Waynflete’s Myles Culley chases the ball during a game against Yarmouth on Tuesday. Culley has scored a school-record 35 goals this fall. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

While racking up a school-record 35 goals, Myles Culley has amazed with goal-scoring skills honed through years of training with elite club organizations.

“He’s better than anyone I’ve ever seen,” said Jacob Woodman, Waynflete’s center midfielder.

Brandon Salway, Waynflete’s longtime boys’ soccer coach, raves about Culley’s technical ability, tactical awareness and knack for knowing “when to bend a shot and when to go power.”

After Culley had used his dominant left foot to strike the 30-yard overtime goal to beat Yarmouth in Tuesday’s regular-season finale, Clippers Coach Mike Hagerty said, “He had a small window to hit that. He had two guys on him and a third guy coming. Most kids in high school don’t even take that shot.”

More impressive than his highlight-reel goals – and there have been plenty – is that the Falmouth resident has done it after a significant injury kept him off the pitch for over two years.

Culley, 18, has been a soccer standout since a young age. He played in Seacoast United’s Development Academy program, based in Epping, New Hampshire, for three years before high school. As a freshman, Culley stepped up the U.S. Soccer ladder and joined the academy program run by the Philadelphia Union, a Major League Soccer franchise. His goal? To keep improving and play professional soccer, just like several of the Union’s older players.


“I saw them every day at the training grounds and I thought, ‘I want to be like those kids,'” Culley said. “Unfortunately I had that injury and my path took a little bit of a turn.”

While playing in a 2019 holiday festival tournament in his second year with the Union, Culley suffered a double avulsion fracture of his left hamstring. Avulsion means the muscle tendon tears completely away from the bone. In Culley’s case, fragments of bone also fractured from his pelvis.

Waynflete’s Myles Culley, center, is surrounded by teammates as they return to the field after halftime on Tuesday. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

In early 2020, he was cut from the Union program. After eight months of rest, physical therapy and numerous doctor visits, the pain still wasn’t subsiding. Then he had surgery.

“A pretty significant surgery, and that set me back another year,” Culley said. “There were days when I felt like I just wasn’t making any progress. I’d been out so long. There were days when I worried, especially because I love the sport so much.

“It’s always been my identity. I’m Myles the soccer player.”

Instead of dreaming of playing pro soccer, Culley’s quest changed to just being able to play. Anywhere.


“We didn’t think he would ever play again,” said his mother, Catherine Culley. “It was a two-and-a-half year journey from the injury to the first time he played a game.”

Culley enrolled at Waynflete as a junior before the 2021-22 academic year, still unable to run, let alone play in a game.

It wasn’t until this summer that Culley felt ready to get back on the field in a game setting.

Waynflete’s Myles Culley takes a shot in a game against Yarmouth on Tuesday. “I’ve played soccer at some very serious levels and sometimes I lost sight of why I’m playing the game and that’s because I love the game,” Culley says. “This season with Waynflete, the biggest word I can put on this for me is fun.” Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

“He texted me this summer and said he was thinking he might want to play,” Salway said. “I said, ‘We have a summer league game tonight.’ He played in that game and I think he scored three goals against Cheverus.”

Culley hadn’t lost his touch. And, he says, he’s found a new perspective on soccer at Waynflete.

“I’ve played soccer at some very serious levels and sometimes I lost sight of why I’m playing the game and that’s because I love the game,” Culley said. “This season with Waynflete, the biggest word I can put on this for me is fun.”


Culley’s skills are most obvious when he has the ball at his feet. Against Yarmouth, Culley was the target of nearly every throw-in. Despite being quickly double-teamed he usually would work free from the sideline area in search of a sliver of space to let loose a shot.

Culley has scored at least one goal in every game for the Flyers, who will begin defense of their three straight Class C championships by hosting a regional quarterfinal game on Wednesday.

Waynflete’s Myles Culley, center, celebrates with teammates after he scored the winning goal in overtime against Yarmouth on Tuesday. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

With 35 goals, Culley is tied for 10th in the single-season scoring records kept by the Maine Soccer Coaches Association.

The state record of 52, set by Damon Warren of Sumner High in 2018, is out of reach. But if Waynflete makes another run to the state final, it’s quite feasible Culley will top the unofficial southern Maine record of 39 goals in a season set by Roger Levesque of Falmouth in 1998.

Culley plans to play in college. Currently undecided, he said he has interest from a few NCAA Division III NESCAC schools. It’s a destination Culley says he’ll be happy to reach, a place where soccer is a piece of a full life, instead of his whole life.

“That’s exactly it. It’s not the be-all, end-all, although it’s still one of the most important things in my life,” Culley said. “I love the game. It brings me great happiness. I’m real excited to keep playing the next four years in college.”

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