High school soccer

Coach Pendleton inspired: Buc soccer pride lives on at state games

King, Magnusson, Strong, Henrikson play roles on state finalist teams
By Mark Haskell | Nov 01, 2018
Photo by: Ken Waltz Legendary Georges Valley High School boys soccer coach Sam Pendelton, who keeps the clock at Oceanside games. The field the Mariners play on is named after Pendleton.

Thomaston — Georges Valley High School may have closed its doors in 2011, but its influence on soccer in the Pine Tree State is vast and still ever-present.

Particularly for the state championship games on Saturday, Nov. 3 as three head coaches and another volunteer assistant — all former Buccaneers — look to help guide teams to state title victories.

Tim King, who coaches the Gorham boys soccer squad and is a 1986 graduate of Georges Valley High School, will guide the Rams (16-0-1) into the state Class A championship game against Lewiston (15-0-2) on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at McMann Stadium in Bath.

Bob Strong, who coaches the Freeport boys soccer team and is a 1991 graduate of GVHS, will guide the Falcons (10-3-2) into the state Class B championship game against Presque Isle (14-1-2) on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. at Hampden Academy.

And Travis Magnusson, who coaches the Maranacook of Readfield girls soccer team and is 2002 GVHS graduate, will guide the Black Bears (12-2-3) into the state Class C championship game against Fort Kent (10-5-2) on Saturday at 10 a.m. at Hampden Academy.

Additionally, Per Henrikson, a 1987 GVHS graduate and assistant coach with the Bowdoin College of Brunswick men’s team, is a volunteer goalie coach for Lewiston, where he has coached regularly in other years.

"Per was a critical piece of the development of our goalie and he still serves as a point of reference for goalie Dido Lumu on occasion," said Lewiston athletic director Jason Fuller.

“What pleases me is how they’ve fallen in love with the game and made it a part of their lives,” said longtime Georges Valley boys soccer coach Sam Pendleton, who coached all four players — who are now coaches — at GVHS. “How they have maintained a love, an interest and a passion for the game has been amazing.”

King helped lead the Buccaneers to state Class C championship — a 1-0 win over Ashland — in 1981, while Strong, as a sophomore, led the Buccaneers to the 1988 state Class C championship in triple-overtime against Schenck of Millinocket.

In fact, it was Strong’s goal that led the Bucs past the Minutemen.

“I said to the team when we were waiting to go into the third overtime, ‘We’ve got to have somebody up there who will shoot,’ ” recalled Pendleton, who coached the Bucs to 416 wins and eight state championships in nearly four decades on the sideline. “And Bobby was a tremendous fullback for us and said, ‘I will.’ And lo-and-behold, in sudden death, he scored a goal.”

Another interesting tidbit about the foursome of coaches is “they all started for me as freshmen,” said Pendleton. “All the way through [four years].”

All four also went on to play collegiate sports as Strong played soccer at the University of Maine at Orono, King played soccer at the University of Maine at Farmington and Henrikson played soccer at a variety of colleges and professionally overseas.

Magnusson played basketball at UMF and, later as a coach, led the Dirigo of Dixfield boys basketball team to the 2012 state Class C title.

“They all know what it is to win,” said Pendleton. “A lot of coaches they don’t know what goes into it all. The preparation of it all. I started with a lot of those kids even before they were into high school for the most part. It’s hard to build a winning attitude. It’s not just winning, but ... it’s doing what it takes to win.”

And, as they did in their days as Buccaneers, those four men have a chance to help their teams — in major or minor roles — to prominence on Saturday.

“Georges Valley is gone,” said Pendleton. “It is sadly gone. But it’s something to remind people that we once had a great [soccer] tradition there.”

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