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'Maine Footy' announced as the newest member of United Women's Soccer league

The pro-am team will provide athletes on and off-the-field opportunities with a commitment to the community and local youth programs. The team will play in 2023.

MAINE, USA — As much of the country treats the symptoms for "soccer fever," an announcement Wednesday will only prolong the symptoms here in Maine.

'Maine Footy' was announced as the newest member of the United Women's Soccer league. A total of 90 teams from across the country and Canada compete on teams filled with high-level college players, aspiring and former professionals, and international stars.

The team's decision also announced it would begin playing this May with roster, coaching, ticket sales, and merchandise decisions coming soon.

“Yeah, there’s a little soccer fever in America and here in Maine," Technical Director of Football Todd Sniper said. 

This club will be structured a little differently, Snipper added.

Through the non-profit FEAT Network, the team will donate ticket and merchandise sales to youth soccer programs and help boost the already growing Mane soccer community.

“So, a community-based soccer team is about relationships. It’s about knowing the players. It’s about having soccer women show up to clinics and camps," Sniper said.

Maine Footy will do more for their players than provide them with just on-field opportunities. Sniper said the team will look to provide off-the-field programs to help their athletes further their careers outside of soccer.

"What if a female player that wants to come in wants to be a doctor or an accountant? So, we’re creating this program where these players that do come in, we can give them internships," he added. "They play soccer, become an intern, and it sort of forwards their career in life. So, it’s a path, and soccer, again, it could just be one part of their life.”

Credit: NCM

Maine will play in the New England region of United Women's Soccer. While the home stadium hasn't been announced, Sniper said the team is looking to work with a town or city to help grow the off-field programs.

As new Mainers come to our state from across the country and around the world, it's added more levels to the soccer community.

Colin Durrant is one of those soccer die-hards who moved to Maine and is one member of an Independent Supporters Group, helping to bring a professional men's soccer team to Portland.

“[We're] not connected to the club at all, just a passionate group of fans, that like from day one we’ll be in the stands. We’ll march to the stadium and be in the stands screaming and yelling," Durrant said on Wednesday.

During the World Cup, Durrant has been at multiple watch parties at bars around Portland packed with fans all supporting Team USA as they advanced to the knockout round.

"I’m not surprised because I think that passion is there. I think that excitement is there," he said.

Soccer is growing at the youth level too. Brett Allen is the co-owner of the Maine Athletic Complex in Portland and the All-Pro Sports Center in Waterville. 

The two indoor complexes offer soccer programming for kids multiple nights a week, and Allen said soccer is becoming more of a four-season sport in Maine as youth clubs play year-round. Allen, who has coached lacrosse for youth and college teams, also said all youth sports are getting more developed.

“There’s more structure. There’s more organization and structure from adults," Allen added. “[Programs have] had more kids go on to college and be able to participate there which is a pretty cool thing.”

Maine Footy will begin its debut season in May, and the season runs through the summer. The US will play The Netherlands in the World Cup Round of 16 Saturday morning. 

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