John Murphy planned to finish his senior year at Bates College playing both soccer and basketball.
He just didn’t think he’d end up doing both at the same time.
From Jan. 8-10, Murphy, a Yarmouth High graduate, will be skipping out on the basketball team to attend the InfoSports 13th annual Pro Soccer Combine at the Premier Sports Campus near Bradenton, Fla.
The camp has a deep evaluation and coaching staff that includes representatives from nine of the 19 Major League Soccer teams, as well as coaches and scouts from both the USL Pro and NASL leagues.
Bates soccer coach Stewart Flaherty said InfoSports has led directly to professional opportunities for former NESCAC players. Murphy is the first player from Bates to be accepted for a tryout.
“It was definitely a thing I wanted to do if I got the opportunity to try,” Murphy said of pursuing professional opportunities.
Murphy and Flaherty said the senior midfielder’s brief four-game stint last summer with the Portland Phoenix of the Professional Development League helped to get Murphy noticed. He had two assists.
Being named all-NESCAC second-team forward as a junior also helped. This year Murphy was a second-team pick as a midfielder.
“It’s a strong, deep league,” Flaherty said. “Being named all-NESCAC as a junior would have put him on somebody’s radar.”
This season Bates finished 4-8-2 overall and last in the NESCAC with a 1-7-2 record. Murphy scored twice in the lone league win, 2-0 against then-No. 1 Middlebury.
“I do know that the program is going in the right direction,” Murphy said of Bates soccer. “We were in every game and there were times in the past where we had no chance. I feel good knowing that things are going in the right direction.”
For now he’s playing basketball. His aspirations in that game are more modest, though he was a standout player at Yarmouth.
Murphy tried out for the team at Bates as a freshman and was cut. He didn’t attempt to make the squad as a sophomore but found he missed his second sport.
“Soccer’s such a short season. You play two months and then you’re really on your own,” Murphy said. “I was missing basketball and I decided to give it a full tryout and Coach (Jon Furbush) was encouraging me to try out and I ended up making it last year.”
Murphy played in six games as a junior as Bates went 13-13. This year he’s hoping to contribute more.
“My role is to find an open space to knock down the open 3s,” said the 6-foot-1 Murphy. “In high school I had to be the one creating offense. Now it’s just letting the game come to me.”
When not hoisting shots, working out, and keeping his soccer skills sharp, Murphy will be finishing his senior economics thesis on the debt crisis in Greece.
Endicott College, which won the Commonwealth Coast Conference title before losing to Utica in the first round of the Division III tournament, got some key contributions from Mainers.
Senior Hannah Thornberg of Oakland (Messalonskee) set a career scoring record, as well as season records for goals (22) and points (51).
Senior Melissa Enright of York and sophomore Emily Sawchuck of Cumberland (Greely) tied for second on the team in points (29), scoring 13 and 11 goals, respectively. Sophomore defender Alyssa Clark of Gorham started every game, and added two goals and three assists.
TWO MAINERS were named to the all-NESCAC field hockey second team – Bowdoin senior Kassey Matoin, a defender from Sanford, and Colby midfielder Megan Fortier of Falmouth. Fortier led her team in goals (7), assists (6) and points (20), and had a team-high two game-winning goals.
Bentley freshman Michelle Giordano of Alfred (Cheverus) won the 500-yard freestyle in a dual meet with Gordon College. In Bentley’s first meet of the year, a win against LeMoyne, freshman Nicola Mancini of Falmouth won the 3-meter diving competition.
MATT PEARSON of Kennebunk, a sophomore at St. Michael’s, won the 50- and 100-yard breaststrokes, and also was part of a winning 200 medley relay — with sophomore Nathan Paluso of Windham — as St. Michael’s defeated Colby-Sawyer. Also helping the men’s team were senior Andrew Marshall of Kittery (St. Thomas Aquinas), who was on the winning 200 free relay.
SARAH KLOPP of Cape Elizabeth helped Husson snap a 13-meet losing streak to St. Joseph’s College with a win in the 50 free and a second in the 100 free. Other Mainers helping Husson were sophomores Megan Call of Levant (first, 100 breast) and Patience Wilson of Brewer (first, 100 fly).
St. Michael College’s freshman Catherine Tierney of Cape Elizabeth was one of the seven runners to compete in the NCAA East Regional championship. St. Michael’s placed 10th among 28 teams, its best finish since 2007.
Staff Writer Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or at: firstname.lastname@example.org