14-year-old Aldie girl has skills for sports, business
-School: Mercer Middle
-Favorite position: Football quarterback
-Passing distance: 83 feet, 4 inches
-Other sports: Basketball; Soccer
-Business venture: Kar-D-O Sportswear
-Favorite charity: VETSports
In January, a 14-year-old quarterback from Aldie was selected as the Player Of the Year for Dulles South Youth Sports, the largest such organization in the metropolitan Washington region.
This is the same quarterback who, despite learning the sport only recently, captained the Dulles South Eagles to the league's championship game.
Here's a rising young athlete barely a year removed from winning the Championship Competition of the NFL's Punt, Pass & Kick challenge on the home field of the Washington Redskins.
She must be pretty good.
Karlie Harman feels she was born to compete. The nearly lifelong Loudouner has played basketball since age 5, and soccer for almost as long. She has logged several years on the pitch with the Old Dominion Soccer Club, and plays hoops for the Western Fairfax Mustangs in the Amateur Athletic Union.
A decade ago, her first coach on the hardwood was former Washington Bullets center Gheorghe Muresan. A month ago, she met Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Mike Glennon at the Northern Virginia Football Hall of Fame, while accepting her Player Of the Year award.
"I was swimming without floaties at 2 and riding a two-wheel bike at 3," she stated. "I've always been self-motivated. I like to reach goals and create new goals."
Football is Harman's latest athletic foray. Though she wasn't schooled in the game's particulars, she's always had an affinity for gridiron.
"Any time there was a football around, I would pick it up and pass with whoever wanted to. I could do it for hours," Harman recalled. "Other dads in the neighborhood couldn't believe my arm!"
Her right arm helped her become the eighth-ranked player nationally in the 2012 Punt, Pass & Kick competition. Her footspeed helped her Eagles rise through the 130-pound youth season. When not playing quarterback, she played safety and kicker.
"I like calling a play and having it unfold exactly as planned. I like making sure my passes are accurate. I like celebrating a win as a team," she said.
Months away from embarking on her high school career athletically and academically, the precocious girl recently has begun to tackle another challenge: starting and running her own business.
A fitness fiend with a daily cardiovascular regimen, Harman saw a market for workout outfits geared toward young female athletes and active adult women. Upon turning 14, in lieu of seeking a retail job to fit around her busy schedule, she decided to start her own company.
Kar-D-O By Karlie is a new sportswear firm specializing in distinctive fitness apparel for women, each piece affixed with the entrepreneur's self-designed logo. Sales for the month-old enterprise have been promisingly brisk, and future expansion is already on the owner's mind.
The company's website proclaims that "a portion of all sales will go to VETSports...which helps wounded veterans continue to be achievers in the athletic world." Harman got connected with that nonprofit entity when participating in a football game sponsored by the Wounded Warriors Project.
"I truly feel honored to help them out," she stated. "They are the real winners."
An aspiring Division I collegiate athlete with dreams of Women's National Basketball Association stardom, she plans on playing basketball and soccer when her high school career begins next fall. Maybe football, too.
"I may try to be a kicker, if the school needs one," she said. "High school football isn't weight-regulated and I don't think it would be wise to risk injury for my true sport of basketball."
Meantime, she expects her entrepreneurial endeavor to keep progressing, and her penchant for philanthropy to keep growing. And perhaps she will bring her physical gifts soon to a football field near you.