Lives in: Scarborough
Scarborough’s Erica Bellefleur knows what it’s like to be crowned a champion. This season, she’s eager to experience that feeling again.
The 17-year-old Scarborough resident helped lift the Red Storm girls soccer team to the state title in 2010, and is already hard at work helping her team train for this year’s campaign. Bellefleur is regarded as one of the defensive experts on a squad that went 15 games last year without allowing a single opposing goal – a remarkable achievement at any level. It was just one of the many memorable moments in a long grind toward the team’s 3-0 state title victory over Bangor last Nov 6.
But soccer is hardly the limit of Bellefleur’s abilities. A three-sport athlete, she spends her winter months running indoor track, and then heads back outdoors come spring for yet more running.
“I really enjoy running,” Bellefleur laughed when it was pointed out that all three sports require a lot of legwork. “Just being with your team is fun. Competing through running it is a lot different than just running around – you actually have a goal.”
With many of the Red Storm’s most prominent players from 2010 lost to graduation, Bellefleur will be directly in the spotlight this season. Given her confidence, it’s difficult to believe that she’ll do anything else than shine under it.
How did you get involved and how long have you been involved with your sport?
I have been playing since I was in the second grade. I have always liked playing sports, and I was never really the cheerleader type. Soccer was always my biggest sport since I was young. I was just drawn to the whole team experience, and although I run track, too, that is more of a solo sport. So for me, the team aspect is really the biggest part. You become like a family.
What fuels your passion?
I just like being out there on a team and having everyone motivating you. You can’t do something like this on your own, you know. I just like having people and coaches pushing you and motivating you to do better.
What female athletes have inspired you?
I like Mia Hamm. I have always liked her since I was younger, and I have always looked up to her. I think she’s a great example of someone who tries to be the best that they can. Any professional athlete, though, could be someone I would look up to, because they have worked so hard just to get to that level.
What are your goals?
I would like to go to college. There is a school in Concord, N.H., called NHTI, and I want to be a dental hygienist, and they have the perfect program for that. They also have a soccer team there, so I am going to take a look at that. It’s kind of a walk-on program. I am not really planning on trying to go into professional women’s soccer or anything. Beyond that, I’d like to stay in Maine – I like having all the four seasons, and I know a lot of people, having lived in Scarborough my whole life.
What advice do you have for a woman taking up your sport?
If they want to do it, then they should stick with it. If it’s not for you, then that’s just your thing, but if you like it, then pursue it. In terms of particulars, in preseason you should always make sure that you come in in shape. You want to make sure that you’re talking, trying to get open and just asking for the ball a lot. Don’t hide behind players – really get open for it. Be available.