­ties that in­com­ing fresh­men en­counter.

“I had one part-time job [at a lo­cal restau­rant], but I had to put in my two weeks there be­cause of all the grad­u­a­tion things that we’ve been do­ing,” Roper said. “But next week I’ll start work­ing an­other part-time job and start sav­ing up some money for school. I love the at­mos­phere and the coaches and the other girls at Ship­pens­burg and they have a turf field which I re­ally love.”


Thomas Stone High School’s Tabitha Roper, pic­tured here in two images don­ning soccer jer­seys at a youth and later as a mem­ber of the Cougars, will turn 18 to­day and play for Mary­land United ‘98 in the Mary­land State Cup this week­end and then head to Ship­pens­burg Univer­sity this fall.

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