Howard soccer coach Lincoln Phillips said, "We'll be trying to win but it's no big deal." Maryland coach Jim Dietsch said, "Sure, we'll be trying to win, but we've got to prepare for the season, too."
The subject was Saturday's Columbia Soccer Tournament, which will be held at the Oakland Mills High School stadium. Six teams - three college and three clubs squads - will take part in round-robin play starting at noon. Each game will be 30 minutes long with no halftime break, so that a winner will be produced in one long afternoon of soccer.
The most interesting matchup will be between Maryland and Howard. The two teams are not scheduled to meet again this year. In 1975, their regular-season game ended in a fight. Last year, they met in the opening round of the NCAA playoffs, with Howard winning a round contest, 3-1.
The two have been teamed in a grouping with the Baltimore Kickers. In the other grouping, American U., which lost to Maryland, 2-1 last year, takes on the Columbia Soccer Club and the Middletown Soccer Club.
Howard and Maryland will clash at past once and could meet a second time, in the final. After the teams in each group have played one another, the first two from each group will advance to the semifinals. There the [WORD ILLEGIBLE]; 1 team in one group will play [WORD ILLEGIBLE], 2 team in the other, with the winners meeting in the final.
"I'm not surprised they put us in the same group with Howard," Dietsch said. "That way, they know we'll play at least once.
"We will have only been working out for a week at that point and I'm going to be playing a lot of my question on marks to see who I'm going to sleep on the squad. But we'll certainly be trying to win."
It is unlikely that any of Dietsch's question marks will see much action against Howard. "We play Maryland the same as any other team," Phillips insisted. "We won't change our style. We'll just be trying to win. But the most important thing is to find out where we need work."
The idea for the tournament came from Bill Novelli and several other members of the Columbia Youth Soccer Organization. They saw it as a way to expose the youngsters to good soccer and get their club team - Columbia Soccer Club - involved with good competition.
Danny Byers, a freshman starter for American is a product of the Columbia program. American will face both Howard and Maryland this season.
"In a 90-minute game, I think the conditioning of the college clubs would wear the club teams down," Novelli said. "But in a 30-minute game, it could be different. It will be interesting to see what happens if the clubs decide to play defensively."