Ahead in the game with a head for the game
FALMOUTH — While growing up, J.P. White played a lot of soccer with his older brother Sam in their backyard at the family home on Underwood Road.
"It helped a lot just playing in the yard with him all the time," White said. "He was the best competition I could get. Playing against him was hard and I was always striving to get better."
Playing soccer with his brother, who now plays for Bowdoin College, helped White develop a passion for the game.
"You can be so creative out there," White said. "In other sports you have plays and everything is mapped out. In football and basketball, you have all your plays and stuff. In soccer you have set-piece plays, but other than that it´s kind of free and open, however you want to play it. I just love it."
Because of his creativity, White, the Maine Sunday Telegram´s player of the year for boys´ soccer, helped Falmouth win Class B state titles three of the past four seasons.
"J.P. has been our quarterback," Coach David Halligan said. "He could have been up front scoring a ton of goals, but he was more valuable to us being in the middle of the field making things happen."
This past season, White had 12 goals and 12 assists, tops in Western Class B.
"Most teams when they played us had to come up with a game plan to stop him but they couldn´t because we could move him around," Halligan said. "He was effective in the defensive midfield, the attacking midfield or as a forward. He can play anywhere. He just has the ability to see the whole field."
White was especially dangerous when putting the ball in play on set pieces.
"He´s the type of player who makes difficult things look easy," Halligan said. "A lot of kids take something easy and struggle, make it more difficult than it has to be. He´s so good that it looks simple when it isn´t, and he can do it under pressure when a lot of kids can´t."
White, who can bend the ball in either direction on corner kicks, set up some goals by sending balls struck well beyond midfield onto the head of a teammate inside the penalty area more than 50 yards away.
"We do a lot of that stuff in practice, where we try to keep the ball just out of the keeper´s range," he said. "It´s kind of knowing how far out you are, how much backspin you want to put on it and how much lift. If I go too low, it will pop up and be short. If I go too high, it will just flatten out, not go far enough."
White intends to play next season at Division III Hobart College in Geneva, N.Y.
Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:
TELEGRAM ALL-STATE TEAM
Josh Bean, Ellsworth. senior midfielder
The two-time Penobscot Valley Conference Class B player of the year, Bean scored a total of 29 goals and had 43 assists to help the Eagles advance to the Eastern Class B final each of the past three seasons.
Chris Cleary, Scarborough, senior back
The hard-nosed Cleary anchored a defense that posted nine shutouts and allowed 10 goals in 17 games to capture its first Class A state title in three years.
Austin Downing, Scarborough, senior forward
A quick striker, Downing scored a team-high 15 goals and eight assists to help the Red Storm capture their third Western Class A title in five seasons.
Jimmy Fitzpatrick, Houlton, senior striker
The Penobscot Valley Conference Class C player of the year, Fitzpatrick scored a team-high 39 goals to lead the Shiretowners to their first Class C state championship.
Peabo Knoth, Waynflete, senior forward
The Western Maine Conference Class C player of the year, Knoth scored a total of 26 goals and had 16 assists to lead the Flyers to the regional final each of the past two seasons.
Colin Lush, Hall-Dale, senior midfield
The Mountain Valley Conference player of the year, Lush scored 23 goals and had 21 assists to lead the Bulldogs to their first appearance in the Class C state final.
Cooper Lycan, Falmouth, senior forward
Moving up to the front line from the defensive end of the field, Lycan scored a team-high 13 goals to help the Yachtsmen capture their second consecutive Class B state championship.
Sam Porter, Greely, junior back
A terrific one-on-one defender, Porter anchored a defense that allowed 14 goals and posted eight shutouts in 16 games.
Connor Reagan, Gorham, senior midfielder
Reagan led Western Class A with 15 goals to help the Rams advance to the regional final.
J.P. White, Falmouth, senior midfielder
Extremely accurate with either foot, White had 12 goals and led Western Class B with 12 assists to lead the Yachtsmen to an eighth Class B state title in 13 seasons.
Greg Walton, Brunswick, senior goalie
The KVAC Class A South player of the year, Walton, who intends to play at Eastern Connecticut State next fall, posted 10 shutouts for the Dragons.
Coach of the Year
Mike Carlos, Houlton
A veteran of more than 30 seasons coaching soccer at Aroostook County schools, Carlos followed his team-building philosophy to guide the Shiretowners to their first Class C state championship. "I don´t look for stars," said Carlos. "I look for teammates who share the ball."