Twenty years ago, Justin Morrill got to live every soccer player’s wildest dream when he scored the winning goal with less than a minute remaining to lift the Yarmouth Clippers over Ellsworth in the 2004 Class B state final.

Morrill, 37, achieved another dream when he was named the new coach of the Clippers on Tuesday, replacing Mike Hagerty, who stepped down last month after going 344-63-48 in his 27 seasons, winning 13 state championships.

Morrill, an assistant under Hagerty the past seven seasons, knows he has a challenge ahead, but is eager to take it on, and hopeful that the rest of the existing Yarmouth coaching staff – which includes James McCaskill, Stephen Ochan, Ben Vigue and Dale Wing – will continue by his side.

“I have big shoes to fill and some days I’m sure it will feel overwhelming, but I’m going to tackle it head-on and I hope to keep our staff fully intact, so we’ll have the same goals in mind,” said Morrill, a 2005 Yarmouth grad. “A lot of what (Coach Hagerty) instilled will be part of what I do. It’s nice for the kids that not a lot will change.”

Morrill, who played club rugby at Bryant College, has been along for the ride during the most dominant stretch with Yarmouth winning Class B titles in six of his seven seasons, including this past November when the Clippers dominated John Bapst 7-0 in the final.

Upon stepping down, Hagerty publicly lobbied for Morrill to be his successor, something the two had discussed.


“We talked the past couple years about how he wanted to see his kids play and he was finally ready to pull the trigger, and I felt ready to step in,” Morrill said. “Everything kind of aligned.”

“I am really excited for Justin and really happy for the program,” said Hagerty.

“I’m so glad it’s staying in the family. I’m so happy to have someone who understands Yarmouth soccer taking over. Yarmouth soccer has been a community program since the Colts program started in 1993 and Justin was a part of it. He grew up in it and lived it.”

Morrill said that he learned plenty from Hagerty over the years and Hagerty is thrilled Morrill will bring a fresh approach.

“I have a very competitive nature and I learned from (Hagerty) how to use that in the right way,” Morrill said. “His ability to adapt to games on the fly is something I’ve always admired. He works so well with the community and is inclusive of everyone, the young kids through the high school kids. That’s the biggest thing I want to keep going.”

“I like that we’re not alike,” Hagerty said. “We have similar values, but it’s great he’s his own person. We didn’t always agree. Those are the kinds of discussions that made me better as a coach. Justin will ramp up the intensity. He’s very competitive and he’ll coach how he played. The team should be very good again this fall. It’s a young group, but the guys have been chomping at the bit to get their chance.”

“Coach Morrill has spent the past seven seasons becoming well-versed in how to run a successful soccer program,” added Yarmouth’s Athletic Director Sarah Holmes. “He understands the traditions of the program and our community. He is eager to work with our student-athletes and community to ensure the continued growth of soccer in Yarmouth.”

The Clippers will take aim at a fifth consecutive championship this fall, about the only thing this storied program has yet to accomplish. Morrill, who works at Tyler Technologies and lives in Yarmouth, won’t have time to ease into the job and he can’t wait to get started.

“Summer soccer is starting tonight,” Morrill said. “We’re hitting the ground running.”

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