ORONO, Maine — The University of Maine women’s soccer team will have a new look this season.

Coach Scott Atherley, in his 17th season directing the fortunes of the Black Bears, will have seven Europeans on the roster this season to go with nine Americans and eight Canadians.

The seven Europeans is four more than the previous high of three established last season.

In addition to those three returning players — sophomores Vivien Beil from Germany and Kate Evans from England along with senior Riin Emajoe of Estonia — UMaine has added Germans Theresa Gosch and Annalena Kriebisch and Norwegians Emilie Andersen and Beate Naglestad.

“That certainly changes the dynamics of our program for a couple of reasons,” said Atherley. “All of them are older when they arrive, and they all come from very accomplished club team backgrounds that mirror their professional clubs.

“They are very focused on getting a great education and playing competitive soccer. They are very committed to those two endeavors,” he added. “Soccer maybe has had a little more significance in their lives than it has for American and Canadian kids because of the culture they grew up around. They were always surrounded by it.”

Atherley began recruiting in Europe because the rest of the American college coaching community joined him in discovering the talent in Canada.

His Class of 2004 was headlined by six Canadians who were instrumental in turning the program around. It was rated the 50th best recruiting class among 272 Division I teams in the country.

Atherley expects all seven of the European players to have a significant impact this season.

Two already made an impact a year ago as midfielder Beil was chosen the America East Rookie of the Year after being the team’s second-leading scorer (three goals, five assists) and Evans was a productive midfielder who started 16 of the 19 games.

The American model for women is much different than the European one. Virtually all of the U.S. national team players played college soccer. In Europe, there aren’t college teams. Players are developed by club teams. They attend college just for the education.

None of the European players visited Maine before committing to the school. They researched it on the internet and Atherley was “very convincing,” Beil said.

“It’s an attractive place to be. I love the landscape,” said Evans. “Education is really important to all of us, and here we can combine soccer and academics. I really like that.”

Liis Emajoe, Riin’s older sister, is now the assistant coach at UMaine after playing for the Black Bears.

She said Maine reminds her of Estonia with the climate and the nature.

“It feels like home. And I really like the people here. They are really supportive, which is why I stuck around,” said Emajoe.

“The people are so friendly and the landscape is beautiful,” said Kriebisch, who is a goalkeeper.

Naglestad likes the fact that her teammates are also her classmates.

“It’s easier. Back home, you had one group of friends at school and then you’d go to practice with another group of friends,” said Naglestad, a striker. “Here you have one big group of friends.”

Riin Emajoe said the level of play is better than in Estonia.

“It’s like a professional level here,” she said.

The players are looking forward to the season. UMaine hosts Division II Assumption College (Massachusetts) for an exhibition game 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 16, before officially opening the season at LIU-Brooklyn on Friday, Aug. 19.