PORTLAND, Maine — Although it may not show on the record, Seth Brown feels his Seacoast United Mariners are making strides in their second season in the Women’s Premier Soccer League’s New England Division.
Newly named Maine Maritime Academy women’s soccer coach Brown, a Searsport native, is coaching the Mariners for the first time while also serving as the managing director for the team.
The Mariners are 1-7 with two games remaining, but three of their losses have been by one goal. That includes a 1-0 loss to league co-leader Boston Breakers College Academy and a 2-1 setback to third-place Boston Aztec, a team that beat them 8-0 earlier this season.
The team went 1-7-2 a year ago but was outscored 32-3. This year’s team has been outscored 26-6.
“We’re doing better than we’ve done in the past,” said Brown. “We’ve brought in a number of international players this season to go with the players from Maine and they’ve been great.”
He said his team has been beset with injuries so they haven’t been at full strength.
But with the injured players returning,”we’ve done much better.”
In addition to its 10-game schedule, the team practices three days a week at the Howard SportsDome in Topsham and has fitness training sessions on the other two days at the Armory in Portland. They have played two home games at Bates College in Lewiston, one in Brunswick and one at Husson University’s Boucher Field in Bangor. Their final home game will be at Scarborough.
Their win was a 2-1 triumph over the Seacoast Phantoms (N.H.) in Bangor.
The players who come from far away live with host families and the host families all live in the same area, which makes things “better for the players transportation-wise.”
Since the season lasts just eight weeks, the administrators haven’t had to find jobs for the players like the administrators of the Bangor-based Maine Tide (WPSL) and Maine Sting (National Premier Soccer League) did. The Tide lasted three seasons (2008-2010) while the Sting had a two-year run (2008-2009).
“[The players] really view it as a chance to train and get better,” explained Brown. “This is an opportunity for our Maine kids to come home from school and play at a high level.”
Brown was also involved with the Tide and said this team is much better than those Tide teams.
Some players will return home after the season finale against the Seacoast Phantoms on July 8, while others will stay and participate in soccer camps.
Some Bangor-area players have been with the team.
Former John Bapst of Bangor goalkeeper Abby Pyne of Dixmont, who was selected a high school All-American for the state of Connecticut last fall while she attended Loomis Chaffee, has played two games for the Mariners. She will play the final two, the next being against league co-leader the New England Mutiny at 6 p.m. on July 6 in Scarborough.
Pyne, whose Loomis Chaffee team had 10 shutouts en route to a 13-2 record, will attend Duke on a scholarship beginning in 2014.
“Abby has looked very strong,” Brown said of his 6-foot-1 goalkeeper. “She has gotten better technically, she is bigger, stronger and more agile. She’s very intelligent soccer-wise and she plays much older than she is.”
He also said she is a tireless worker.
Former Hampden Academy star Anna Michaud has played two games at striker and Brown considers her a dynamic player who thinks through the game extremely well and has a strong tactical understanding.
Former Orono standout Annalies Ross-Dyjak will probably make her debut for the team on July 6 and Brown expects good things from her.
“She has good size, she’s good technically and she’s very good on set pieces. She can strike a ball,” said Brown about the midfielder.
Michaud and Ross-Dyjak will both attend the University of New England in Biddeford next fall, according to Brown.
Former Lawrence High School of Fairfield star Myrilla Hartkopf has impressed in the back.
“She’s very athletic, has good size and decent [speed],” said Brown.
There are several other Maine natives on the team including Falmouth’s Caitlin Bucksbaum, the Villanova-bound two-time Maine Gatorade Player of the Year; Brunswick’s Katherine Chipman, Allison Walton, Jaymee Wallace and Morgan Libby; Lyman’s Emily Lodge; Scarborough’s Crysti Tsujiura and Sanford’s Taylor Littlefield.
The roster also includes Australian Krista Hagen, Scot Kristy Montignani, Canadian Katherine Fernald, South African Ode Fulutudilu, Norwegian Ida Bjerklund and Kimika Forbes, goalkeeper from Trinidad and Tobago.
Forbes and Ferland play at the University of Maine-Fort Kent and others play for Maine colleges.