Richmod boys soccer players work on a conditioning drills during an Aug. 20 practice in Richmond. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Several teams across the state are experiencing a dip in numbers.

Freeport is not one of those schools. In fact, Freeport boys soccer coach Bob Strong said, the opposite is occurring as 70 players came out this fall.

“We have a heavy senior presence of 18 leaders,” said Strong. “With that being said, we are counting on some major contributions from our underclassmen.”

Last season, Freeport played a regionalized schedule against the likes of Class A schools Brunswick and Mt. Ararat because of coronavirus safety concerns. Now, with conference scheduling in motion, Strong thinks the experience last autumn will benefit this year’s club. 

“It was interesting to play teams outside the conference last season,” said Strong. “The high-level competition was good for us.”

The Falcons will rely on seniors Eli Anderson, Alek Gideon, Owen Howarth, and Keigan Shea to provide leadership on and off the field. Junior Alex Garver will also be a force in the midfield.


Just like Freeport, Mt. Ararat will boast an experienced team this season. With 16 returning players who have varsity experience, head coach Jack Rioux says the Eagles have some depth. 

“As a team, I feel as though we have a lot of guys who can contribute for us in a positive way,” said Rioux, who has 48 players.

Joe Visseli, left, watches as Richmond soccer players work out during an Aug. 20 practice in Richmond. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Rioux expects the senior group of Spencer LeClair, Sean Rethi, Nolen Timberlake, and Sebastian Varela to provide opportunities. All four players enter their third year as starters. 

“Those guys should be leaders for us,” said Rioux. “We are really looking forward to this season, we have a great group of guys who work hard with each opportunity.”

With seven seniors graduating, Brunswick will have some new faces on the pitch this season. The Dragons will look to David Nzuzi, a dynamic scorer with some of the best ball handling skills in the state, and Jack Banks, who will move to the midfield after playing as a defender last season.

“We have a lot of new faces and a lot of guys trying out new positions,” said Brunswick head coach Mark Roma. “We’ve emphasized that we want to play our best soccer at the end of the season with all the new faces we are looking to incorporate.


Brady LaForge, who showed promise in net during his sophomore season in 2020, will be in goal. 

“We’re hoping Brady takes another step this season,” said Roma. “We had a large sophomore class and hope as they mature, we will, too.”

In Class D, Richmond returns just six upperclassmen, including just two seniors.

David Nzuzi of Brunswick, right, receives a pass from teammate Lucas Spiro, left, during a soccer game last season at Riverside Field in Topsham. Eli Canfield/Times Record

“We’re young but we’ll be very competitive,” said Bobcats head coach Peter Gardner, now in his eighth season with Richmond. “Our roster is very top-heavy with underclassmen, but we have a great group.”

Gardner said he had 21 players come out, one of the larger programs that Gardner has fielded during his time at Richmond.

He’ll turn to his senior duo of Brady Alexander and Chance Taylor to play whatever position is needed. Taylor will likely play striker. Junior Andrew Vashon is set to be in net for the Bobcats, but Gardner says he may be utilized elsewhere. Max Viselli should provide a poised presence in the midfield.


“We’re still tooling around with the starting 11,” he said. “There will be some moving parts as we look to find the best combination.”

While Richmond will rely on its underclassmen to provide a jolt, Morse will look toward its upperclassmen.

“We have predominantly juniors and seniors who have been playing some great soccer,” said Morse head coach Chuck Reece. “We see our bench as a strength of our team.”

Reece says he has five players off the bench who should play significant minutes.

The Shipbuilders return defensemen Tom Guild and midfielder Drew Marecek as captains. Reece says Guild’s ability to provide on-field leadership helps give players a good understanding of what they are trying to accomplish. Marecek returns after a year off in 2020 and has “great vision and the ability to connect passes.”

“We are trying to focus on becoming the best team we can be by the end of the season and less on record,” Reece said.

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