Kris Kelly (left) and Kaylyn Krul (second right), pictured with teammate Ella Pierce (with gold ball) and coach Meredith Messer, have been named United Soccer Coaches All-Americans. Messer was chosen the national girls soccer coach of the year by the National Federation of State High School Associations. Credit: Ali Tobey

Meredith Messer led Camden Hills to an 18-0 record and its fourth straight Class A girls soccer state championship last fall.

That performance earned her the nod as the National Federation of State High School Associations National Coach of the Year for girls soccer.

“It’s totally overwhelming. I don’t think it has sunk in yet,” the 47-year-old Messer said.

“It is an affirmation of how hard the girls have worked over the last several years, really,” she said.

The 47-year-old Messer was in Baltimore on Friday where she is attending the United Soccer Coaches convention. There, Windjammers dynamic, three-time All-America forward Kris Kelly was to be honored as the national player of the year.

Camden Hills’ seniors posted a four-year record of 70-1-1.

Messer completed her 25th season at Camden Hills in 2019 and said she is a much different coach now than when she began coaching.

“I really appreciate the fact I’ve been allowed to make my mistakes, learn from them and get better,” Messer said. “Over the years, I’ve figured out what works and what doesn’t work, and I’ve stuck with what works.”

The former Meredith Hews, who played on back-to-back state Class D basketball teams at Washburn High School in 1988 and 1989, said she has learned over the years that her players appreciate honesty and having a voice.

“I’ve learned how to provide them the opportunity to share their concerns, their successes and their goals,” Messer said. “I’ve learned how to make it OK for them to compete [against each other] in practice. After some of our practices, each player will pick a teammate to thank for making them work hard.

“Creating a culture and an environment has been my contribution to our success,” she said.

Messer said it is important to challenge all of her players in practice for them to be able to step it up a notch in high-stakes games.

Messer, who is a math teacher at Camden Hills High School, graduated from Washburn in 1990 and attended the University of New England in Biddeford for one year. She transferred to the University of Maine at Farmington where she earned her teaching degree.

Messer played soccer at UNE and UMF.

Kelly, a senior who will attend Central Connecticut State next fall, notched 49 goals and 20 assists last season and concluded her career with 159 goals. That ranks third all-time in state schoolgirl history behind Lee Academy’s Shelby Pickering (178) and Waterville’s Jordan Pellerin (171).