HOPE — During the Falmouth Fall Classic the weekend of Oct. 9-11, players and coaches from two Pen Bay Soccer Club teams found themselves living a moment often only scripted and seen in the movies.

Joe Scordino and John Smith coach U12 boys teams for the club, and those pitch squads not only participated in the Falmouth event, but found themselves set to face one another in the final.

Patrick Costigan, club president, said the tourney consisted of more than a dozen teams from around the state, and was incredibly competitive.

Costigan said Scordino’s team had sealed its win in a semifinal game, and found out from a parent Smith’s team was still playing. Scordino and his squad went to watch, and show support to their peers.

“They score a goal in the last minute of overtime, and all team Scordino just ran on to the pitch in epic enthusiasm, hugging all their pals. You can’t put a price on that,” Costigan said.

Smith said it was akin to a scene in a movie.

“It was just like, you don’t see this in real life,” he said.

“To see them persevere. It was 14 seconds left, in overtime, they worked so hard and to see them not give up, they’re tired, and exhausted, it puts a huge smile on your face,” Smith said.

Scordino credited the importance of The PITCH in Warren for the club’s success with the teams, not just in that tournament, but overall.

John Smith, left, and Joe Scordino. Photo by Holly Vanorse Spicer

One of the hurdles the Pen Bay teams face is with school sports in session, they have to play after the school games and practices are done, which, more often than not, puts them on the fields at dark, or running out of daylight.

“The PITCH lets us come in and use their field,” Scordino said.

“All of this happens because the people fundamentally want the kids to do well,” Costigan said.

And in the Falmouth tourney, the players certainly did well, as they succeeded on the field. However, there is more to the story.

It was what happened next that, as Smith said when talking about the moment, put a huge smile on one’s face.

Instead of opting to play one another in the event final, and one team possibly claiming the title, the squads decided to share the coveted cup as co-champions.

“That’s part of what’s so rewarding about all of this, it wasn’t just the coaches coming together and saying, ‘Hey let’s just end it here to do the show of uniformity.’ When we talked to the kids all the kids supported it,” Smith said.

“They said we don’t want to do that, we want to win this together,” he said.

Scordino said the moment speaks of trying to bring two teams together as one.

“That’s been a big thing for us,” he said.

“Although we’ve got two rosters, we’ve worked really hard, and we’ve improved each other through our two rosters by bringing the teams together,” Scordino said.

The support from the club’s founder, Rick Bresnehan, as well as from Costigan, who finds and works to get the local teams into tourneys, is immeasurable, Scordino added.

“We have many communities, but it is one team, one club, and that’s exactly what the lads personify,” Costigan said.

“Coaches give a lot of time, not because of ego, or want to be winners. They want the kids to do well,” Costigan said.

Costigan said Pen Bay Soccer coaches possess similar characteristics as they are committed to improve the child, not just on the field, but teaching them leadership qualities off the field, coupled with decisions they make in a team environment.

Scordino’s team, which also has coaches Lars Johnson and Alexeander Abess, includes Hendrick Abess, Sam Bernadino, Sam Blystone, Hector Clayton, Eli Field, Oakley Grotton, Cole Hedrich, Soren Johnson, Andrew Minzer, Samuel Pike, Joseph Scordino and Silas White.

Smith’s team, which also has coach Donald Helmstetter, includes Quinn Commeau, Liam Doughty, James Helmstetter, Thomas Hennessy, Miles Kaplan, Thomas Mckenzie, Emmett Milliken, Lucas Novicka, Landon Reynolds, Roshan Roberts, Alex Ross, John Smith and Leo Vietze.

Founded in 2002 by Bresnehan, the Pen Bay Soccer Club has grown over nearly two decades to include roughly 170 players, and around 30 volunteers, including coaches and board members.

Bresnehan sat as the club’s president until he retired a few years ago, and Costigan now holds the title.

Teams in the club do not become competitive until age 12. Until then, the focus is on building skills, teamwork, sportsmanship, and respect, Costigan said.

For the competitive teams, six games are played during the regular season, and two to three playoff games. Through tournaments, teams are able to add an additional six games in their season.

The previous two seasons have not been without struggles and hurdles. In 2020, there was no travel, and no opportunities for games due to the pandemic.

“I think the biggest one is just getting back to the normal,” Smith said.

Because there also was not any school sports last year, they are finding themselves needing to get used to that again. Smith said it has been tough with the boys doing multiple sports.

“Almost like that overload,” he said.

They have struggled with fatigued muscles, and injuries.

However, the teams had consistency last season, which has helped them navigate the 2021 season.

“Joe’s done a great job really promoting this uniformity,” Smith said.

“Especially after fighting through a pandemic, it was a chance to really take the most of this opportunity for the boys to really be able to appreciate the chance and out and out compete, work hard and improve,” Scordino said.

“We’re really proud of the boys and how hard they worked through this,” he said.

The trio credit the ultimate success of the club to the community and its support, and the parents. As a club sport, parents are tasked with bringing players to and from practices and games.

Smith said there has been a lot of long travel for the 2021 season.

“This year, every game is an hour-and-a-half to two-hour drive, and the parents are right there,” he said.

“They’re at every practice, they’ve been supporting us as we come to the PITCH. It’s been phenomenal,” he said.

It circles back to the club’s mission, and qualities Costigan said the club strives to promote, which are sportsmanship, respect, inclusivity, positivity, safety, and community involvement.

And, with one heartwarming decision, the 12u players put those positive attributes in the spotlight in a tournament far from home.