The Thornton Academy boys soccer team made history in 2017, reaching the Class A South semifinals for the first time in school history.

A new group of leaders took over this fall, which included newcomer Frank Vondrak.

Vondrak, who is from the Czech Republic, began his TA career this season, and was immediately thrusted into the starting role at midfield for the Trojans. He quickly became one of the top two-way players and facilitators in the state, garnering the attention and respect of every team he faced.

Vondrak was happy to carve out a role for himself early in the year, and appreciated the way the Trojans welcomed him with open arms.

“It was very good. My teammates were very nice and I felt comfortable at the first practice which was important to me,” said Vondrak. “You get good results when the team is comfortable with each other and the season was great. We made it to the semifinals which was really good for us. No team from TA has accomplished that before.”

Things were not always easy for the Trojans, who began the year at 1-3. Despite the rocky start, TA pulled things together and went 7-2-1 down the stretch of the regular season to lock up the No. 8 seed. TA would go on to knock out Marshwood in the prelims, then beat undefeated South Portland on penalty kicks in the quarters. The Red Riots shut out TA 3-0 during the regular season. 

Vondrak felt that the turnaround was thanks to team chemistry, as well as a heightened focus on defense.

“We just knew each other better and we began to know what position the guys could play at. We started playing more defensively in the second half of the season which helped us accomplish that,” said Vondrak.

Vondrak also relished the opportunity to play in a new environment, and enjoyed his time playing in front of some big crowds in the playoffs.

“Here, the level of soccer isn’t that high, but every single match was really hard and really exciting. I liked that a lot,” said Vondrak.

Looking toward 2018, Vondrak will be the Trojans top returner. Vondrak hopes to finish his high school career strong and add to his game as he begins preparing for playing at the collegiate level.

“I would love to go to college here after next year which is a big goal for me. As a team, we have a couple of good seniors that graduated but we will still be a good team,” said Vondrak. “I can get even better, it’s going to be great. Everyone can get better.”

JT 2017 BOYS SOCCER ALL-STARS

MVP: Frank Vondrak (TA)

Rookie of the Year: Quin Battagliese (Kennebunk)

All-Stars

Brogan Searle-Belanger (TA)

Chase Pierce (TA)

Kevin Voter (Sanford)

Gavyn Moyer (Sanford)

Tristan Wirth (Kennebunk)

Ian Zogg (Kennebunk)

Tom Zubb (Kennebunk)

James Davenport (Massabesic)

Max Irons (Massabesic)

Josh Castonguay (Massabesic)

Andrew Plante (Biddeford)

Liam Bell (Wells)

Charlie Clough (Wells)


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