Luke Groothoff’s impact on the soccer field cannot be easily gleaned from looking at a scoresheet or talking to the Yarmouth senior himself.

His stats (seven goals, eight assists) and personality are both too modest to speak for his talent, but Coach Mike Hagerty said it’s no coincidence that the Clippers have gone 49-3-2 since Groothoff joined the squad as a sophomore.

“Ironically, the two games he missed were a loss and a tie,” Hagerty said. “It’s a cliche to say the best players make everyone around them better, but he does that so effortlessly.”

Groothoff, a midfielder, helped lead the Clippers (18-0) to three Class B titles while becoming the first Yarmouth boy to be named an All-American. For his exceptional ability to see space and create opportunities for teammates, Groothoff is the Maine Sunday Telegram Player of the Year in boys’ soccer.

“He’s playing chess while everyone else is playing checkers,” Hagerty said of Groothoff’s style of play. “He’s always thinking two or three passes ahead and wants to give the ball to the player who he knows has an option beyond that.”

Eric LaBrie – a junior striker – benefited the most from Groothoff’s unique understanding of the game, scoring a team-high 26 goals.

LaBrie and Groothoff’s individual stats are not entirely representative because many of the top scorers played limited minutes in blowout wins. Yarmouth, which has won four consecutive state titles, won half its games this fall by five or more goals.

“Luke could have easily been our leading scorer had he wanted to be, but he knew that we had a great striker in Eric,” Hagerty said. “He realized what we needed and played a couple roles for us, but everything was right in the middle of the field. If we kept hockey assists – the pass that led to the assist – Luke would have led our team in those.”

Groothoff was the Maine Soccer Coaches Association’s Class B Player of the Year as well as an All-New England, All-State and All-Western Maine Conference selection. Of all his accomplishments, receiving the team’s Hagstrom Leadership Award is what means the most to him.

“I got it last year basically for stepping up into a leadership role, which I wasn’t necessarily comfortable with at the time,” Groothoff said. “As a junior and it just being my second year here and not knowing everyone, it was definitely a big leap for me.”

Hagerty, who said Groothoff was “as much like a point guard in basketball as any player I’ve ever had,” recalls the first time he saw Groothoff play. It was the summer of 2015, and Groothoff and his older brother, Jonathan, had just moved to Chebeague Island from Santa Rosa, California, with their family.

“They came to a summer game and didn’t say a word. They’re extremely polite,” Hagerty said of the Groothoff brothers, who are two years apart in age. “Then they knocked the ball between each other four or five times, and went through seven people and got a good shot on goal.”

Hagerty said he and his longtime assistant coach, Dale Wing, exchanged a look and laughed. “We smiled like we had just won the lottery with these two.”

Groothoff will follow in his brother’s footsteps and play at Messiah College – a Division III power in Pennsylvania that has won 11 national titles in 18 years, including this season. He turned down athletic scholarships from Division I schools such as New Hampshire and Vermont.

“I really enjoyed the program and the culture at Messiah a lot more, and I could definitely see myself fitting in well there,” Groothoff said. “It’s also nice to be able to play with my brother for two more years.”

Hagerty said that in his 21-year career at Yarmouth, Groothoff ranks among the top three players he has coached as well as “one of the most genuinely humble kids I’ve ever met.”

He recalled a recent conversation with Groothoff, who was preparing for an interview as a candidate for the college honors program at Messiah.

“I remember telling him, ‘You’re interviewing for an academic scholarship. You actually have to talk about how good you are,'” Hagerty said. “It’s kind of funny to have the best player in the state and encourage him to be less humble.”


Nate Arrants, Falmouth senior forward: Arrants had 14 goals and nine assists, earning All-Region recognition, as well as Maine Soccer Coaches Association All-South and first-team All-SMAA honors. He scored both goals in Falmouth’s 2-0 win over Deering in the Class A South quarterfinals.

Garth Berenyi, Bangor senior forward: The Maine Soccer Coaches Association’s Class A Player of the Year scored 32 goals to lead the Rams to the Class A North final. An All-American and All-Region selection, Berenyi scored his 57th career goal in Bangor’s 6-2 semifinal win over Mt. Blue to become the perennial powerhouse’s all-time leading scorer.

Quinn Clarke, Portland senior defender: The center back played a crucial role in the Bulldogs’ Class A South championship. In front of keeper Rowan Daligan (0.60 goals-against average), Clarke’s leadership and reliability on a team that allowed just 12 goals in 18 games earned him Maine Soccer Coaches Association All-South and first-team All-SMAA honors.

Charlie Cronin, South Portland senior midfielder: The SMAA Offensive Player of the Year was a dangerous offensive threat with exceptional ability to distribute the ball. Cronin’s 16 goals and nine assists helped the Red Riots make program history with their first undefeated regular season while earning him All-Region, Maine Soccer Coaches Association All-South and first team All-Conference honors.

Luke Groothoff, Yarmouth senior midfielder: As a star for the Class B state champions, Groothoff had an uncanny ability to see the field and create scoring opportunities. He’s the first Yarmouth boy to earn All-America honors. He also was the Maine Soccer Coaches Association Class B Player of the Year and an All-Region, All-State and All-Western Maine Conference selection.

Riley Hasson, South Portland senior goalkeeper: The SMAA Defensive Player of the Year and a Maine Soccer Coaches Association All-South pick, Hasson notched 12 shutouts while allowing just three goals in 15 games.

Bilal Hersi, Lewiston sophomore forward: A top offensive threat for the Class A champions, Hersi scored 20 goals, and had a goal and an assist in Lewiston’s 2-1 victory over Bangor in the North final. The Maine Soccer Coaches Association All-North and first-team All-KVAC selection is the youngest player this season to win All-Region honors.

Kyle King, Gorham senior forward: The All-Region and first-team All-SMAA pick led the SMAA in scoring with 24 goals, finishing his career with 41. He scored the winner in the Class A South semifinal victory over Falmouth.

Eric LaBrie, Yarmouth junior forward: Despite reduced playing time in blowout wins, LaBrie had 26 goals and 11 assists. The All-Region and All-WMC pick is incredibly fast and can finish with either foot. He assisted on the winning goal after notching a goal of his own in the Clippers’ 2-1 win over Winslow in the Class B state final.

Hazael Tshituka, Greely senior forward: A Deering High transfer who hails from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tshituka emerged as a game-changer for a young team that graduated nine starters from 2016. The Maine Soccer Coaches Association All-South and All-WMC selection had 14 goals and two assists.

Mike Wildes, Winslow senior defender: The four-year starting back had 15 goals and 24 assists over his career with the Raiders, and was an All-Region, Maine Soccer Coaches Association All-North and KVAC Class B selection. Wildes played a pivotal role in Winslow’s back-to-back state final appearances, anchoring a defense that allowed just 13 goals in 19 games.


Rocco Frenzilli, Portland: The Bulldogs won their third regional title before falling just short of their first state championship, losing to Lewiston 1-0 in overtime in the Class A final. A Portland native, Frenzilli helped start the Bulldogs’ program in the 1970s and has coached the boys’ team for more than 30 years. He was named Southern Maine Coach of the Year by the Maine Soccer Coaches Association.