FARMINGTON — It has become the flip seen round the world.

Well, at least the country.

A stylishly unorthodox goal off a flip throw-in by a freshman on the University of Maine-Farmington men’s soccer team has drawn national attention after the video went viral following the Beavers’ 8-1 victory Sunday over Green Mountain College.

The video shows Luke Sterling, a graduate of Edward Little High School in Auburn, using a flip throw-in from the left sideline to hurl the ball toward the goal. The ball sails down and off the hands of Green Mountain goalkeeper Samuel Nichols, landing in the net just 2:11 into the contest.

The play was No. 10 on the ESPN show “SportsCenter’s Top 10” segment. It has also appeared on FOX Sports.

“I’ve gotten a lot of messages on Facebook and Twitter just saying congratulations, texts and stuff,” said Sterling, after the Beavers dropped a 3-1 decision to North Atlantic Conference rival Thomas College on Wednesday afternoon. “I’ve been getting random friend requests (from people I don’t know).

“Everyone’s talking about it (on campus). I’ll see someone and they’ll say, ‘Hi, heard about your throw-in. Nice to meet you,’ and stuff like that.”

Sterling said he has just “let it happen” when it comes to the additional attention he and his teammates received at the small college with less than 2,000 full-time undergraduate students.

“It’s been crazy. It’s the only thing anyone’s been talking about all day,” said teammate Uriah Forest-Bulley, a senior from Turner Falls. “It’s been the only thing on the Facebook feed.”

“It’s all over the place. Every time you get on Facebook or Twitter or anywhere, a new story has popped up or someone else has gotten hold of it,” added UMF head coach Tommy DiNuzzo. “It’s been fun. It’s been good for the guys and I know they’re enjoying it. Luke’s a humble, modest kid, so I think that this is cool for him, and he’s just been taking it in stride. He’s handled it really well.”

Sterling said he’s worked on flip throw-in techniques since middle school. The skill is now a major asset for him on the field.

“That is definitely a weapon,” said Eric Knight, a Harpswell native and sophomore on the Thomas College men’s soccer team. “If they can get that accurately in the box, anybody can get a head on that.”

Knight said he saw Sterling’s “crazy goal” Wednesday morning on ESPN. He received an up-close look at the throw later in the afternoon at Bob Leib Field in Farmington when the Terriers played the Beavers.

Sterling picked up an assist on UMF’s first goal Wednesday when a flip throw-in led to a Forest-Bulley goal midway through the first half in a 3-1 Thomas victory.

“I knew he was throwing it near post that time because I knew it was pretty far back,” Forest-Bulley said. “I’m a basketball player, too, so I just tried to box out the guy behind me and get something on it. I don’t know where their goalie was, but he seemed out of position, and I got a lucky goal out of it.”

While his throw-in goal has gone viral, it is hardly why Sterling ended up at UMF. Though just a freshman, he has started in 11 of 13 games, scored a pair of goals and notched seven assists.

“Honestly, the flip throw didn’t even matter to us in the recruiting process. We didn’t even really notice it,” DiNuzzo said. “He’s just a hardworking kid, a versatile kid and brings a 100 percent every single time he’s out there.

“He’s done a good job this year and asserted himself right from Day 1, so he’s very confident for a freshman, and that’s been important for him this year.”

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley


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