(Ed. Note: With high school sports currently on hiatus, please join me in a look back at some of the finest teams our coverage area has produced this century. To help us get through the summer, each week, I’ll present the top 10 teams from a different sport…four honorable mentions, then our “Super Six,” These rankings are put together with help from coaches and others, including a Twitter poll each week at twitter.com/foresports, but the final decision is mine. This week it’s boys’ soccer. Girls’ soccer is on deck…)

Boys’ soccer excellence has been a constant in Forecaster Country for decades. Some of the best players to suit up have dazzled locally and there’s been no shortage of dominant, championship teams.

Limiting this list to 10 teams was a challenge. Easily 20 or more could have made the cut. Many listed below could argue that they should be even higher on the list.

That just goes to show how good the soccer has been over the years.

And remains.

Without further adieu, here’s one writer’s stab at the finest squads we’ve seen over the past 20 years:

Honorable mentions (in chronological order)

Greely Rangers, 15-3-1, 2007 Class A state champion

File photos

Longtime Greely coach Mike Andreasen calls this his best team and sure enough, the Rangers lived up to lofty preseason predictions and captured the Class A crown after passing several postseason tests.

The core of the 2007 squad had just missed qualifying for a national tournament the summer before the season as members of a premier team and as a result, Greely was viewed as the team to beat in Class A, but of course the Rangers’ schedule (two games apiece versus eventual Class B champion Falmouth and traditional rivals Cape Elizabeth and Yarmouth) did them no favors. Greely, anchored by a stellar defense featuring Kevin Hart and All-State and All-American goalkeeper Oliver Blum (who was also named Maine’s Gatorade Player of the Year), won 10 games, but would stumble twice versus the Yachtsmen, split with the Clippers and tie the Capers and wind up a modest 10-3-1, good for the just the No. 5 seed in Western Class A, but the Rangers met every challenge in a gauntlet of a regional tournament.

Greely had to host a prelim, but blanked Windham, 1-0, as All-Stater Steven Chase converted a first half penalty kick. In the quarterfinals, at Cape Elizabeth, the Rangers avenged a playoff upset from the year before, as Chase, Dan Hawkins and Eric Thompson all scored for a 3-0 victory. The semifinal round, at top-ranked Scarborough, provided the most angst. Ryan Burnham gave Greely an early lead, but the Red Storm tied things up late. The contest ultimately came down to penalty kicks where Blum made a huge save, forced another miss and all four Rangers’ shooters converted to allow Greely to advance to meet Gorham in the regional final. There, Hart played the hero, scoring in the 78th minute, to give the Rangers a 1-0 win and send them to the state final against undefeated Brunswick. Again, only one goal was scored, this time by Burnham (set up by Macgill Eldredge) and Blum and Hart and the rest of the team made it hold up and Greely had its championship. The Rangers had wound up where they were expected to be all along, but it certainly wasn’t easy getting there.

Coach Mike Andreasen: “We knew coming in we were the best team from the shoulders down. From the head up was where we needed to learn to play together and learn to trust each other. That was the big thing. I didn’t get our lineup settled until Game 14. There was a lot of tweaking. When the playoffs came around, they put their game face on and they played hard. I feel like we weren’t fluky. We beat all the best teams. We outplayed most, if not all of our opponents.”

Waynflete Flyers, 15-0-3, 2018 Class C champion

The best Waynflete team of them all took on top challengers from nearly every class and didn’t lose a single game en route to an impressive state championship, which was capped by a win over Fort Kent in a game that featured some of the prettiest goals you’ll ever see.

The Flyers’ schedule included Cape Elizabeth, Gray-New Gloucester, Greely, North Yarmouth Academy, Yarmouth and York, but thanks to a balanced attack and strong defense, Waynflete managed to go 11-0-3 (tying the Capers, Clippers and Patriots), while outscoring the opposition, 35-5. Due in part to the strength of their schedule, the Flyers earned the top seed for the Class C South playoffs, then outscored their four postseason foes by a 10-1 margin to complete an undefeated campaign for the first time in a quarter-century.

In the quarterfinals, Waynflete pulled away in the second half for a 4-0 win over Sacopee Valley, as Oliver Burdick, Diraige Dahia, regional all-star Askar Houssein and Ian McClure-Chute all found the net. Next up was Mt. Abram in the semifinals, where goals from Houssein and Aidan Kieffer produced a 2-0 victory. Defending Class C champion Maranacook was expected to give the Flyers all they could handle in the regional final and that proved to be the case, but an early goal from Houssein gave Waynflete the lead and the Flyers’ defense and regional all-star goalkeeper Luca Antolini made it hold up in a 1-0 win. Waynflete actually fell behind Fort Kent early in the state final, surrendering the only goal it allowed all postseason, but Houssein tied it with a header, Burdick scored a highlight-reel goal to put his team on top and regional all-star Pat Shaw ended all doubt with a gorgeous strike of his own as the Flyers prevailed, 3-1. A team for the ages had its memorable finish.

Coach Brandon Salway: “When you take into consideration our schedule, not losing a game and beating a good team (in the state final), it’s hard not to say this isn’t our best (team). We’ve had some good teams, but this was our best season. I knew we’d be really good this year. I asked for a tougher schedule than the original schedule we’d been given. We got through battle after battle without losing and got the top seed. The guys enjoy the game, they’re smart with high soccer IQs and they like each other. That made it really easy for me.”

Falmouth Yachtsmen, 15-2-1, 2019 Class A state champion

The Yachtsmen’s first championship at the Class A level was the final piece in the puzzle of the unrivaled legacy of Coach Dave Halligan. Falmouth wasn’t the favorite, but when the games mattered most, the Yachtsmen played their best and finished with a stunning victory over the defending champion on the big stage.

Falmouth started the year 10-0-1 and behind a strong defense paced by regional all-star Joe Dye, allowed just four goals in those 11 games. The Yachtsmen then hit a rough patch, losing to South Portland and Portland to wind up 11-2-1 and second for the Class A South tournament, but once the postseason began, Falmouth had no peer.

In the quarterfinals, Falmouth had its way with Kennebunk, a team it tied during the regular season, by a score of 6-1, as six different players (Charlie Adams, Rion Dos Santos, Gus Ford, Emmet Frueh, Sam Gearan and Mason Quiet) tickled the twine. The Yachtsmen’s potent defense then put the clamps on Scarborough in a 2-0 semifinal round win (Macklin Williams scored both goals). Falmouth was the underdog versus Gorham in the Class A South Final, but after an early Williams goal was matched by the Rams, Dos Santos scored in the second half to produce a 2-1 victory. The only obstacle left was a massive one, defending champion Lewiston, but the Yachtsmen took the attack to the Blue Devils, got them on their heels and opened up an improbable 4-1 halftime lead before going on to a 5-2 victory (Dos Santos had three goals, while Ford, an All-State selection, scored twice). Falmouth had saved its best for last and proved beyond a doubt it was the best team in the biggest class in the state.

Coach Dave Halligan: “We elevated our game. The kids were persistent all year and kept working. We’ve been competitive transitioning to Class A, but every team is good. Winning Class A made us feel like we were the best of the best, especially beating Lewiston with all they’ve done.”

Yarmouth Clippers, 15-0-3, 2019 Class B champion

Yarmouth’s fifth champion in six seasons was strong up and down the field, featured All-State selections Alejandro Coury and Liam Ireland, regional all-stars John D’Appolonia, Aidan Hickey and Jason Lainey, and according to longtime coach Mike Hagerty was the most technically skilled team he could remember. The Clippers, coming off a rare championship-less campaign the year before, had a single focus and didn’t lose a single game en route to another Gold Ball and they finished the year ranked eighth nationally by the United Soccer Coaches.

Yarmouth rolled through its first six games, outscoring the opposition, 10-2. The Clippers then settled for 1-1 draws versus Freeport, Greely and Gray-New Gloucester. After an 11-0-3 regular season campaign, Yarmouth earned the top seed for the Class B South playoffs and managed to avenge each of their ties en route to the title.

In the quarterfinals, the Clippers blanked Gray-New Gloucester, 4-0, as John Clinton, Steve Fulton, Hickey and Cam Merrill all put the ball in the net. The semifinal round versus Freeport proved to be a battle, but Ireland (the Class B Player of the Year) converted a first half penalty kick and Coury (an All-American) added a second half goal to produce a 2-0 win. Yarmouth fell behind Greely, 1-0, early in the regional final, but the Clippers had a second half for the ages, getting goals from Will Nicholas, Merrill, Coury, Clinton and Aidan Kann for a decisive 5-1 victory. Caribou was the final obstacle and the Clippers took care of business, as Coury scored just before halftime and Ireland and Coury added second half goals as Yarmouth won a record 13th title, 3-1. Another year, another crown and the Clippers are nowhere near finished.

Coach Mike Hagerty: “I like to think we made a claim for not just the best team in Class B, but the whole state. We’ve had teams that have given up fewer goals, but this is our most technical team. We’ve had bigger, strong, faster teams, but we haven’t had a team that plays the ball as fast as this group does. It was one of our best senior classes. They were very supportive of each other.”

The Super Six

6) Scarborough Red Storm, 16-0-2, 2012 Class A champion

The Red Storm’s fourth of five Class A champions in a nine-year span oozed with talent and that came to the forefront when the games mattered the most. After losing to Windham in the regional final the year before, Scarborough would twice settle for ties in 2012, but when the hardware was on the line, it simply wouldn’t be denied. All-State selections Austin Downing and Wyatt Omsberg and regional all-stars Chris Cleary and Trevor Sparda were the stars and they had plenty of company.

Three games into the year, the Red Storm had just one win (they also tied South Portland and Gorham), but the remainder of the regular season saw Scarborough outscore the opposition, 48-7, and wind up 12-0-2, good for the No. 2 seed in Western Class A. The playoffs saw the Red Storm play stellar defense and get timely scoring from expected and unexpected sources.

In a 3-0 quarterfinal round win over Portland, Downing scored two goals, while Sam Cekada struck as well. Scarborough’s defense completely stymied the Bulldogs’ attack. Greely, a familiar playoff foe, presented a dangerous roadblock in the semifinals, but the Red Storm survived, 2-1, as Dan Ornstein (remember that name) scored in the first half and Scarborough got the winner on an “own goal” in the 70th minute. The Red Storm had to go to top-ranked Gorham for the regional final and scored the only goal, courtesy Cedaka, to punch their state game ticket. Scarborough had to get past Mt. Ararat in the state final and did so with surprising ease, 4-0, as Ornstein shocked the world with a first half hat trick and Downing added a goal in the second half to bring the curtain down on a championship run by a magical group.

Coach Mark Diaz: “We just had pure talent on the field. Great players. I’ve just got great kids and they’re all willing to make sacrifices to win games. With my guys, it’s all about patience. When we get the ball in dangerous spots, we’ll get one. I was happy for the guys. Especially my seniors. They came in style and they went out in style. They were just relentless. That was one of my favorite things about that group.”

5) Scarborough Red Storm, 18-0, 2008 Class A state champion

Arguably the best Scarborough team of them all. The first to go a perfect 18-0 and one which outscored the opposition by a whopping 84-4 margin. The deep and talented Red Storm, who featured four All-State selections, Adam Blanchard, Ted Palmer, Ian Philbrick and Buddy Reid, played a one-goal game just twice, in the regional final and state game, and were at their best when they were pushed.

Scarborough hit the midway point of the regular season at 7-0, having scored 42 goals while shutting out every foe. The road got tougher in the second half of the year, but wins over Cheverus (3-1), Bonny Eagle (2-0) and South Portland (2-0) got the Red Storm battle-tested and they took the top seed into the Western A tournament, where they continued their winning ways all the way to the pinnacle.

Gorham hoped to spring an upset in the quarterfinals, but Scarborough rolled, 4-0, as Trevor Hoxsie had three goals and Palmer finished as well. In the semifinals, the Red Storm beat always-tough Cape Elizabeth, 2-0, behind goals from Reid and Philbrick. Defending state champion Greely awaited in the regional final, but behind a Palmer goal and a stellar defensive effort, Scarborough advanced, 1-0. The state game versus Bangor would be a high-wire act as well, but again, the Red Storm prevailed by a 1-0 score, thanks to Philbrick’s overtime tally. An unbelievable season had an unforgettable ending and Scarborough liked perfection so much, it would repeat the 18-0 feat again in 2009.

Coach Mark Diaz: “This was my deepest team ever. We had the toughest road to the final. The boys deserve some credit. To finish 18-0 with the schedule we played, we played everyone in our conference, beat Cape and Greely and Bangor was undefeated. It’s a great feat.”

4) Falmouth Yachtsmen, 17-1-1, 2001 Class B state champion

Falmouth star Jeff Davis shows off the 2000 and 2001 Gold Balls following the Yachtsmen’s victory over John Bapst in the 2001 Class B state final. 

An absolute offensive juggernaut, starring All-State selections Jeff Davis and Pat Halligan, regional all-star J.D. Duncan in the midfield and a squad that was smothering defensively as well, featuring All-State back Eric Petersen and goalkeeper Zack Rand, Falmouth was clearly the best team in the state and it outscored the opposition by an overwhelming 25-1 margin in the postseason as it won its second of four consecutive Class B crowns.

After an 18-0 championship campaign in 2000, just the Yachtsmen’s second year at the Class B level, they came back fired up for more in 2001. Falmouth opened with decisive wins over Gray-New Gloucester (8-0), York (5-0) and Scarborough (10-1), but on Sept. 10, 2001, the Yachtsmen were shocked at Cape Elizabeth, 1-0. Of course, the country and world changed forever the following day, but after a brief hiatus, Falmouth returned to the pitch better than ever. In its final 10 games, the Yachtsmen won nine times and rallied to tie Yarmouth, 2-2. At 12-1-1, Falmouth, which outscored the opposition, 62-7, in the regular season, then seemingly scored at will in its regional tournament run.

The Yachtsmen began the postseason by dominating Lisbon, 10-0, as Davis (an All-American and Maine’s Gatorade Player of the Year) scored three goals and Chris Davis and Halligan both had two goals. Next up was York and Jeff Davis’ goal gave Falmouth a 1-0 halftime lead before the Yachtsmen tacked on four more goals in the second half en route to a 5-0 victory. In the regional semifinals, Falmouth took care of Wiscasset by the same 5-0 score, as Mike Carmody and Jimmy Velas each had two goals and Jeff Davis also scored. In the regional final versus Maranacook, the Yachtsmen gave up a goal and fell behind for the only time in the playoffs, but they scored four times to advance to states (Velas had two goals, while Carmody and Jeff Davis added one apiece and Rand stopped 13 shots). The state final versus John Bapst proved to be a struggle, but Falmouth got a goal from Jeff Davis in the second half and this time, the defense carried the day, pitching a shutout for a 1-0 victory which allowed the Yachtsmen to reach the pinnacle. There would be many more titles to come.

Coach Dave Halligan: “I don’t know if my players appreciate what they’ve just accomplished. This one was the hardest, but also the most satisfying. It was a battle all game. Our defense played great.”

3) Yarmouth Clippers, 18-0, 2017 Class B state champion

Yarmouth’s fourth straight championship team boasted speed, skill, tremendous finishing ability and nine players who went on to play at the college level. For one perfect season, the Clippers posted the only unbeaten, untied record in program history against a challenging slate and wound up ranked 23rd nationally by the United Soccer Coaches. They certainly had no peer in Class B. After winning state titles in 2014, 2015 and 2016, everyone was gunning for Yarmouth, but the Clippers surrendered just 10 goals and scored 84 times.

In the regular season, Yarmouth passed a couple early tests, erasing a three-goal deficit in a 5-3 win at Greely (All-State selection Eric LaBrie scored twice, while fellow All-Stater Luke Groothoff, who would be named the Class B Player of the Year and an All-American, along with Tahj Garvey and Eric Loomis, added one goal apiece) and holding on for a 3-2 victory at York. After a second win over Greely, this one, 5-0 (behind three goals from LaBrie and two from Jack Jones), the Clippers blanked Poland, 7-0, giving longtime coach Mike Hagerty his 250th win with the program. There would be many more to come. Yarmouth erased a halftime deficit and edged visiting Cape Elizabeth, 2-1, behind goals from Max Coury and Jones. The Clippers had two more scares in the regular season, edging York, 1-0, on a Coury goal in the second half, then winning, 2-1, at Cape Elizabeth, behind two goals from Groothoff, including the winner in the 75th minute. Yarmouth was a perfect 14-0 and had the top seed for the Class B South tournament, but getting to the pinnacle wasn’t easy.

The Clippers managed to blank Freeport, 3-0, in the quarterfinals (Garvey, Jones and LaBrie all scored), then had no trouble with Lincoln Academy in the semifinals, rolling, 8-0, behind four goals from LaBrie and a pair from Jason Lainey. The regional final versus York was an 80-minute struggle. LaBrie gave Yarmouth the early lead, but the Wildcats tied the game and it remained 1-1 into the second half where Coury scored a highlight reel goal. The Clippers’ defense and goalkeeper Cal Owen did the rest to produce a 2-1 win and another trip to the state game. There, versus Winslow, a team Yarmouth had beaten, 5-2, in the 2016 state final, another close game ensued. Again an early LaBrie goal was answered by the opposition and the game remained deadlocked until 14:10 remained, when LaBrie set up Jones for the championship-winning tally. Again, Owen and Company slammed the door and the Clippers had their four-peat, 2-1, and a perfect finish.

Coach Mike Hagerty: “We’ve had a 17-0-1 team, but never a clean 18-0 like this. This is as much a community tribute as anything. Thank God Yarmouth is a soccer town and thank God I landed there. I’m proud of the kids. Some teams, you have to figure out your chemistry. Day one this year, the chemistry was as good as the talent. That made it special. I don’t remember one day this year where we didn’t have a fun practice where the kids weren’t supportive of each other. They were willing to trust the coaches, each other and play for each other. It was very unique.”

2) Falmouth Yachtsmen, 16-0-2, 2009 Class B state champion

After two regular season ties, prolific scoring Falmouth got the better of rival Yarmouth in the regional final and went on to win the championship, staking its claim as the best team in program history for finishing atop the heap when its top foes were as collectively strong as any season in memory (this squad was the top vote-getter in our Twitter poll).

The Yachtsmen’s offense, which boasted All-State selections Gabe Hoffman-Johnson and Sam White and regional all-stars Michael Bloom and Alec Dunn, scored in double figures in five different games and outscored the opposition a whopping 104-6. After losing the regional final to Yarmouth in shocking fashion the year before, Falmouth was a mission and it would be unequivocally mission accomplished.

The Yachtsmen started slowly, beating Fryeburg Academy (3-0) and Greely (4-2) before erupting for a dozen goals against Poland. After downing Cape Elizabeth, 3-1, Falmouth went to Yarmouth and settled for a 1-1 draw, as Ford Bohrmann scored the equalizer in the second half. The Yachtsmen then scored like a football team, beating Wells (14-0) and York (10-0). After a second win over Cape Elizabeth (4-0), Falmouth hosted Yarmouth and again, the teams finished deadlocked, 1-1, as Dunn (from All-State back Kyle Lucas) had the goal, but the Clippers tied it late on a controversial penalty kick. The Yachtsmen were unstoppable from there, edging Greely (2-1), then closing the regular season by beating Lake Region (7-0), Freeport (5-0) and York (10-0) to wind up 12-0-2, good for the top spot in Western Class B. Falmouth would have one serious test in the playoffs, but passed it and went on to capture the Gold Ball.

In the quarterfinals, the Yachtsmen reached double digits one final time, blanking Fryeburg Academy, 10-0, as both Hoffman-Johnson (the Class B Player of the Year, Maine’s Gatorade Player of the Year and an All-American) and White scored three goals and Brandon Tuttle added a pair. The semifinals versus Lincoln Academy produced a slightly closer game, but again Falmouth cruised, 4-0, behind three more Hoffman-Johnson tallies and a goal from Drew Segerstrom. That set up the regional final everyone wanted to see, Yarmouth at Falmouth, but instead of a game that needed 80 minutes to decide, or perhaps more, the Yachtsmen won by the relatively comfortable score of 3-0. Bloom scored the only goal Falmouth would need early in the second half, then late in regulation, goals from Hoffman-Johnson and Bloom put it away. Ellsworth made the Yachtsmen sweat for awhile in the state game, but they wouldn’t be denied, winning again by a 3-0 score, as again the offense came in the second half and goalkeeper Ben Goffin ensured the opposition wouldn’t get a ball past him once in the postseason. Goals from Hoffman-Johnson (his 28th of the season), White and Dunn did the trick and Falmouth had left no doubt it had no peer.

Coach Dave Halligan: “This is the way it should be. We were on the other end last year. What makes this so special is that it’s good teams that we beat. I think the seniors stepped up. To win something like this, the seniors have to do it and they did it.”

1) Yarmouth Clippers, 17-0-1, 2010 Class B state champion

Hagerty views this as his best team and any team that can go undefeated and beat Falmouth three times in one season has to be considered the greatest of the great. The Clippers were smothering on defense, thanks in large part to regional all-star back Kyle Groves and stellar All-State goalkeeper Chris Knaub, shutting out 13 of 18 foes, were dynamic in the midfield, as Spanish transfer student Pao Carnero Melero became an instant fan favorite, and were led by an offense featuring All-State selections Luke Pierce and Sam Torres, which put the ball in the net 56 times.

Yarmouth had its share of tests as the season progressed, but rose to the occasion time after time. After opening with shutout wins over Freeport (3-0) and Gray-New Gloucester (6-0), the Clippers met Falmouth for the first time and for the first time in eight tries, defended their home turf field against the Yachtsmen with a 1-0 victory, as Ryan Maguire scored the lone goal in the second half. After a 9-0 win at Wells, Yarmouth was tested in four straight games, but the Clippers managed to outscore host Greely, 4-3 (Torres had three goals, including the winner), and after tying Cape Elizabeth, 1-1, in a game which saw the lights go out with three minutes left in regulation preventing overtime, they beat both Fryeburg Academy and North Yarmouth Academy by 1-0 scores. After handling York (4-1) and Freeport (5-0), Yarmouth avenged its tie with a 3-1 home win over Cape Elizabeth, then met Falmouth again, in Falmouth. This time, the Clippers surrendered a goal, but tallies from Josh Britten and Pierce (the Class B Player of the Year) spelled a 2-1 victory. Consecutive 3-0 wins over York and Greely (Chandler Smith, Carnero Melero and Campbell Belisle-Haley had the goals) gave Yarmouth its second straight undefeated regular season and the top seed for the Western B tournament. The Clippers would complete their date with championship destiny, but not before being pushed to the brink one final time by their fiercest rival.

After downing Oak Hill, 3-0, in the quarterfinals (Melero scored twice and Pierce also tickled the twine), Yarmouth fought off York’s upset bid, 1-0, in the semifinals, behind Pierce’s goal (from Torres) and seven saves from Knaub. With the preliminaries out of the way, all eyes were on the regional final as Falmouth came to Yarmouth and as expected, it was extremely difficult for the Clippers to beat the Yachtsmen a third time. The game was scoreless in the first half and neither squad produced a goal in the second half either. With the season on the line, Yarmouth had to win it in overtime and it did so when an unlikely hero, Cotter Jackson, pounced on a loose ball in the box and finished for a 1-0 victory to send the Clippers to the state final versus Ellsworth. There, in a game played at Falmouth High School (the delicious irony), Yarmouth rolled to a 5-0 triumph to finish its transcendent season. Belisle-Haley scored the only goal his team would need on a first half header and before intermission, the Clippers scored twice in 37 seconds, as Eamon Costello and Pierce each scored on rebounds. In the second half, Pierce scored his 18th goal of the year and Torres, who had numerous near-misses earlier in the contest, finally put the ball in the net to punctuate the victory. Yarmouth had become a team for the ages, one whose greatness still echoes.

Coach Mike Hagerty: “What a great ending. I’m very happy. I couldn’t be more proud of a team. They’re a tremendous group of individuals. Just an unselfish, hard working group. The difference was our work ethic, every day, every practice. That’s attributable to our captains. Three of the best captains we’ve ever had. Campbell, Luke and Kyle. As much as you’d like to think a team is a reflection of their coaches, this team was a reflection of the captains.”

Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: