New Waynflete boys’ soccer coach Will Burdick served the past two seasons as the head coach of the boys’ team at Gray-New Gloucester. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

When it comes to the Waynflete boys’ soccer program, 2023 is definitely a new beginning for the defending four-time Class C champions.

New coach Will Burdick, 25, a 2016 Waynflete grad, replaces the man who essentially created Waynflete soccer, Brandon Salway.

Burdick takes over a program that graduated 52-goal scoring star Myles Culley. The regular-season schedule could be the program’s toughest ever, featuring six games against Class B teams, including powers Yarmouth, Greely and Cape Elizabeth.

It’s fair to say how things will play out this year is more mystery than certainty.

“We as players and him as a coach, we have to fill in big shoes that have been left,” said senior midfielder Jacob Woodman.

Burdick says he always hoped his coaching path would lead back to Waynflete, where he went to school from kindergarten through his senior year and was a three-sport athlete, playing soccer, basketball and lacrosse. Burdick’s father, Ross, is Waynflete’s athletic director.


“It was always a dream of mine to be back here,” said Will Burdick, who made it clear that his dad was not part of the soccer coach interview committee.

After four years at Emmanuel College in Boston, where he started every game his sophomore, junior and senior seasons, Burdick quickly got his first coaching job as the varsity boys’ coach at Gray-New Gloucester High.

In two seasons, he directed the Patriots to a 7-6-2 record in 2021 and 5-9-1 last season, both years making the Class B South playoffs but losing in the preliminary round.

Waynflete boys’ soccer coach Will Burdick, a 2016 Waynflete grad, takes over the program from Brandon Salway, who led the Flyers to 332 victories and eight state championships from 1989 to 2022. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

“I’ve learned a ton. One, I need to be able to control my body language, what I say, what I do, because it translates to the players on the field,” said Burdick, who is finishing his graduate studies in social work at the University of Southern Maine. “Making sure what I say is clear, concise, easily understandable. Also, one of the most important aspects of it is remaining positive.”

Salway, 56, announced he was retiring from coaching and teaching in late May, citing the need to focus on his health while dealing with chronic pain related to three back surgeries and subsequent complications.

It is not hyperbole to say Salway created Waynflete boys’ soccer. When he took over the team 1989, Waynflete didn’t have a preseason schedule, a conference affiliation, or even a nickname. In 34 seasons under Salway, Waynflete was 332-120-47, went to 22 regional finals and 14 state finals, and won eight state championships. Salway is one of 17 Maine high school soccer coaches, boys’ or girls’, who have at least 300 wins.


“I’m following – and obviously my opinion is a little biased – but I think one of the best high school boys’ coaches that have ever been in the state of Maine,” Burdick said.

Woodman, a Portland resident, said Burdick quickly gained the players’ attention and respect.

“He came in and told us what he wanted from the team and what he was willing to give,” Woodman said. “It was instant. We all respect him. He respects us. It was mutual.”

Senior Dana Bigelow says of new Waynflete boys’ soccer coach Will Burdick, above, “We treat Will with a large level of respect, but we can also joke around with him.” Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

Senior center back Dana Bigelow, who lives in Falmouth, said he appreciates that Burdick is closer to the players’ age, making communication easier.

“We treat Will with a large level of respect, but we can also joke around with him,” Bigelow said. “I didn’t always feel that way with Brandon. Brandon is very stoic. Will is just more new, fresh.”

Burdick is quick to acknowledge that he has plenty to learn about coaching. He said his goal is the same he has for his players – to improve weekly.


Salway believes his former player is up to the task.

“As a player, he led by example. He was a fierce competitor. Relentless effort,” Salway said. “He’s a natural leader, and I think he’s a terrific young coach who knows the game.”

Woodman, Bigelow and goalie Nico Kirby are the only returning starters from last year’s team, with defender Jeff Adey another key returnee with some starting experience.

“It’s a whole different look to the program,” Burdick said. “We don’t want to leave the past in the past, but what we want to focus on is what we can do this season and what we can do with our new faces, new coaching staff, new players.”

The returning players believe another title is possible, even if a few more in-season losses are taken along the way.

“When playoffs come, we’ll have some tough battles, but I think we’ll go far,” Kirby said. “I’m not just saying that because we’ve done that every year, but from what I’ve seen so far this year and the way players have stepped up.”

The expectations haven’t changed, Bigelow said, even if the roster has had significant turnover.

“We want to continue where we left off. We can definitely repeat as state champions,” Bigelow said. “We have the capabilities. And I think that’s the expectation, the expectation for everybody out there.”

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