TRENTON — This year’s U12 coed Acadia Fire soccer team was just the second one in the academy’s eight-year history to make it to the State Cup.
The team also was the only one in the league of some eight teams to have girls on its roster.
Sixth graders Lelia Weir of Bar Harbor and Addy Laslie of Ellsworth have been showing boys what it means to play like a girl for the past several years. The team just wrapped up its season, losing to the Velocity Soccer Club from Portland 3-1 in the championship on June 13 at Thomas College. Acadia Fire entered the final undefeated.
“Our teams are pretty competitive,” said Michael Curless, founder of the Acadia Fire FC Soccer Academy, at a practice on June 2. “Our youth teams have only lost twice in 50 games.”
Since starting the academy in 2007, Curless said his club has grown from 30 players to 175 boys and girls ages 6-18 from all over Down East Maine. It blossomed quickly once Curless started operating out of a new indoor turf facility that allows for year-round practice.
“I like practicing year-round and not just in the fall,” Weir said. “It’s fun to practice indoors, too, because it helps with skills and quickness.”
Weir is a midfielder, and Laslie plays forward. Weir is quick to note that Laslie is “really fast.” They’re the only two girls on the team, and they’re best friends.
“Playing coed really helped my daughter,” Curless said of the Mount Desert Island High School standout, Opal, who recently graduated and received a scholarship to play for Syracuse University in New York. “They [Weir and Laslie] have made a lot of improvements.”
Playing with boys no longer seems to faze the girls.
Weir said players on opposing teams take her and Laslie seriously “most of the time,” but she uses the idea of them not doing so as motivation.
“Normally, you think that they’re not as strong,” Weir said, referring to the perception of female athletes. “I always picture them not taking me seriously. I feel like I do better when I do that.”
Weir also participated in the academy’s SoccerFit! program, where she worked on improving her strength. She can now dead lift 160 pounds.
“She loves it,” said her father, Jaime Weir, also an Acadia Fire coach. “They’re a really tight-knit group.”
While answering questions, one of the girls’ teammates interrupted to offer his support.
“No pressure!” he called out. Lelia Weir and Laslie both smiled and rolled their eyes.
“Sometimes they’re annoying,” Lelia Weir said.
For more information about Acadia Fire and its upcoming programs, visit acadiafiresoccer.com.