To have success in the treacherous Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference, Edward Little knew it would have to make defense its calling card.

The Red Eddies still had to score goals, of course. But they wanted to maximize their resources for preventing them.

First-year coach Tim Mains was confident that he had the man to take care of the offensive end. It just so happened to be his best two-way player.

Jarod Norcross Plourde started at striker as a freshman for the Eddies, but spent his sophomore and junior year contributing  on both ends as a midfielder. In those three years, he demonstrated that he not only had the skills but the mentality to take on the scoring burden, so for his senior year, he returned to striker.

“We were able to move him up there and have him be our offense essentially, and have everyone else focus on defense,” first-year Edward Little coach Tim Mains said. 

Norcross Plourde made the transition seamlessly and carried the offensive load for the Eddies, scoring 20 of their 52 goals and leading them to the top of the KVAC soccer standings. His accomplishments earned him the Sun Journal All-Region boys’ soccer player of the year.

The soft-spoken Norcross Plourde typically downplayed the pressure of changing positions and having so much of the scoring responsibility placed on his shoulders.

“I really didn’t think it was all going to be put on me,” he said. “My freshman year, I had scored 11 goals and Coach (Mike) Andreasen (Mains’ predecessor) was always thinking of putting me back up there. So I was kind of prepared for it. I think it was more that the team trusted me because I’d been on the team for four years.”

The Eddies had good reason to trust the three-sport star (baseball and basketball being the others). Blessed with a rare combination of size in speed and a powerful, accurate shot from either foot, he had the talent to take advantage of his varsity experience.

“Everything I’d heard and seen from Jarod in all of the sports he’s played, there wasn’t any doubt in my mind that he would have success as a striker,” Mains said. 

Any doubts Norcross Plourde may have had about returning to striker quickly faded during a preseason tournament at Lewiston.

“I think I scored every game of that tournament, and I think it really helped define what my role was going to be,” he said. “It set a precedent that my teammates could find me throughout the season.”

He was most visible when the Eddies needed him most, playing his best against the toughest opponents during the season.

“A lot of times the great goal scorers take advantage against the not so great teams. But he played his best against the great teams,” Mains said. “He had a hat trick in our (3-2) win against Lewiston and a hat trick in our (5-2) win against Camden Hills. That’s two of the league’s best that he put up three goals against.”

Again, Norcross Plourde diminished his impact on those season-defining victories.

“In the Lewiston game, we came back. It was all on us seniors,” he said. “The Camden Hills game, we jumped on them early, and the ball just seemed to find me.”

“He’s a very quiet kid,” Mains said. “He’s not going to be one to get one someone’s case or lead in a vocal sense. But he does what’s asked of him every day, and he shows leadership that way.”

With Norcross Plourde’s scoring touch and a stingy defense, the Red Eddies compiled a 11-2-1 record during the regular season, tops in the KVAC, and secured the No. 1 seed in Class A North.

The Eddies fell to Camden Hills in the regional semifinals in overtime, which brought an end to Norcross Plourde’s soccer career.

A couple of weeks later, he signed a letter of intent to attend the University of Hartford on a baseball scholarship. But Norcross Plourde, whose first love was soccer growing up, hopes he’s left a lasting legacy for the sport in his home town.

“You look at our soccer camps from when I was doing them as a kid and compare them to now and there are so many more kids playing,” he said. “I think the success we’ve had has helped soccer grow in Auburn, which is great.”

“He’s the best athlete I’ve ever seen come through Edward Little,” said Mains, an EL alum. “He could have pretty much picked whatever sport he wanted and gone to the next level.”


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.