ORONO – Travers Evans was introduced as the University of Maine men’s soccer coach on Friday, and he stated his intention to actively pursue the state’s premier players.
“There are very good players within the state and I want to keep them in state,” said the 29-year-old Evans, who assisted previous coach Scott Atherley for four seasons. “I want them to look at the University of Maine as a viable option instead of looking out of state first.”
Atherley coached both the men’s and women’s soccer teams last fall but decided to coach only the women’s team next season.
Evans, a native of Exeter, N.H., has coached in the Maine Olympic Development Program and for the Rising Sun Soccer Club in Bangor and has become familiar with several potential recruits.
“There will be some very good players in Maine over the next couple of years,” said Evans, who also feels attracting in-state players will enhance the visibility of the program statewide.
Evans was selected from a pool of 40 applicants, according to search committee chairman Jim Dyer.
Director of athletics Sue Tyler said Evans has a one-year contract which calls for an annual salary in the $30,000-$35,000 range.
The men’s soccer program at Maine is handicapped by a lack of scholarship resources.
Maine has $45,000 available for the men’s soccer team, the equivalence of 2.5 scholarships in a sport that allows a maximum of 9.9. That money would go further if used to pay in-state tuition.
The women’s program has $150,000 available for scholarships.
Tyler said they have increased their scholarship endowment base significantly and once gender equity quotas have been met – primarily through scholarships allotted to women’s ice hockey and women’s volleyball – she hopes to increase the scholarship funds for men’s soccer.
Evans said he will employ a high-tempo, attacking style of play.
“We will have all 11 players involved in the attack and all 11 will also defend,” said Evans.
Tyler said she hopes the soccer team will be able to qualify for the America East Tournament – the top four teams during the regular season qualify – and Evans feels that is feasible.
“There’s so much parity in the league now. We tied Hartford 3-3 and they won the conference tournament and took the University of Connecticut to three overtimes in the NCAA tournament,” said Evans.
Atherley called Evans a “perfect fit for the job.”