Charlotte Messer has always had a passion for soccer.
She even challenged herself by playing on a highly competitive Dutch Soccer Academy boys team when she was 16.
“That opened my eyes to a different level of physical play,” said Messer, who stands just 5-foot-4 and weighs in at 119 pounds. “It prepared me for that part of the game. I was able to bring that (physicality) to my game in high school.”
It should serve her well this fall, when she takes the field for the University of Maine, where the game is much more physical.
Messer will attend UMaine on an athletic scholarship after leading her mother Meredith’s Camden Hills High School team from Rockport to their first state Class A championship last fall.
Meredith Messer, the Windjammers coach for 21 seasons, said Charlotte’s season on the boys team was valuable.
“That was one of the best things she did. She had to work really, really hard to be able to play at that speed and at that level of physical play. She learned how to use her body really well,” coach Messer said.
UMaine head coach Scott Atherley said one of the qualities that sold him on Messer was the fact she was a “very determined player.
“When she loses possession of the ball, she is very quick and aggressive to win it back,” Atherley said.
There are several other qualities that caught Atherley’s eye.
“She is very hard to knock off the ball. She has a really good center of gravity. And she has a real competitive spirit about her. I think her potential is unlimited,” said Atherley.
Messer is an attacking midfielder and concluded her career with 67 goals and 50 assists, including 26 goals and 17 assists last fall.
She was named an All-American and an All-New England selection as well as being named the Player of the Year for Class A and the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference.
Atherley intends to use her as an attacking midfielder or he may even move her up front as scoring has been an issue for UMaine in recent years.
“She has an attack mentality. She’s good at taking players on one (versus) one, she has the ability to shoot from distance and she has a natural instinct around the goal,” Atherley said.
“I’m excited about that. That’s what I’ve done my entire career,” Messer said. “But there is still room for me to improve, and I look forward to that.”
“She had a presence,” Atherley said. “She imposes herself on a game. She doesn’t sit back. She does all the little things that are so important. And she’s a great kid.”
Meredith Messer and husband Marty were hoping her daughter wouldn’t go too far away to play college soccer.
They have a special bond that was capped off in storybook fashion with the state championship.
Meredith Messer said the University of New Hampshire and American University in Washington, D.C., were two other schools in the picture.
“I wanted her to make the best decision for her, but secretly I was hoping she would stay close so I could see her play,” she confessed.
“I wanted the opportunity to represent my state and stay close to home,” Charlotte Messer said. “This is a good opportunity to be part of a competitive team and experience a new culture.”
She also said she liked the coaching staff and the fact the players were close-knit.
Messer is playing basketball for Camden Hills and plans to play tennis again in the spring. She played softball her first two years.
“I like playing three sports in high school. It gives you a chance to relax and use different muscles,” she said. “But I’m excited to see how good I can be when I apply everything I have into one sport.”
She will continue to play for her club soccer team, Brunswick-based Seacoast United, throughout the spring.