Ballou goalie Reginald Carter loves soccer and it is the sport he plays best.
"It comes natural to me," he said after a recent practice. "I worry about defense and the other guys don't worry about it until they come out for the game."
It appears he will get a chance to display his defensive skills because the Interhigh has put together a soccer league that will begin play immediately.
Five schools are scheduled to have teams this fall after several years in which the Interhigh soccer league has foundered.
Ballou, Bilingual, Coolidge, Spingarn and Wilson will field teams.
Spingarn, which dominated soccer in the early 1970s under Cecil McKenzie, hopes to field a team for the first time in nine years with Kenny Hairston coaching. McKinley is trying to make arrangments with former coach Wensworth Lovell, who teaches at Ballou, to direct the team.
Coolidge, which had a team last year, has indicated it will field one this season.
Bilingual, which along with Wilson is playing in the Independent League this fall, lost its first game to DeMatha, 5-0, and Ballou has already begun practice.
Wilson, which like Bilingual plays in the Independent League, will also participate in the Interhigh.
Ballou, according to Coach Clarence Taylor, has a protential all-Met player in Kendall Walker, who previously played on the junior national team in St. Vincent, West Indies.
Taylor has begun a self-appointed task of promoting Interhigh soccer. He has 13 players; last year, in a short period of time, he found 18 athletes who wanted to play.
According to Taylor, misconceptions and a general lack of knowledge about the sport by principals and athletic directors have hurt soccer in the Interhigh.
"Most principals aren't aware of soccer and most athletic directors don't push it," he said.
The main misconception is that a school needs quite a few foreign-born players to field a team and that inner-city youths don't care for the sport.
Of Ballou's 13 players, four are foreign-born. Carter was born and grew up in the District, which doesn't have many soccer clubs or leagues, yet has pockets of soccer interest.
"There's nothing wrong with soccer," said Michael Evans, who attends Eastern, which doesn't have a team. "Soccer keeps you in shape. There are plenty of boys who don't want to play basketball and football, but they play soccer."
Gerald Hawkins, an injured Eastern football player, said he would play soccer if it was switched to the spring, something soccer coaches have advocated.
Grant may be able to lure Anthony Cosby, Paul Jefferson and Chandra McGowan out for the Roosevelt team; each has expressed interest in playing. Even though he claimed to find the sport boring, James Holmes of H.D. Woodson said he would try out if the Warriors had a team.
Some girls have expressed interest in soccer as an extra sport to play during the fall. They have only cross country and volleyball now.
"It's not a bad way to get conditioning," said Frank Williams, Coolidge's basketball coach. "I would say there's some advantages in doing it. But I would leave it up to the players and they have to want to be out there (playing soccer)."
"You really have to cajole the students to come out," said Lovell, who coached Ballou to the title in 1979 and McKinley to several second-place finishes. "If they are willing to learn, I'm willing to teach them."
Tracy Manning, Donna Thomas and Helen Turner, who played on Eastern's Interhigh championship softball team, play at least three sports at the school and said they also wouldn't mind getting into soccer.