Liis Emajoe, a former midfielder and co-captain for the University of Maine women’s soccer team, has returned to UMaine as the full-time assistant after leading the Hampden Academy girls to a berth in the Class A North semifinals last fall.
Emajoe is replacing York native Emma Clark, who returned to her alma mater, Boston University, as an assistant coach.
UMaine head coach Scott Atherley also announced that part-time coach Jim Dyer, who worked primarily with the goalkeepers, has retired after spending the last six years with the program.
Dyer, who was inducted into the UMaine Sports Hall of Fame in 2010, had spent over 25 years coaching at the college level, and he coached Atherley when he was the head coach of the UMaine’s men’s soccer team.
The men’s soccer program, along with women’s volleyball, was dropped in 2009 because of financial constraints.
Atherley said he is hoping to hire a replacement for Dyer soon.
Emajoe, who played for the Estonia national women’s soccer team and was the Estonia Female Under-21 Footballer of the Year in 2010, guided the Broncos to a 6-5-3 regular season and a sixth seed in the Class A North playoffs. They upset 11-2-1 Brunswick in the quarterfinals before losing to rival and eventual state champion Bangor 3-0 in the semifinals.
“When the opportunity presented itself to hire a new assistant, Liis was clearly my first choice,” said Atherley. “She has been a great role model as a student-athlete, and she did a great job professionally at Hampden Academy.
“She is a great person, and she has wonderful values that are congruent with the values of the university, the athletic program and my values running the program,” he added. “She is reliable, she works extremely hard, and she is very personable. Everybody loves Liis. I couldn’t think of a better person to represent our program in the capacity of assistant coach.”
Atherley said Dyer will be missed.
“He was a wonderful person to have in the program,” said Atherley, who added that he valued his experience and expertise.
Atherley said Dyer wants to travel this fall.
Emajoe will work with the goalkeepers.
“She’s an excellent trainer of goalkeepers,” said Atherley.
Atherley also announced his 12-member freshman class on Friday, and it includes two Norwegians, two Germans, five Canadians, two players from Massachusetts and former Bangor High School star Anna-Marie Dagher.
Annalena Kriebisch is a goalkeeper from Potsdam, Germany; the backs are Shannon Armitage (Middle Sackville, Nova Scotia), Priscilla Domingo (Ottawa, Ontario) and Maeve Rabbitt (Concord, Massachusetts). The midfielders are Dagher, Nicole Bailey (Nepean, Ontario), Kaitlyn Ball (Ottawa, Ontario), Emilie Andersen (Oppegard, Norway), Kayla Brace (Lewis Lake, Nova Scotia) and Theresa Gosch (Bochum, Germany). The strikers are Beate Naglestad (Oppegaard, Norway) and Ellie Paolucci (Chelmsford, Massachusetts).
“We’re pretty excited about the class. We needed a big class to replace the one that just graduated,” said Atherley, who will begin his 18th season this fall after receiving a three-year contract extension. “All will have the potential to play immediately in some capacity. Some will be more impactful than others.”
UMaine returns six starters off last year’s team, which went 9-8-2 overall, 4-3-1 in America East and reached the league semifinals where it lost to Hartford 1-0.
UMaine will play an exhibition game at Mahaney Diamond in Orono against Division II Assumption College (Massachusetts) on Aug. 16 before opening the season at Long Island University-Brooklyn on Aug. 19.