GARDINER — There was a buzz around Hoch Field.

Area soccer teams were getting ready to take action on the field, while volunteers worked the snack shacks, getting food and drinks ready for players and fans alike.

It was the kind of happening that would have brought a smile to the face of Chase Fossett.

And, in knowing it was a soccer tournament in his honor, it probably would have also brought a bit of embarrassment.

“Embarrassed is the right word,” laughed Scott Fossett, Chase’s father.

“He did not want to be the center of attention at all,” added Hannah Fossett, Chase’s sister.


“I’m sure he’ll throw down some lightning when we give our speeches,” said Laura Fossett, Chase’s mother.

Saturday was the inaugural Love and Light for Chase soccer tournament, in memory of Fossett, a 2020 Gardiner Area High School graduate and junior at Maine Maritime Academy who, along with three fellow MMA students, was killed Dec. 10, 2022 in an automobile accident in Castine. Fossett was 21 years old.

There was a nod to Chase Fossett in almost every aspect of the tournament, from the event T-shirts bearing his name, to “Chase’s Snack Shack,” located next to the field, a tribute to a lemonade and pastry stand he started when he was 7 years old.

“The community, right from the start, has been wonderful,” Laura Fossett said. “Just showing up, to bringing food, supporting, calling, asking if there’s anything (that needs to be done), and just doing, without asking. That’s been great. Chase’s coach, Nick (Wallace) and I were on the same page to do something with soccer, and he really took the reins with the soccer tournament. … The community has been wonderful, and we’re just so happy with that and very thankful.

“(The love and light theme) just kind of came,” Laura Fossett added. “I don’t know if somebody just spoke it to me, but (we decided) we’re not sitting in this darkness (after Chase’s death), it’s only light.”

Boys and girls soccer teams from Gardiner, Mt. Blue, Skowhegan, Waterville and Morse hit the field for the all-day tournament. Teams played 30-minute games, with running time. Skowhegan topped Mt. Blue 2-0 in penalty kicks to win the girls title in the morning, while the boys tournament took place in the afternoon. An alumni tournament — which included five to six teams — wrapped up the evening, according to Gardiner boys soccer head coach Nick Wallace.


“We’ve been wanting to get an alumni (game) going for a long time,” Wallace said. “So we figured this would not only be a great way to get our alumni involved, as well as his former teammates. But it’s also a way to participate in a game and have more fun. This will be my 12th year here (in the fall), and this is the first time we’ll have one since I’ve been here.”

Wallace said he plans for the tournament to become an annual event. Fossett played soccer — and also was a team captain — under Wallace at Gardiner.

“He wasn’t a vocal leader, but he was the strong, silent type,” Wallace said. “He always led by example. He never gave up. In the voices of my own players, you’d go at him in a drill, and if you beat him, he’d go back to the same spot and do it again. He never got flustered. He was a kid that literally epitomized what you looked for in a quiet leader.”

Natalie Fossett, left, and her mother Laura Fossett listen as her father Scott Fossett speaks about his late son Chase to all eight teams assembled at midfield during the Love and Light For Chase soccer tournament Saturday at Hoch Field in Gardiner. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Fossett’s quiet demeanor also got a kick out of his friends and teammates.

“We had a pep rally for (a game against) Maranacook our senior year,” friend and former teammate Jackson Tweedy said. “We’re supposed to give a talk on the middle of the gym floor (to the student body), and we all said, ‘Chase, you’re talking today.’ He’s like, ‘No, no I’m not.’ As soon as we get the microphone, we hand it to Chase, and he doesn’t know what to do. He just speaks into the microphone, ‘Game at Maranacook tonight. Be there.’ He then drops the mic.

“He was the most generous person ever,” Tweedy continued. “He wasn’t the most talkative person in the world, but he’d drop anything to do anything for anyone.”


Funds raised from the tournament will go toward the Chase Hayward Fossett Scholarship Fund, a $3,000 scholarship to a Gardiner senior who plans to go to a post-secondary institution after graduation, possesses a grade point average of 2.0 or higher, is respected by peers and teachers and exhibits an entrepreneurial spirit, according to the scholarship’s website. Camdyn Lasselle, a 2023 Gardiner graduate, was named the first winner of the award.

Another award in Chase Fossett’s honor, a 21-year hunting and fishing license — the length of Fossett’s life — will also be given out each year. Nash Phillips, a 5-year-old from Winter Harbor, was this year’s winner.

On the field, players and coaches alike enjoyed the tournament atmosphere.

“We were really fortunate to be included in this tournament,” Skowhegan senior Elle Donoghue said. “We were super excited throughout the week. We actually had soccer camp this week and this was our grand finale of it. We were really happy, they put it together really well. This was fun.”

“Anytime you can get more soccer in and crunch it into a short time, that’s a good thing,” Skowhegan girls soccer head coach Mike Herrick said. “I think there’s nothing but positive that can come from an experience like this, soccer-wise, but to know that you’re also supporting a good cause. I was actually happy to do that. I played (soccer) in college with Coach Wallace at (St. Joseph’s College in Standish), so I didn’t hesitate, I wanted to come by and support him, and what a wonderful cause.”

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