Whitney Sinclair, a two-time All-American player at the University of Maine at Fort Kent, will seek to convert those skills to the sideline this fall as she becomes the new girls varsity soccer coach at Foxcroft Academy.
A Dexter native and graduate of John Bapst of Bangor, Sinclair scored a school-record 131 goals and added 56 assists in 74 career games at UMFK.
UMFK compiled a 67-8-1 record during her four years on campus, winning the United States Collegiate Athletic Association national championship in both 2010 and 2011.
The 22-year-old Sinclair has previous varsity coaching experience, though not in soccer. While attending UMFK, she coached softball at Wisdom of Saint Agatha in 2010 and 2011, leading the Pioneers to their first postseason berth in 15 years.
Sinclair did not coach softball at Wisdom last spring as she continued working toward her bachelor’s degree in nursing with a minor in coaching, but she believes that experience will help her at Foxcroft, which went 0-14 under Kim Thebault last fall.
“We’ll start with the basics and make sure the girls are developing their ball skills and footwork, and then we’ll work on endurance,” said Sinclair. “We know we’re going to be a pretty young team this year.”
Sinclair is the daughter of Gary Sinclair, a longtime high school and college coach in eastern Maine.
“I’ve always been interested in helping out, and growing up with my dad as a coach I was always comfortable being around sports and coaching,” she said.
Sinclair is working at Hibbard’s Nursing Home in Dover-Foxcroft while she waits to take the final three classes she needs at UMFK next spring. That will be followed by a preceptorship she plans to take at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.
Foxcroft also will have a new boys varsity soccer coach in Luis Ayala, who will be serving in his second stint in that post with the Ponies.
Ayala previously was the head soccer coach at Foxcroft for seven seasons from 1999 to 2005. He has coached the sport at SeDoMoCha Middle School in Dover-Foxcroft for the last four years.
“We have just four seniors coming back so we’re going to be young,” said Ayala. “But I know all of the kids because they’ve been through the program with me up through middle school.”
Ayala is best known as the head coach of Foxcroft’s wrestling program, which he has guided to three state Class C state championships, most recently last winter. The Ponies also won the 2004 and 2005 state titles under his guidance.
Ayala is replacing David Dean, who coached the Ponies’ boys soccer team on an interim basis last fall.
Foxcroft went 2-10-2 during the 2011 season.