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Goal Oriented: Marin’s new women’s soccer league [The Pacific Sun]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
The Pacific Sun
July 12, 1984

The sun was slipping behind Mt. Tamalpais when Judi Shils started her sprint down the grassy field at the Corte Madera Park. In yellow shorts, a Sylvester T-shirt and brand new Adidas cleats, she trapped the ball in midfield after receiving a pass from her teammate then kicked it toward the goal.

With no one blocking her way, she nudged the ball forward and Wham! She sent it home. It was the first soccer goal she scored in her life.

“That was so cool,” says the 37-year-old television producer. “All I remember is coming down the field and seeing that goal clear. I just kicked and there it was. Everyone went nuts and that was the best part.”

Shils is one of 40 women who turn out every Tuesday from 6:30 to 8 p.m. to participate in the Marin County Women’s Soccer League.

The local league started in April, thanks to the organization and energy of Marin soccer coach Dave Fromer, who has been coaching children’s leagues for years. He wanted to offer the game to those dedicated people who sit on the sidelines and cheer on the kids-their moms and other Marin women.

“Too often women think of soccer as a strange sport they couldn’t possibly play,” says Fromer, 52. “It makes me sad to realize they don’t even think of soccer as an option. I want it to be more than an option. I want soccer to become a passion for women.”

Fromer’s enthusiasm is contagious, says Shils. She was hooked as soon as she saw her daughter Erin, 3, laughing and kicking her way down the field. “I knew that I wanted to play, too.”

Corrine Grant was also inspired by the excitement. Her three kids attended Fromer’s class, and Grant said she was tired of just cheering on the sidelines.

“Now my kids come out and cheer me on,” says Grant, 36, brushing the sweat from her brow during a brief break in the Tuesday night action. “I love coming out to play. It’s great exercise and it gives me a chance to meet and hang out with other women in the community.”

Teammate Roz Cobb had another goal. Sure, the 45-year-old psychotherapist enjoys bonding with other Marin women. But she coaches her daughter’s 12-and-under soccer team in Ross Valley and needed a few pointers from Fromer—an All-American player in college.
A whistle blows and Cobb gets her chance.

“The main thing is to pass and move immediately,” says Fromer, who is dribbling the ball in his stocking feet. “Keep it moving. Keep it moving.” The ball is passed to Cobb. She sends it to Anna Kenworthy who fumbles the ball a little.

Kenworthy, 38, just laughs. “I’m glad this is a beginner team,” admits the assistant director of nursing at Laguna Honda Hospital in San Francisco. “After a few minutes on the field I felt right at home. I have never cracked up so much while I was playing a sport.”

“You’re doing great, Mom,” says Brenna, Kenworthy’s 11-year-old daughter. “Sometimes I get to go out on the field and play with them a little. I really like that. Only they kick harder than my friends.”

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"I get by with a little help from my friends," says Hope, who gives special thanks to:

• MICHAEL GIBBS, website illustration and design: www.michaelgibbs.com
• MAX KUKOY, website development: www.maxwebworks.com
• STEVE BARRETT, portrait of Hope on Bio page: www.stevebarrettphotography.com

Contact HOPE KATZ GIBBS by phone [703-346-6975] or email.

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