BANGOR, Maine — Home is largely on the road this summer for Abby Pyne, and that will continue into the fall and beyond.
Pyne, the 15-year-old soccer standout from Dixmont and John Bapst of Bangor, has decided to spend her junior and senior years of high school at Loomis Chaffee, a co-ed boarding school in Windsor, Conn., just north of Hartford. Pyne has made a verbal commitment to accept an athletic scholarship from Division I power Duke University in 2014.
While the 6-foot Pyne — one of the nation’s premier young goalkeepers — will play both soccer and basketball at Loomis Chaffee, her decision to transfer was based less on the specific schools involved than it was on the opportunity to gain greater access to top-level soccer development programs.
“There are not as many training opportunities for goalkeepers in Maine, so I researched it and found that Connecticut is a hot spot for keeper training,” said Pyne from Chicago, where she is competing for the FC Stars of Massachusetts in the Elite Clubs National League championship tournament.
More specifically, Pyne will have greater access to SoccerPlus, a Hartford, Conn.-based organization that places emphasis on goalkeeper development. The president and founder of SoccerPlus is Tony DiCicco, the head coach of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team from 1994 to 1999, coach of the gold medal-winning U.S. Olympic Women’s Soccer Team in 1996 and a 2012 inductee into the National Soccer Hall of Fame.
Pyne has been attending SoccerPlus camps since age 9.
“I considered doing this last year,” she said, “but I decided against it because I wanted another year at home.”
Pyne described her pending move to Loomis Chaffee from John Bapst — where older sister Sarah will be a senior in the fall — as one of the most difficult choices she has ever had to make, citing the qualify of her life experiences at the Bangor school.
“The hardest thing about this decision for me was leaving John Bapst,” she said. “It’s such a phenomenal school, and I loved every minute of my time there.”
Pyne, a member of the national Under-14 and Under-15 teams during her procession up the youth soccer ranks, is in the midst of a busy summer as she plays for two teams, the FC Stars of Massachusetts and Maine-based Blackbear United.
She began this week in Chicago competing in the Elite Clubs National League championship tournament, then is scheduled to head to Lancaster, Pa., to play with Blackbear United in the USA Youth Soccer Region I championships beginning Friday.
“It’s a chance to compete against very good players from across the country,” said Pyne, currently ranked among the Elite Clubs National League’s national top 25 players.
She is scheduled to attend soccer camps later this summer in North Carolina, Oregon and Florida before spending the final three weeks of August training in Serbia.
“I love the travel,” she said.