MARS HILL, Maine — For the first time in school history, the Panthers are boys state soccer champions.
The Central Aroostook High School boys soccer team celebrated as the Class D champions after victory over North Yarmouth on Saturday, finishing the season 11-0-3.
Head Coach Wallace Endy has led the team since the boys were in middle school — with the exception of their eighth-grade year. “I was fortunate enough to coach them since sixth grade,” he said.
During a celebration with family and friends on Monday night, Endy explained his respect for his players and his own coaching style. When asked how he inspired the team to pull together for its win over North Yarmouth, Endy said it came down to the players’ own teamwork and determination.
“I only tell them what I see,” Endy said. He asked the boys at halftime what they thought of how they were playing and where they could improve. “They came out at half and they were a different team.”
“This group of kids, they’re so willing to do whatever you ask of them,” Endy said.
The mutual love and admiration between the boys and Endy was evident as they celebrated their new title, surrounded by friends and family.
“You guys have accomplished things that may not be accomplished ever again,” Endy said to his team.
Senior player Brayden Bradbury said that Endy’s dedication to the boys made the team what it is. Although Endy began coaching the team in middle school, most of the boys had already played youth soccer together years before.
Endy watched them grow up and he created relationships with each of the boys early on. “I think he really saw our potential at a young age,” Bradbury said.
“He really loves us more than just soccer players,” senior player Zach O’Leary said about Endy. He said the coach often texts the boys, just to check in with them.
Before the celebration, Endy told the seniors to prepare speeches, just in case.
While he seemed grateful that no one asked him to speak that night, O’Leary still talked about the impact the coach has had on his high school athletic career.
During the championship game, he noticed the North Yarmouth coach pulling aside one of his players during a break and yelling at him for his performance.
Endy led the team with a different approach. He inspired confidence in his players and showed them how he cared for them as people not just players, O’Leary explained.
“I loved every moment I spent on and off the field with Wally, and [I’m] jealous of these underclassmen that get a few more years with this amazing coach,” he wrote.