Phil Turmelle always loved soccer.
But he grew up in a football household with Rumford roots. His father, John, and his grandfather, Blackie (Edgar), both played football in Rumford.
So, he played football, too, and was a starting defensive back-wingback-receiver on Brewer High School’s 2005 Class B state championship team.
“I was too afraid to tell my dad that I loved soccer,” said Turmelle. “I finally told him that five or six years ago. He said he would have been fine if I had played soccer. He just wanted me to be happy.”
The new Brewer High School girls soccer coach, who played soccer in recreation leagues when he was young, eventually found his way back to soccer when he began coaching it in rec leagues and with the Brewer Soccer Club.
He coached with Chris Brady at the Brewer Community School and spent the past six seasons as the Brewer High JV boys coach under Ben Poland and varsity assistant before becoming the the girls soccer coach.
Turmelle is replacing David Hamel, who stepped down on Oct. 7 for personal reasons, and Hamel’s assistant, Troy Gravel, who finished out the season as the head coach.
“Phil did a real good job with the boys, and a lot of the girls were involved in the process to name a new coach, and he stood out,” said Brewer High Athletic Firector Dave Utterback. “He was the preferred choice.”
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Utterback added that Turmelle landed a teaching job at the high school this year, and he likes having his coaches in the school with their players.
Turmelle had the opportunity to work with the girls in their summer soccer program and said he is having a “great time.
“The girls want to learn and are doing everything they need to do (to get better),” Turmelle said.
The 2011 University of Maine graduate said he encourages his players to be creative and to continue learning and understanding the game in order to make good decisions. He also wants them to develop a chemistry together.
“We will have a game plan going into every game. We will want to play our style of game, for sure, and not let teams take us out of our game. We want to dictate the play,” he said.
He said he has been fortunate in that he has nine seniors who have been “excellent role models” for the younger players.
And he has a ton of players, 41 to be exact, the most the team has had, according to Utterback.
“That’s a huge number. I’m excited to see so many girls out,” said Turmelle. “Some haven’t played before, but they are willing to learn and we will help them develop.
He said M.J. Ball, who is coach of the Hermon High School girls soccer team and River City Athletics’ director of coaching, and Brewer boys coach Poland have been “great mentors” who have played key roles in his development as a coach.
Hamel had transformed the program from a bottom-feeder into a consistent playoff contender. He took over as the head coach in 2014 and led the Witches to a 7-5-2 regular season record in Class A after they had gone 11-97-4 over the previous eight seasons, including a 3-51-2 mark in the previous three.
They had four more winning seasons in succession, compiling a 40-25-5 record during the regular season while playing in A and B.
Brewer will open at Mt. Ararat High School of Topsham on Sept. 2.