Midfielder Colin Lubeltzyk was, quite simply, sick of losing.

For the last four years his Maine Coast United soccer team lost in the Maine State Cup final to their rivals from Seacoast United.

This year, as under-18s, they finally won. They will be one of 14 teams that will represent Maine at the U.S. Youth Soccer Region I Championships in West Virginia July 1-6, following Sunday’s completion of the Maine State Cup.

“It felt great to finally win,” said Lubeltzyk, who also plays for Gorham High. “We had some strong additions to our team and knew we were poised to do well. It was great to get that monkey off our back.”

Five of the 14 teams are from Maine Coast United, four are from Seacoast United, three from Blackbear United and one team each from the clubs Velocity SC and Maine Metro FC.

Boys and girls teams in the under-12, under-13 and under-14 age groups finished up play Sunday night — some after waiting out significant thunderstorms.

“They played through it. It was grueling,” said Soccer Maine Executive Director Charles Fischman. “One game didn’t finish up until 10:15 p.m.”

No Maine team has ever won at the Region I championships, including the years 2007 and 2008 when Maine hosted the tournament.

Only three teams in history have advanced out of group play.

“All Maine teams are going in as underdogs. We’re a fraction of the size of other states,” said Fischman. “But the coaching in Maine has been improving. The teams are better prepared.”

Lubeltzyk plays for Scott Gillespie. The team qualified to play in the Region I Premiere League this spring, in addition to playing in the New England Premiership.

Part of the team’s success was assured when Gillespie absorbed some players after Seacoast United Thunder disbanded at the conclusion of last season. Six went on to play in New Hampshire, four went off to college, and three joined Maine Coast United.

“For a lot of these kids it’s really a great feeling to win that state cup and go represent Maine,” said Gillespie.

One is Ben Brewster, a senior at Cape Elizabeth, who will be preparing for the Region I tournament while fighting for a state title in Class B lacrosse for the Capers.

Brewster had played in the Region I tourney as a member of Seacoast United for five seasons, before joining Maine Coast this spring.

“This is a completely different team, but a great group of guys,” said Brewster. “I think if we play well, which we’ve been doing, we have a good chance.”

It will also be the team’s last season playing youth soccer together. Fourteen of the 18 players will be playing in college next year.

“It’s kind of one final hurrah,” said Lubeltzyk. “It’s our last year together. Our last year to make an impact for Maine soccer.”

The under-15 girls for Seacoast United will be looking to gain from the experience.

“It really depends on the draw you get,” said U-15 girls coach Paul Cameron. “We’re really looking forward to going down there and being part of a great tournament.”

 

Staff Writer Jenn Menendez can be contacted at 791-6426 or at: [email protected]