WATERVILLE — Dakota Duplissie is a self-described “Maine boy.”

A former standout soccer player at Maranacook Community High School, Duplissie is now in his senior year at Thomas College and a captain on the men’s soccer team.

The life-long Mainer intended on playing soccer and getting an education, but as he begins the final chapter in his collegiate career it has been pretty clear that the Sports Management major has gotten much more than just that.

Playing soccer at Thomas has provided a peek into cultures well beyond his backyard.

“It’s definitely very culturally different and a lot different from playing in high school — being a Maine boy and living in Maine my entire life,” Duplissie said. “It’s cool seeing (these people from) other countries.”

The 2014 version of the Thomas men’s soccer team will have a distinctly international flavor as coach Chris Parsons has used his connections to build a roster featuring eight players from Bermuda, six from Sweden and one from the southeast African nation of Malawi.

“I went to school here in the early 90s and there have been kids here that were recruited for soccer from Bermuda since the 70s,” Parsons said. “Then it just kind of evolved to something for the kids where it was a good fit for them.”

Parsons would not say who his contacts are in Bermuda and Sweden, but it would seem that they are paying off. The Terriers are the two-time defending North Atlantic Conference champs and appear poised for another strong season. In the preseason poll they were picked to finish second behind Castleton.

According to Parsons, his team’s diverse background has helped bring his team closer together so far this season.

“We’re one of the most diverse soccer teams I know but it brings them closer together because we have so many kids that are from so far away that this really is their second home now,” Parsons said. “This year’s team is one of the closest teams we’ve had, That was one of the things we identified in the first three days.”

Some of the players admit though, it was a little challenging at first going from somewhere like Sweden or Bermuda to Waterville.

“It’s hard in the beginning. You come here, you don’t have any friends,” Lukas Bohman, a junior captain from Gnesta, Sweden, said. “I mean it’s the same thing for everybody but time goes along and you meet new people and playing on a team helps a lot. Having teammates to rely on and talk to. This is my third year and I feel at home.”

The experience has been similar for the Terriers’ other captain, senior goalkeeper Shaquille Trott. A native of Pembroke, Bermuda, Trott — whose uncle Michael is in the Thomas Athletic Hall of Fame — played at South Kent School in Conn. prior to arriving in Waterville.

“That was a big jump, then coming to college it wasn’t much of a transition because prep school and college soccer is a lot alike,” Trott said. “It was just playing with people from a lot of different countries was one of the best things I could see because we learned so much about yourself and you learn more about what’s out there.”

There has not been too much of a language barrier for the players to deal with, as English is the official language of Bermuda and it is a part of schooling in Sweden. Although, Trott said there have been a few issues where accents have come into play.

“Coming from Bermuda a lot of the times we speak a lot faster. I remember it was my freshman year and me and another one of my Bermudese teammates were arguing. It was probably about football,” Trott said. “It was a Swedish kid, he came up to us and said, ‘what language are you guys speaking in?’ He couldn’t understand us. We said, ‘we’re speaking in English,’ and he said, ‘that’s not English. That’s not English at all.'”

On the soccer field, however, the Terriers have been speaking the same language and they are hoping that translates into a third NAC title in a row this fall.

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

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Twitter: @Evan_Crawley