If not for a move by head coach Chris Parsons, Dakota Duplissie would likely be a starting striker for the University of Maine at Farmington men’s soccer team this season. But when Parsons left his job at UMF two years ago to become head soccer coach at Thomas College, he encouraged one of his prize recruits to join him.

“I was dead set on going to Farmington,” said Duplissie, who at the time was an star forward at Maranacook. “Parsons called me and said ‘I got the job at Thomas.’ All of a sudden I switched.”

The move has worked out well. Duplissie is thriving at Thomas this season, his second with the Terriers, and so is the team which is 5-0-1 in North Atlantic Conference play and 9-2-2 overall. Duplissie is one of the reasons for the team’s success. He’s second in scoring with six goals and leads the team in assists with six.

“We’ve got a good group of guys,” Duplissie said. “We have a wide variety of countries. Just by being around these guys I’ve gotten better.”

Thirteen of the players on the Thomas roster are from outside the United States and their diversity has drawn the team closer.

“These guys are closer because they come from different places,” Parsons said. “They’re kind of a support group for each other.”

Duplissie said he’s improved by being around better players, but despite his high school credentials — 30 goals, eight assists his senior year at Maranacook — his freshman season was a bit of a transition for him. This past summer he worked at a youth camp where he swam and worked, consequently coming back in better shape.

“He’s more of a key player on our team,” Parsons said. “His job on our team is very specific. He’s a target. He’s to win the ball and hold onto the ball.”

At 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds, Duplissie presents a big target. He works particularly well with fellow forward Michael Hand, a junior from Essex, England who leads the team with 10 goals. The 5-8, 143-pound Hand and Duplissie a contrast in size but complement one another well.

“We’re close on and off the field,” Duplissie said. “He’s not a big guy but his football knowledge is something like I’ve never seen before.”

Duplissie leads the Terriers in shots with 58, 22 of which have been on goal.

“Dakota’s got one of the best shots I’ve seen in college in 13 years,” Parsons said. “We’re working on accuracy.”

The Terriers play a key game at home tonight on their new turf field against Maine Maritime Academy. David Clough, a former teammate of Duplissie’s at Maranacook is one of the key players for the Mariners. Win or lose, the Terriers are virtually assured of a home playoff game in the conference playoffs, but the Terriers would much prefer the top seed. The camaraderie on the team, Duplissie said is one of the primary reasons for its success.

“We click on and off the field,” he said. “It translates into practices.”

A sports management major, Duplissie is happy at Thomas whether he’s playing soccer or not.

“It’s a good school,” he said. “There are small classes. You get to know teachers on a personal level. I enjoy it.”

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

[email protected]

 

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