Perhaps the best tribute to Gorham junior Andrew Rent, who led the Rams into the Class A state championship game, came from the goalie who opposed him in that final, Dido Lumu of Lewiston.

After the Blue Devils secured a 1-0 victory and their second straight state title, he spoke of his only fear in the game.

“Seeing Rent with the ball was scary,” Lumu said. “Whenever he had the ball, I had to be ready, be set.”

A starter since entering high school, Rent has gradually moved up the field. He played left back as a freshman, midfield as a sophomore and more of a forward as a junior because Gorham needed him on offense. He finished with 16 goals and nine assists. The Rams (16-1-1) scored four playoff goals in four games. Rent was directly responsible for three of them – including the overtime winner in the quarterfinals against No. 8 Scarborough – and set up the other – the only goal of a 1-0 victory over Portland in the regional final.

Rent is our choice as Maine Sunday Telegram Player of the Year in boys’ soccer.

“Last year he was more of a true midfielder for us because we had players up front who were a little more experienced and could score,” said Gorham Coach Tim King. “This year we asked him to do more of the scoring. He did less playmaking, which is probably more of his comfort level.”

On his Global Premier Soccer club team, Rent plays center back.

“He’s just able to flip that switch for us,” said King, noting that Rent was voted Offensive Player of the Year in the SMAA. “He’s a very talented, all-around player.”

Rent and Bilal Hersi, who led Lewiston with 22 goals and set up Suab Nur for the championship goal, were the only two boys in the state accorded All-American status by the Maine Soccer Coaches Association. Yarmouth senior Eric LaBrie, selected as All-Region by the MSCA and a member of three Class B state championship teams, also drew consideration for Player of the Year.

Rent earned the nod partly for leading Gorham back to the state title game for the second time in three years and partly because the Rams were so heavily reliant on him.

“He’s always on the part of the field where he’s needed most,” said Falmouth Coach Dave Halligan. “He makes everybody around him better, including the opponent. Gorham would not have been as successful as they were this year without his presence on the field.”

Opponents often assigned a defender to shadow Rent, no matter which team was in possession of the ball.

“Even with all the attention on him, he would always seem to be in the right place at the right time,” said Cheverus Coach Matt Andreasen. “He could influence the game in so many different ways.”

Rent is headed to a showcase event in Florida later this month and, unlike last year, will focus on soccer this winter instead of playing basketball. He does plan to return to the tennis courts this spring, however. He and soccer teammate Brady King play doubles.

Rent, who is quiet and reserved off the field, said his biggest challenge this fall wasn’t making the transition to offense. Hey, it’s fun to score goals.

“Just embracing my role as the leader this year,” he said. “My first two years we had a strong senior group that led us and I could just sort of do as I pleased. This year I had to step up and lead more vocally.”

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or

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