ORONO – After a handful of transfers and graduations, the University of Maine soccer team is not quite in rebuild mode. With that said, there are plenty of spots up for grabs, and that may be just the motivating factor the squad needs.
“It leaves everybody feeling like they have an opportunity,” head coach Scott Atherley said Friday.
And it appears everyone is looking to grab the proverbial brass ring.
“You see personalities emerge, players that maybe last year were relying on others to do their work. It’s been really exciting to see how people have taken the responsibility to step up. And that’s very evident so far,” he said.
While several upperclassmen remain in the picture, it’s the underclassmen that may be some excitement to the program. Maine brings in five freshmen to the fold, including former Camden Hills standout Charlotte Messer. Messer sees a chance to shine on a team that is revamping its offense, and is embracing the challenges ahead.
“It definitely appeals to me in a positive way, because coming off a good high school team, I wanted to continue in a competitive program and make a difference in the state,” she said. “So I think it really appeals to me, and being from Maine as well.”
Many of the veteran players, including senior Kendra Ridley, have in turn embraced their role in grooming these freshmen, recognizing their importance to the program.
“My biggest role is to just get everyone integrated into the team,” Ridley said. “We do have a lot of young players so just helping them really fill those holes that just need to be filled.”
The Black Bears were picked to finish sixth in America East this season, but the conference is littered with parity. That means the door is wide open to impress, and even a freshman like Messer understands that.
“It gives us all the motivation in the world honestly, since it can go either way. Just put everything out there.”