FALMOUTH – While growing up, J.P. White played a lot of soccer with his older brother Sam in their backyard at the family home on Underwood Road.

“It helped a lot just playing in the yard with him all the time,” White said. “He was the best competition I could get. Playing against him was hard and I was always striving to get better.”

Playing soccer with his brother, who now plays for Bowdoin College, helped White develop a passion for the game.

“You can be so creative out there,” White said. “In other sports you have plays and everything is mapped out. In football and basketball, you have all your plays and stuff. In soccer you have set-piece plays, but other than that it’s kind of free and open, however you want to play it. I just love it.”

Because of his creativity, White, the Maine Sunday Telegram’s player of the year for boys’ soccer, helped Falmouth win Class B state titles three of the past four seasons.

“J.P. has been our quarterback,” Coach David Halligan said. “He could have been up front scoring a ton of goals, but he was more valuable to us being in the middle of the field making things happen.”

This past season, White had 12 goals and 12 assists, tops in Western Class B.

“Most teams when they played us had to come up with a game plan to stop him but they couldn’t because we could move him around,” Halligan said. “He was effective in the defensive midfield, the attacking midfield or as a forward. He can play anywhere. He just has the ability to see the whole field.”

White was especially dangerous when putting the ball in play on set pieces.

“He’s the type of player who makes difficult things look easy,” Halligan said. “A lot of kids take something easy and struggle, make it more difficult than it has to be. He’s so good that it looks simple when it isn’t, and he can do it under pressure when a lot of kids can’t.”

White, who can bend the ball in either direction on corner kicks, set up some goals by sending balls struck well beyond midfield onto the head of a teammate inside the penalty area more than 50 yards away.

“We do a lot of that stuff in practice, where we try to keep the ball just out of the keeper’s range,” he said. “It’s kind of knowing how far out you are, how much backspin you want to put on it and how much lift. If I go too low, it will pop up and be short. If I go too high, it will just flatten out, not go far enough.”

White intends to play next season at Division III Hobart College in Geneva, N.Y. 

Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:

pbetit@pressherald.com

Twitter: PaulBetitPPH