Friday, November 27, 2020

Windham Youth Soccer Association seeks support after signs vandalized

Signs at the Windham Youth Soccer
Association's Gambo Field in Windham
like this one were vandalized earlier this month.
The WYSA is now considering closing field
access during the off-season when there are
no field activities happening during business
hours. SUBMITTED PHOTO
By Matt Pascarella

The Windham Youth Soccer Association did not ask sponsors for donations when it began to financially navigate the pandemic several months ago.

With the continued support of their team of volunteers and generous donations from past years, they were fortunate enough to be able to have a season this fall.

On Nov. 9, the signs at WYSA’s Gambo Field in Windham were found vandalized. There are plans to replace the signs before the start of the next season. This added expense, among others, makes it difficult for the organization and they could use your help.

The Windham Youth Soccer Association was founded 38 years ago with a mission to develop, promote and administer soccer programs for Windham residents ages 2 to 14. They are an integral part of the community, teaching the game to many who now may be teaching it to the next generation.

WYSA normally runs programs two to three times a year; a fall and spring program along with occasional clinics in the winter and summer. 

This year they had to cancel the spring sessions because of COVID-19. This put an additional financial burden on the organization; the fields and facilities still need to be maintained. WYSA is also committed to not increasing programming costs.

“Out of respect to local businesses being affected by Covid-19, WYSA elected not to solicit any sponsorship funding this year,” said WYSA board member and coach, Ken Clark. “WYSA is a 100 percent voluntary organization (and) relies on small participation fees to play and money from sponsors
to pay all the expenses that go along with running this organization.”

WYSA is contemplating closing field access to vehicles during the off-season when there are no soccer activities happening during field hours. Vehicle access to the boat launch and trestle would be eliminated due to increase in vandalism and cars speeding through the facility. 

Clark said that the added traffic has done damage to their roads and creates safety concerns when children are present. Gating the facility would prevent situations like this from happening in the future.

There has also been talk of security cameras, though that is a significant investment and could take away from WYSA’s ability to provide programming.

“While we are happy we were in a position to manage through this season, it has impacted our ability to continue to invest in our facility and programming,” said WYSA Treasurer Brian Dries.

Clark said that unexpected expenses like replacement of the sign have a detrimental effect on the budget.

“WYSA is run completely by volunteers and are always looking for those with interest in helping out to reach out to us, said Dries. “Volunteering has connected us better to the community, forged great bonds between people driven with a shared desire to promote great programming for kids in the Windham Community.” 

If you have interest in helping out, please check out their website at www.windhamyouthsoccer.com or email: President@windhamyouthsoccer.com.

If you are a business who would like to sponsor a team, find the information on the WYSA website about how to contribute.  

If you would like to make a donation, you can mail a check payable to:

Windham Youth Soccer Association to PO Box 389, Windham, Maine 04062. <

Outdoors: Five tips to make sporting outings more effective and fun

By Bob Chapin

Special to The Windham Eagle

For the most part, duck and goose seasons overlap each other. As a hunter, you want to be prepared for either species as you never know which will come to your decoys or which you may stumble across in a jump shooting situation. Shell belts have become very popular for storing your shells while providing ready access to them for follow-up shots or to change loads to match the species available. They also facilitate carrying them around with you as you scour the bogs. However, once the shell is loaded into a belt loop it is near impossible to determine whether it is a duck or goose load. The manufacturers don’t give us much help either as the markings that tell us what size load it is, how many drams of powder it contains and whether it is steel or lead shot are on the sides and tend to rub off after a few outings. In the excitement of an approaching flight in low light conditions, how do you know if the round you are pulling out is what you want? One solution I have used involves painting a stripe across the metal or primer end of my goose shells with White Appliance paint…the small bottles that come with a paint brush in the cap. I know at a glance which ones to pull when the geese approach.

It seems like no matter what kind of footwear I wear on hunting outings, leather boots, knee high rubber boots, or waders my feet would always get cold when on stand and not moving much. Now, when I get ready to leave home, I tape a chemical hand warmer to my socks right under my toes with masking tape. The chemical sacks stay put until I get my foot into a boot and they are small enough not to bunch up and hurt my toes. They make triangular toe chemical warmers that come with a sticky side to do the same thing, but I find they are not large enough to remain warm for the entire outing. You may be tempted to use Duct tape but I caution against that as the heat may cause the stickum to transfer to your sox and when they go through the wash they will become permanently sticky…word to the wise!

Scarves and neck gaiters, particularly the polypropylene kind, are a great contribution to your cold weather gear. They come now in various camo patterns to complement the rest of your ensemble and can be worn up or pushed down as needed. They can even replace a lost hat to keep your ears warm and as gloves in a pinch. With our recent COVID mask wearing experiences we are all used to the face being covered why not be warm as well!

Archers often save a group of arrow shafts for their hunting loads and use the rest of the dozen arrows that come in the box for target practice to minimize the variations in arrow flight. Even within the saved arrows they will number the shafts or light-colored vanes of the straightest arrows so they are assured the highest probability of true flight. They measure them on a straightness jig to the thousandths of an inch. Even the manufacturers
have caught on and marketing materials declare what the variation in straightness they “guarantee” they will have out of the box. Do not trust these claims…measure them for yourself and mark your arrows accordingly. The measuring gauges are relatively inexpensive and the cost of failure to fly true on a costly elk hunt is immeasurable.

Most folks like a hot beverage when they are sitting in a blind or on stand in the cold of a winter morning. Many lug a 24-ounce or greater thermos with them and at the end of the hunt are still lugging half the liquid around with them. Years ago, I switched to a 10-ounce thermos and I find that it holds all the liquid I need at half the weight. It has a push button stopper in it so I can pour without fear of the liquid rushing out and over running the small cup lid. It makes quite a popping sound when released so when on deer stands, I unscrew the whole stopper to avoid the noise that would not be necessary in a duck blind. It makes for fewer nature calls as well. I taped the barrel of mine with camo duct tape and spray painted the ends to avoid glare. <

Windham grad Ciera Berthiaume excels on and off soccer field at USM

Ciera Berthiaume goes up against a Western
Connecticut State opponent at the Little
East Conference game at Hannaford Field
in Gorham on Sept. 21, 2019.
PHOTO BY UNIVERSITY OF
SOUTHERN MAINE
By Matt Pascarella

University of Southern Maine senior, Ciera Berthiaume made a big impression at USM the moment she stepped on the soccer field. Since graduating from Windham High in 2016, she led the Huskies women’s team to their best record in school history. At the end of 2018, Berthiaume made it into the USM history books by scoring the second most goals in a season.

Even though USM did not have a 2020 fall season, last month she was honored as the “Husky Hero of the Week” for her accomplishments in previous seasons.

While at Windham High School, Berthiaume was a four-time Southern Maine Activities Association All-Conference player. She and her team won back-to-back state championships. She was named to the 2017 Maine State Class-A All-Star team and the All-New England Region team. 

Berthiaume wants to recognize the amazing teachers she had at Windham High School. They really helped her shape herself into being the person and student she is today. She really appreciates them putting up with her adolescent self. Teachers are extremely crucial to a student’s development and she thinks they deserve more recognition especially during COVID times.

An English major, Berthiaume took time off from soccer after she arrived at USM. Berthiaume had put a lot of time into the sport and felt burnt out her last year of high school. She wanted to figure out who she was outside of soccer. The time to recover did her well, because as soon as she stepped back on the field, she began to turn heads.

“Coming back onto the soccer scene I was mostly focused on being able to play a sport I love. I came in
excited to be a part of a team again and the new community I was joining,” she said.

While there was no 2020 fall season, Berthiaume and her teammates did get to practice, and it gave them a sense of normalcy in a year filled with uncertainty.

USM women’s soccer coach Seth Benjamin described her as a leader on the team.

Benjamin said she does well relating to other players, underclassmen as well as upperclassmen.  She was instrumental in putting herself in underclassmen’s shoes and that helped a lot of their younger players, especially this year.

It meant a lot to her to be the “Husky Hero of the Week.”

I was incredibly grateful to be recognized ... It really made me feel like I’m a part of the USM community,” she said. The people at USM have always been extremely welcoming and supportive.”

Berthiaume excels off the field as well. She received the William B. Wise Scholar-Athlete Award for two consecutive seasons. To receive this, athletes must have a minimum grade point average of 3.00 for fall and spring semesters, be a full time student and be a member of a varsity team for a full season.

Her biggest goal is to become an author. As a high school student, she loved reading and did it as much as possible. She enjoys writing poems in her free time and finds it therapeutic. She also likes to write coming of age stories. She hopes to write something that connects with and impacts a reader.

“She’s a phenomenal player,” said Benjamin. “We couldn’t ask for anything more from her ... she’s come through in the clutch so many times for us.” <

Friday, November 20, 2020

Cheerleading able to support Windham teams

The entire Windham High cheerleading team is
shown in a photo during the first 7 vs. 7 football
game at Windham on Oct. 24. Cheerleaders
include Briley Smart, Bria Campobasso, Riley
Parker, Elexis Crommet, Kenzie Leask, Chloe
Fitts, Natalie Adams and Celina Sayed. 
PHOTO BY BARI CAMPOBASSO 

By Matt Pascarella

In her first year as head coach of the Windham High School cheerleading team, Bari Campobasso knew there was a high probability of not having a regular season because of COVID-19. It was very important to Campobasso and Windham athletic director, Rich Drummond, that whatever they could provide or create for the team be done. This season was about coaches, staff, athletic department and others making the most of whatever they could for the teams and students athletes.

The cheerleading team originally didn’t think they would be able to attend games, so their practices consisted of conditioning, jumping and motion drills, going over technique and making posters to show support for fall teams.

The squad had their first team meeting in early September and shortly thereafter their first team practice. They practiced twice a week and later bumped it up to three times a week. The team was able to cheer at two 7 on 7 football games and two boys’ varsity soccer games.

Campobasso said when they were able to cheer at a few games it was huge. It goes without saying that this was an unusual season. In accordance with MPA guidelines, they did not do any tumbling or stunting, which is building a pyramid displaying dexterity and skill. All practices were held outside and the athletes were masked and stood six feet apart.

Although there were no spectators, they were able to cheer and show their support for the Windham High School teams. Campobasso said she was grateful the team was able to experience what they could, especially the seniors.

“The season’s definitely been different,” said senior Bria Campobasso. “It’s not what we’re used to, but
I know we’re appreciative to be back and cheering for the boys.” Campobasso went on to say the team’s favorite thing was being back together, being able to socialize and be back with everybody and to have a sense of normalcy.

Coach Campobasso added she is trying to expand the program and get the team more involved in different ways within the school and community. Recently, she did Virtual Storytime Videos for Windham Primary School & Raymond Elementary students. The team made videos of themselves reading a children’s story, in their uniform, and submitted it to the RSU14 webmaster for the Elementary students to access so they could be read to by the Windham High School Cheerleaders. 

“There are a lot of little eyes on this team that watch what they do and how they act. It is important that
they lead by example and encourage others to do the same,” said Campobasso.

It is important that the Windham High School cheerleading team is a positive role model, not just for younger kids, but to their peers as well. Campobasso said her team can accomplish this by promoting kindness & positivity, having good attitudes, leading by example, being supportive, promoting strength & confidence and being approachable.

“I’m extremely proud to have these girls as my team this season,” said coach Campobasso. “The majority of them showed dedication, perseverance, adaptability and all with good attitudes. I know they all wanted to be able to do more this season ... but they never (waiver) from being there.” <

Friday, November 13, 2020

Windham varsity and junior varsity boys’ soccer give all, but Scarborough narrowly gets by

Windham varsity soccer player Ethan
Wert, a senior, takes the ball away
from a defender and heads toward
the goal in Windham's home game
against Scarborough on Nov. 6.
Windham kept Scarborough from
scoring for more than a half.
Scarborough did get one by the
goalkeeper for a 1-0 win.
PHOTO BY MATT PASCARELLA
By Matt Pascarella

The Windham High School varsity and junior varsity boys’ soccer teams kept rival Scarborough scoreless for the first halves of each game, and then some on Friday, Nov. 6 at Windham.

After the varsity team held its own against this tough team, the Red Storm managed to score halfway through the second half and got a 1-0 win. Scarborough scored back-to-back goals late in the second half against the JV team and won 2-0.

Varsity

Windham’s varsity started strong, pressuring Scarborough. In only his second varsity start, filling in as goalie, junior Colby Connolly had several nice stops and blocks.

Windham held off Scarborough in the first half and showed they have grown as a program. Windham coach Ben Schulz said they still have some work to reach an upper echelon like Scarborough but added “I’m proud of them; we worked hard, but sometimes the ball doesn’t go your way.”

Windham’s intensity didn’t let up in the second half. There was roughly 18 minutes left in the game when Scarborough scored. As the clock wound down, Windham made one final effort to tie. Unfortunately, they came up short and Scarborough got the win.

“This is probably the best we’ve played in seasons,” said Windham captain and junior Wyatt Flibbert. “I’m pretty happy with how we played as a team ... we gave up that goal, but we worked hard and almost got one back there at the end ... definitely worked a lot harder than in the past.”

Junior Varsity

The Windham JV team also had a scoreless first half, pressuring the Red Storm, with strong defense and multiple nice stops by Windham sophomore goalie Sam Plummer.

“I think we could have played a lot better, said Windham junior Will Stewart. “Towards the second half we cleaned it up.”

Stewart said they didn’t have the energy they needed in the first half. In the second half they connected
more passes, made better runs and had more shots on goal, they just could put any in.

In the second half, the Eagles continued to pressure with shots on goal and several blocks from Plummer. With a little more than eight minutes left, Scarborough scored. Then with a little less than seven minutes left Scarborough scored again. Windham put in a strong effort, but never recovered and Scarborough won 2-0.

“I think they found the fight they needed (in the second half)” said Windham coach Mitchell Hodge. “They worked and held them off. We had moments where we were flat, but never stopped working, never stopped staying engaged. It’s not the outcome we wanted. We made the adjustments we needed to, just couldn’t hold them off the whole way.”<

Prep football’s ‘Big Man Challenge’ a competition mixed with comradery

Windham varsity football player Fisher Allen,
a junior, flips a tire as fast as he can up the field
during Windham's Big Man Challenge
on Monday, Nov. 2 at Windham,
PHOTO BT MATT PASCARELLA
By Matt Pascarella

It was cold and windy on Monday, Nov. 2 but the chilly weather didn’t seem to affect Windham’s varsity and junior varsity football teams, it only seemed to energize them. Windham competed against Lewiston, at Windham, in the Big Man Challenge meet, a competition with training exercises to work on skill and to get better on the football field.

The Big Man Challenge was broken into several events: a tire flip, a tire toss, an iron sled pull, an ultimate relay, a tug-o-war and a pro shuttle which is a back and forth 10-yard run. Despite that fact these two teams were competing, I saw encouragement from both teams geared toward their competitor. It seemed to be just as much about team building as who wins or loses.

Freshman Nathanial Allen said, “It was a pretty funny experience, we had a fun time, we don’t really get to do this often. It’s pretty fun to have other teams come in and just have some fun and competition.”

The varsity players beat Lewiston with a combined score of 41-29 for all events.

The junior varsity lost to Lewiston with a combined score of 35-16 for all events.

In the tug-o-war, in which both Windham JV and varsity teamed up, Windham clinched a 10-5 win over
the Blue Devils. In the ultimate relay, Windham defeated Lewiston 10-5.

After combining the scores from all events Windham beat Lewiston 77-74.

“(I’m) hoping these guys get a chance to compete against each other and have fun, that’s the biggest hope,” said coach Matt Perkins. (Windham) did great, they competed and had fun. I thought they did a great job and excited to be out here, encourage each other so it was good to see.”<

Friday, November 6, 2020

Windham Under-14 boys’ soccer beats Cape Elizabeth for regional title

Windham Youth Soccer's Zac Noonan stops a 
Cape Elizabeth player with Ben Shaw backing 
Noonan up. The WYSA Under-14 boys had an 
undefeated season (9-0) after beating Falmouth
and Cumberland in the playoffs. They had a 5-2
win over Cape Elizabeth during the regional 
championship game on Nov. 1 at Fitzpatrick Stadium
in Portland. PHOTO BY KIM SHAW
By Patrick Noonan

Special to The Windham Eagle

The Windham Youth Soccer Association’s Under-14 boys’ travel team had an exciting finish to the final round of the 2020 Soccer Maine Fall Classic. They were ranked first overall going into the tournament.

On Saturday, Oct. 31, Windham beat Cumberland, breaking a 1-1 tie, to get a 3-1 win. In the Nov. 1 regional championship, played at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland, Windham battled aggressive Cape Elizabeth and came from behind with a 2-1 halftime deficit to secure the championship and a 5-2 win over Cape Elizabeth.

In the final week of the regular season, the team ended with a record of 6-0. In the preliminary playoff round, Windham beat Falmouth 4-1 at home. Two second half goals helped Windham beat Cumberland after a 1-1 tie on Saturday, Oct. 31 at Gambo Field in Windham to achieve a 3-1 win. Windham players Oliver Weatherby, Luke Cunniffe and Sam Rogers each scored.

In the first half of the regional championship, played Nov. 1 at Fitzpatrick Field in Portland, Windham’s Rogers scored a goal. The second half was a back and forth game with the Windham defenders playing strong. Windham came together with sharp offensive passing and strong possession-based play in the middle.

The momentum changed midway through the second half of play, when Windham scored the tying goal after a laser shot by Cunniffe just inside the 18-yard line. Five minutes later Rogers added the go-ahead goal with a feed from Cunniffe. With less than four minutes to play, Creighty Dickson had a left side break-away with a low hard shot that ricocheted off the Cape goalie to the 18 yard line and was finished by Carter Engelman.

Rogers completed the hat trick with a third and final goal with time waning. Windham’s defense held strong and did not allow any additional goals which was led by Windham goalie Luke Hammond, the three defensive backs, Zac Noonan, Connor Gallant and Rory Good and the two defensive midfielders, Evan Yale and Ben Shaw. Windham goals came from Engelman, Cunniffe and three by Rogers to complete the undefeated season, 9-0, and the win over Cape Elizabeth.

“With all the unknowns due to COVID-19 we were really happy just to be allowed to play soccer this season,” said coach Mike Cunniffe. “This group of players have put in countless hours of game time, practice, and dedication to the soccer program over the years. To see all their hard work pay off in their final season together was incredible. Some of these kids have been playing Windham Travel Soccer for over six years. For me, to be a part of their development and lives since they were seven or eight year old boys has been such a privilege.  I see them now as incredible young men and the sky is the limit for them.”

Players agreed.

It was different to not take throw-ins, that changed things a lot,” said eighth grader Oliver Weatherby.
“Wearing masks on the bench was not fun. We had to get our temperatures checked before every game and practice and it was stressful because if your temperature was too high you couldn’t play. Getting a chance to play on turf for our championship was pretty cool. I was stressed but confident given our record for the season (8-0; leading up to the championship).”
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