Scott Atherley Credit: Contributed

On the eve of his 20th season as the University of Maine women’s soccer coach, Scott Atherley has received a three-year contract extension.

“I’m very grateful to receive the opportunity to continue doing what I love to do at the place I care deeply about,” the 52-year-old Atherley said. “It is a privilege and an honor to coach at Maine, and I have never taken it for granted.”

Atherley said he was happy with the terms of the contract but wouldn’t divulge the terms. He currently makes $71,399.96 per year.

“He’s amazing to work with,” UMaine interim athletic director Jim Settele said. “He works hard. He takes the resources he has and makes the best of them, and he never asks for more than we offer him.

“He enjoys living here and coaching soccer.”

Atherley is a former standout player and captain at UMaine who graduated in 1988. He coached the UMaine men’s team before becoming the women’s soccer coach.

The Andover, Connecticut, native had led the Black Bears to five straight America East Tournament berths until last season, when they went 3-5 in league play and 5-10-1 overall.

Two of their losses came in overtime to Binghamton and New Hampshire, which shared the conference’s regular-season title, and another OT setback came to Hartford, which tied for third. UMaine beat a Stony Brook team that went on to win the conference tournament and play in the NCAA Tournament.

New Hampshire tied UMaine with three seconds left in regulation to force overtime.

“We were 2-1 in the conference going into that game, and they were 3-0. If we had won that game, the outcome of our season would have been completely different,” Atherley said.

Atherley said he has learned an interesting lesson over the years. “The older you get, the more you realize how much you don’t know,” he said. “When you’re starting out, you think you know everything.

“You realize (over time) that there are so many factors that influence the outcome of a season like having a healthy team and (the importance of ) team dynamics. The most successful teams are as cohesive as they are talented.”

Atherley has never won an America East Tournament title but feels it is an attainable goal.

“There is so much parity from top to bottom,” said Atherley, whose team has gone 41-47-17 overall over the past six seasons. “It’s achievable for any team in our conference. All you need to do is look at the results.”

He is optimistic about the upcoming season, which begins next week.

“We have 12 new players and we return a solid nucleus with nine players who started a substantial number of games last year. We only lost four players to graduation,” Atherley said. “Our team is great athletically, they’re very good technically and they really like to compete.”

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