Calvin Powell likes challenges.
That’s why the Texas native took on the duty of teaching the resurrected Maine Maritime Academy soccer group three years after it was suspended indefinitely on account of monetary losses attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I actually jumped on the alternative to get on the bottom ground, one thing I do have expertise with, of with the ability to expose younger individuals to a distinct expertise and use soccer to show them life classes,” mentioned the 38-year-old Powell. “Being on the bottom ground with that actually provides you a distinct bond with these younger individuals.”
It’s a extremely anticipated return for the Castine-based college, which beforehand had an NCAA Division III soccer program for 74 years earlier than this system was suspended indefinitely in August 2020. This system misplaced its final 22 video games previous to being shut down.
In 2022, MMA alums banded collectively to boost greater than $550,000 to get this system reinstated.
The Mariners will play 4 sub-varsity video games this season and three varsity video games and a number of other sub-varsity video games subsequent season earlier than changing into a full-fledged member of the Commonwealth Coast Convention in 2025.
It’s the identical convention as Bangor’s Husson College and the College of New England in Biddeford. MMA will play two video games apiece towards UNE and Husson this season.
Powell has 38 gamers on his roster and they’ll play their first recreation at Ritchie Subject in Castine on Friday towards the UNE sub-varsity group. Recreation time is 7 p.m.
The coach’s 15-year profession consists of being a part of a startup program at Texas Wesleyan. His most up-to-date teaching gig was because the assistant head coach and offensive line/run recreation specialist at Langston College in Oklahoma, an NAIA college that performs within the Sooner Athletic Convention.
Powell’s first order of enterprise after he landed the job in February was to place collectively a training workers. He employed 4 assistants in offensive coordinator Nick Sheehan and defensive coordinator Dan McKenna, together with Ryan Whitaker and Brandon Inexperienced. Powell is hoping so as to add three extra coaches subsequent season.
And as he begins to recruit gamers for the group, he’s being attentive to athletes from Maine and New England.
“We have now to deal with our yard first, and our yard is New England,” Powell mentioned. “We have now children proper right here that must be uncovered to this chance. There are children who don’t learn about Maine Maritime Academy or the maritime business and we need to give them the chance to have some new experiences.”
NCAA Division III colleges aren’t allowed to supply athletic scholarships however Powell is satisfied that Maine Maritime Academy’s distinctive maritime training will probably be engaging to student-athletes from all over the place, even Texas.
“You may go away Texas, go all the way in which to Maine and, 4 years from now, come again house and actually change your life,” Powell mentioned.
MMA has a job placement charge of greater than 90 % inside 90 days of commencement.
“It’s crucial to increase the place we’re going to search out Mariners. There are port cities outdoors of New England which have student-athletes who perceive the maritime business and need to have the ability to profit from what they’ll study at Maine Maritime Academy,” he mentioned.
Finally being in a convention with Husson and UNE will make it “enjoyable,” Powell mentioned.
“You’ll have that pure recreation day surroundings the place mother and father from either side will probably be there. All people could make the drive,” Powell mentioned.
Powell was a former offensive lineman at Duncanville Excessive Faculty in Texas, after which at Hampton College and Southwestern Faculty, a small non-public NAIA college in Kansas.
And together with his background, you may count on the Mariners to play a “bodily model” of soccer.
“I’m an offensive man who believes in getting the ball to your athletes in area,” Powell mentioned. “Defensively, the way in which soccer is now, you have got to have the ability to chase guys in area with perspective, effort and velocity. You will have to have the ability to run.”
His defensive technique includes getting as many individuals to the soccer as attainable, and educating each participant in this system find out how to deal with — even the quarterback.
“I’m hoping my quarterback by no means has to make use of these abilities however he’s going to study and ensure he is aware of find out how to do it effectively and safely as a result of I would like guys on the bottom,” Powell mentioned.
Powell has obtained “superior” help from the academy and the alums.
“I received an opportunity to fulfill among the alums final weekend at our Homecoming and I walked up in entrance of them and thanked them for permitting me to be right here as a result of with out them, I wouldn’t be right here.”
Powell mentioned his present group has 12 freshmen, a few of whom he recruited, some sophomores and juniors, and seniors he jokingly known as the “previous males.”
“They need to put the helmets and shoulder pads on yet another time. They need to be a part of that have and be a part of laying the muse for us,” Powell mentioned.