Boys' soccer: 10 teams to watch in southern Maine
Sep. 1—1. Yarmouth: Coach Mike Hagerty's team is ranked No. 15 in the United Soccer Coaches national preseason poll and No. 2 in New England. The two-time defending Class B champs are winners of 10 state titles in 18 years. The Clippers return several strong players from their 17-0-2 squad last fall and are coming off a successful summer of competitive action. Senior Liam Hickey will lead the team from the back line, Truman Peters is a dangerous scorer, and Stevie Walsh is a big-game performer, both in soccer and basketball. Juniors Adam McLaughlin (midfield) and Jon Fulton (defense) are two more returning starters.
2. Deering: The Rams return eight starters from a 9-5-1 team that has plenty of motivation. Deering was upset in the round of 16 by No. 11 Bonny Eagle a year ago. This summer, would-be senior Pedro Matala died in a swimming accident. "We want to pay tribute to our beloved fallen teammate," said Deering's longtime coach, Joel Costigan. The Rams have size, speed and strength across the field, and experience with 12 seniors. Central midfielders Adilson Vidal and Patricio Mowa, leading scorer Jeannot Ndayishimiye and assists leader Chandrel Mangele Laza are all offensive threats. Celda Mouckala, a Maine Soccer Coaches Southern Maine all-star, and Alberto Lucas-Bataya make a big, formidable defensive pair.
3. Brunswick: Last year's Class A North champions return plenty of top-tier talent and will be helped greatly by the presence of senior midfielder Jack Banks, who was hurt most of 2021. Iain Clendening, the KVAC Player of the Year in 2021, leading returning scorer Luke Patterson and midfielder David Nzuzi are proven scorers. With seniors Brady LaForge (goalie) and Luke Vazdauskas returning to lead the defense, Brunswick is once again a serious threat to get past perennial Class A North favorite Lewiston and Camden Hills and reach the state championship game.
4. Scarborough: The Red Storm will look different without 2021 Maine Soccer Coaches All-American Zander Haskell, who scored 21 goals and had 11 assists. Haskell transferred to Bridgton Academy. But veteran coach Mark Diaz returns a strong defense, led by Maine Soccer Coaches South all-star center back Noah Flagg, returning goalie Nick Ouellette and back Parker Killiard. The scoring will be spread around more by necessity. Strikers Will Fallona and junior Kilson Joao are experienced players, as are senior midfielders Ashton Blanchette and Jack Moreau.
5. Waynflete: The Flyers are the three-time defending Class C champions and annually prove they could punch above their class with a strong schedule. They will play, arguably, the five top teams in B South, with games against Yarmouth, Greely, Cape Elizabeth, Freeport and York. With eight starters back and the addition of former Philadelphia Union Development Academy player Myles Culley, Waynflete is ranked No. 15 in the United Soccer Coaches preseason New England poll. Center back Matt Adey and center midfielder Roan Hopkins are four-year varsity players, returning all-Western Maine Conference picks and skilled defenders. The Flyers also return junior goalie Nico Kirby, a three-sport athlete.
6. South Portland: The Red Riots are usually a stout defensive team under Coach Bryan Hoy and could be again despite an all-new back line. It helps that senior goalie Thomas Caouette (11 shutouts) returns. Two newcomers — Mechack Agawa, a junior, and senior Jose Julio — should bolster the defense along with 2021 reserves senior Jake Udomsay and senior Drew Folley. Up top, Divin Mpinga is as good as it gets in Class A South when it comes to a threat on offense, and senior Joey Hanlon and junior Curtis Metcalf can provide relief. The passing of midfielders Jack Dreifus, junior CJ Marenghi and Griffin Tetzlaff will help set the table.
7. Marshwood: Coming off the school's first Class A state championship, the Hawks return just four starters, but that group includes three proven scorers in striker Wyatt Yager (15 goals, 12 assists), wing Rowan Carter (6 goals, 6 assists) and forward Declan Fitzgerald. Carter, the fastest non-senior in the Class A outdoor 100 meters last spring, is nearly as speedy moving the soccer ball as he is on the track. Jason Singer, the one returning starter in the back, is a terrific one-on-one defender and a good distributor. How quickly the revamped midfield, expected to be led by James Melino and Milo Clossun, takes shape will determine if Marshwood can remain a top-four team in a tough Class A South.
8. Greely: The Rangers graduated eight seniors but return their top two scorers in Ethan Njitoh and Tommy Bennert, both of whom scored 10 goals as juniors. A mix of returners stepping into bigger roles, transfers and players back from injury should keep Greely in the mix for a deep playoff run in Class B. Veteran Coach Mike Andreasen thinks senior Tyler Piesik and his sophomore brother, Owen, are ready for expanded roles after being key reserves last year. Tate Nadeau is the other returning starter, and he'll get help in the midfield from transfer Keegan Hale. Seniors Sean Marley-Rawbira (another transfer), Alex Gamache and Nick Theodores (injured in 2021) will key the defense.
9. Cape Elizabeth: Cape Elizabeth finished 11-6-1 last season, losing 2-1 to Yarmouth in the Class B South final. Sam Cochran, a junior two-way midfielder, is a skilled and dangerous player. A strong senior group includes four-year varsity players Jack Carignan (midfield) and Eddie Caldera. Look for junior Grant Kelley, sophomore Tully Haydar and seniors Sebastian Moon and Caldera to key a multi-pronged offense. Senior Dimitri Coupe and junior Raef Curran provide two strong goalkeeping options. Alex van Huystee, Phil Coupe and Nate Patterson are top defenders, while Keegan Lathrop can play anywhere from defense to forward and be effective.
10. Portland: The Bulldogs return 14 players with experience from a 10-6 team that lost to No. 1 seed Windham in the South quarterfinals. Senior captains Oliver Hettenbach and Nicky Paterniti (5 goals, 11 assists in 2021) lead the defensive and midfield groups, respectively. A veteran defense that includes junior captain Ford Myers and seniors Ben DiYenno, Aidan Perez, Jack Fink and Finn Todd will try to keep the box clean for senior keeper Ben Littell. Joining Paterniti in what could be a formidable midfield are junior captain Martin Kalala, Charlie Howe and Max Kierstead. If Kosta Nedeljkovic, Brady Toher and sophomore Francisco Samuel can score often enough, Portland can finish ahead of other strong programs such as Gorham and Windham, both of which suffered significant graduation losses.