Andrew Carlson admits coaching a team in search of its first win had its difficult moments. But, he explained, this season has been a lesson in reality for the Thornton Academy boys’ soccer team.

“We say that success is the end goal and the process is the more important thing,” said Carlson, who is in his 11th year as head coach of the Trojans.

“It takes a different mentality and a certain kind of coaching style, and sometimes it’s more realistic. We tell the guys, you can’t get too up or too down. That’s what life is like.”

After finishing last season 2-12, the Trojans finally got their first win this season when they beat Biddeford 4-0 on Tuesday.

“This is the second year in a row we’ve struggled,” said Carlson, whose team is in the midst of its second losing season after finishing with the fourth seed in the 2008 Western Class A playoffs. “We’ve hit a difficult time here and it’s a challenge to keep the guys’ heads up.”

The Trojans (1-8-1) scored eight goals in their first nine games, including a 2-2 tie Sept. 28 against Noble, and have been shut out four times.

“I’ve gone through every possible after-defeat speech,” Carlson said.

“We’re honest about our assessment and we’ve had to temper some of the observations to be more positive and more supportive because the guys are doing the best they can and the results aren’t there.”

The Trojans aren’t alone while struggling through the first month of the season. Biddeford has lost its first nine games in Western Class A and Wells was 0-9 in Western Class B.

Other schools opened with long winless streaks: Jay was 0-7-1 in Western Class C; Chop Point 0-6 and Valley 0-8 in Western Class D; Cony 0-8-1 and Skowhegan 0-9 in Eastern Class A; Mattanawcook 0-9 in Eastern Class B; and Ashland 0-10, Acadia Christian 0-4 and East Grand 0-6 in Eastern Class D.

Carlson explained that at Thornton, there’s a certain way to handle a delicate situation, especially in an environment where there’s constant athletic success: Thornton’s football team is 4-1, its girls’ soccer team 7-2 and its field hockey team 7-3-1.

But, he said, the athletic department and the parents have been supportive of the program.

“We wouldn’t be working through the process in such a positive way if it wasn’t for the support of the athletic department,” Carlson said.

“The parents have been extremely supportive and we’re lucky to have that.”

Four games remain in the regular season, yet there’s hope for the future at Thornton, as well: The freshman team began the week 10-1.

“That adds some energy for the program,” Carlson said.

 

AFTER CAPE ELIZABETH opened the season unbeaten in eight games, Gray-New Gloucester handed the Capers their first loss last Thursday.

Jack Martell and Ian Martell scored a pair of second-half goals to lift the Patriots to a 2-1 win, which continued a turnaround of sorts after they opened with losses to Greely, York and Yarmouth before winning six of their last eight games after Tuesday’s 4-3 loss to Western Class C Waynflete.

 

Staff Writer Rachel Lenzi can be reached at 791-6415 or at: [email protected]