Ready for summer soccer
Thomas Stone’s Roper with busy schedule ahead
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.