FORT KENT, Maine — Four champion Fort Kent Community High School athletes have committed to play for the University of Maine at Fort Kent Lady Bengals soccer team in the fall.
The Lady Bengals’ head coach, Alex Smith, recruited Riley Sibley, Desirae Hafford, Amanda Thibeault and Samantha Roy, all of Fort Kent, to join the team. The four teens have been playing soccer together since they were old enough to play Fort Kent recreational soccer.
The recruits were key players when the Fort Kent Warrior girls won the Class C championship in 2018. They were also Class C North champions and runners up in the state championship last fall.
The Lady Bengals also know a thing or two about winning championships. This past fall the Bengals won their third United States Collegiate Athletic Association championship in four years.
Their latest championship took place under the guidance of Smith, who said he scouted the Fort Kent girls at games and practices before asking them to join the team.
“The talent is here. We either use the talent to our advantage or someone uses the talent against UMFK; it’s a no-brainer,” Smith said about the Fort Kent girls.
The girls said they are excited to join the university team, both academically and athletically.
“I think it would be cool to get my education all on one street, and I’m just not ready to give up sports yet. I’d still like to keep that up,” Sibley said, referring to her attendance at Fort Kent Elementary School, which is located on Pleasant Street along with Fort Kent Community High School and the University of Maine at Fort Kent.
Sibley is a standout soccer player as well as skier who frequently races into the top spots at alpine events.
Her step-sister, Allie Daigle, also plays soccer for the university, and Sibley said she is looking forward to the opportunity to join her on the soccer field again as she did when the two played together at Fort Kent Community High School several years ago.
The Fort Kent girls have more than sports in mind for their futures at the university as all have clear academic goals. Sibley and Roy plan to study nursing; Hafford, criminal justice; and Thibeault, business.
There is also some comfort in staying close to home.
“I don’t want to go away from my family. I’d rather stay here,” Hafford said.
The tight-knit family values inherent to the St. John Valley also played a role in Thibeault’s decision to continue her education at the Fort Kent university and play for the Lady Bengals.
“It’s always been my dream to go to UMFK because my dad did,” Thibeault said. “I want to stay where my roots grow.”
The four soccer players agree that whatever their future holds as college-level athletes, they will be there to support and encourage one another to success.
“We just push each other and work well together,” Sibley said.
Sibley is the daughter of Gary and Shondelle Sibley, and Kelly and John Naranja. Hafford is the daughter of Toby Hafford and Kim Paradis. Thibeault is the daughter of Cheryl and Dana Thibeault. Roy is the daughter of Jennifer and Alan Roy.