The only thing that didn’t go according to plan for the Seacoast United boys under-19 soccer team over the weekend was travel to and from Indiana.

“Our flight got delayed, our bags got lost and we missed a (connecting) flight,” said Jarred Greenleaf, who will be a senior at Scarborough High in the fall. Team manager Kelly Smith “had to pick us up in Chicago and drive us to Indiana.”

The sting of the travel delay was overwhelmed by winning the U.S. Club Soccer National Cup XVI championship on Monday in Westfield, Indiana. Seacoast United beat the Eastern FC Spurs of New York 3-1 for the Topsham-based program’s second national championship in as many years. A U-17 boys team won a national title in 2016.

“We knew we’d be contenders,” Seacoast United head coach Adrian Dubois said. “This squad’s been together for years, and they’ve been one of the best teams Maine’s ever had.”

Seacoast United qualified for the national tournament by winning the four-team Maine state tournament. At nationals, teams play in either Super or Premier brackets.

“Premier is basically the lower division to Super,” Dubois said. “We didn’t go in Super because we left a couple of our players behind.”

For the U-19 boys, 10 teams played in Super and six in Premier. Seacoast United won all three games in pool play to advance to the national finals. After allowing a quick goal on a free kick five minutes into the game, the team from Maine tied it, went ahead 15 minutes later and scored again in the 80th minute.

“Everyone was telling us that we had a pretty good chance of bringing it home,” Greenleaf said. “And we knew that too, so we just gave it our best effort and got the best of it.”

The squad finished second in a New England tournament held in Massachusetts three weeks ago, and Dubois said that performance instilled confidence in the players.

Training for the season began in early December, and the team played more than two dozen games over the course of the winter, spring and summer months.

“We knew we could win,” said Dubois, who is also the head coach of the men’s soccer program at St. Joseph’s College. “We have a really good team. … You have to give a lot of credit to this particular group of boys for playing together and buying into my philosophies and game strategy. It’s a tight group.”

Seacoast outscored the opposition 9-2 over the entire tournament. Chris Franklin, a recent Scarborough High graduate headed for Wesleyan University, played goal and former Red Storm teammate Spencer Pettengill was at center back.

“The players in that (back) line haven’t changed a ton,” Greenleaf said, “so we all know everybody’s strengths and weaknesses. (Franklin) did phenomenal, too.”

Pettengill plans to play at Bridgton Academy in the fall. Greenleaf split duties between center midfield and right and left back.

Two other players from greater Portland were on the roster of 16: Greely senior Quinn Molloy and Mt. Ararat junior Travis Nadeau. Five players hail from central Maine and the rest come from the Bangor area, including recent Bangor Christian graduate Tyler Welch, who led the team with four goals and is the only holdover from the 2016 U-17 national championship squad.

“I think people underestimate kids coming from central Maine,” said Hayden Elwell of Maranacook. “There’s talent all over the state that people don’t really see. Maine has a lot better players than people would think.”

Cole Smith, a midfielder for Messalonskee, took great pride in playing an outside back role for a group that allowed only two goals in four games.

“In our third game, we went up pretty early and pretty much knew that we had a strong chance of going through (to the finals),” he said. “We just had to hold things down defensively against a pretty physical team. It feels pretty good.”

Smith said it’s hard to to be surprised that the team won the national title, even though it had high expectations.

“We wanted to keep it going for Seacoast,” Smith said. “I was somewhat surprised. Obviously, we wanted to win, but it’s a hard thing to just expect that you’re going to just go and win a national championship.”

“Over the whole weekend, we’re there to win, but we’re also there to have fun,” Elwell said. “Watching a couple other games, there were kids yelling at their own teammates when they make mistakes, and it feels to me like this team is probably the best team to play on. With the friendships we have, the characters we have on the team, we have fun together on and off the field.”

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