Windham girls soccer coach Matt Bryant had known about Reagan Murray for awhile.
He just hadn’t had the opportunity to coach her until this year. That’s because Murray, a talented sophomore striker, was playing with her Seacoast United Development Academy team as a freshman last year. She started 17 of 27 games with her U16/17 team a year ago, and finished fourth on the squad with four goals. But Bryant received quite the surprise this fall when just three days prior to tryouts, he saw that Murray was going to be there.
“I was pretty excited,” said Bryant.
While undoubtedly a top-notch program, Seacoast United’s Development Team requires commitment. Athletes still attend their respective high schools, but are required to spend 10 months with the team traveling up and down the coast and across the country for games — while being forbidden from playing for any other program.
It’s why Seacoast has produced many of the top soccer stars from the area.
But Murray decided that this year she wanted to play with her friends back home at Windham. She’ll rejoin the club in November when the school season is over.
“With someone like that who’s playing at such a high level, you get a little afraid that they’re going to find (playing local high school) beneath them and not invest fully in the process,” said Bryant. “But Reagan has been amazing. She came in fit, has worked hard and has listened to coaching. I’ve been really excited that she’s fit in so well.”
And her talent has certainly been on display.
Murray leads Windham (3-7) with four goals while being the team’s main offensive threat. The record may not be there as of yet, but the Jaguars have lost five 1-goal games and have played some of the stronger teams — like defending champion Manchester Central — extremely tough.
Junior goalie Jess Thibodeau (2 shutouts) has been strong in net, young talents like Alyssa Tarabocchia and freshman Abby Irwin have stepped up and quad-captains Sam Bishop, Grace Harootian, Livvey Kendzulak and Abby Husson are ready to make a push for the playoffs.
And with Murray in the mix, the Jags are certainly a dangerous pack moving forward.
“I think she’s physically pretty dominant,” said Bryant. “She holds the ball well, she’s not afraid to take people on and has great speed.
“She’s a very talented player.”