Football team’s top scorer lives up to her family’s “very, very competitive” legacy at UMaine
Playing football at the University of Maine has long been on Delaney LaBonte’s radar.
In grades seven and eight, she attended UMaine’s summer night soccer clinic. Her older sister, Addie, was playing on the UMaine soccer team at the time. She had an impressive and extensive career as a strong and reliable central defender from 2012 to 2015.
Not only that, but his father, Rich, was a starting quarterback at UMaine and played from 1981 to 1984. He started for 2.5 years before a shoulder injury left him sidelined.
And his older brother, Trevor, is in his freshman year at UMaine after transferring from the University of Maryland. He will pitch for the UMaine baseball team like he did in Maryland.
Now 19-year-old York native Delaney is the Black Bears starting midfielder – and continues the LaBonte family’s competitive legacy at UMaine.
UMaine football coach Scott Atherley was a football player at UMaine when his father was the Black Bears quarterback and said there was a family trait that definitely stands out.
âThey are very, very competitive and Delaney is just as competitive as any of them, maybe more so,â Atherley said. âSo we knew what we were getting and that really attracted us to bring her here. She was also technical and had skills.
Rich LaBonte agreed, saying Delaney is his most competitive child.
âShe had the mentality of being younger. She always had to fight and fight with her older sister and brother. They had a physical advantage but Delaney was relentless.
Delaney, originally from York, admits there is a competitive spirit within his family.
âWe’re going to fight at home to see which of us is the most competitive. There is always some kind of competition going on. We’re all so competitive with each other, it’s fun even if it can be stressful at times, âshe said.
âThey are still talking to each other,â said Rich LaBonte. âWe didn’t teach them competitiveness. It comes from within. But they all have it and we love it.
Delaney said the most important thing his father had taught him was ânothing is given to you. You have to learn it. And no matter what happens, keep going, keep trying.
After suffering a concussion this spring that limited her to just 92 minutes in seven games, Delaney won the starting midfielder spot this fall in sophomore and she will play in the America East opener on Sunday. against the University of Maryland Baltimore County as UMaine’s top scorer. with two goals in five non-conference games.
One of them won the game for the Black Bears 2-1-2.
Atherley said Delaney has excellent anticipation which allows her to be very good at winning the ball. Her tenacity and speed help her put pressure on the opponent and force turnovers and she has the ability to launch an attack if she wins the ball.
On offense, Atherley said she distributed the ball well and could “sail without pressure” with it.
“She is not afraid to go ahead with the attack,” he said.
He also said she works “very hard” off the pitch to keep in shape so that she can keep up with the demands of the game.
âIt’s part of the overall package. You have to work as hard off the pitch as you do on the pitch.
Delaney is happy with her season so far. Even though she is in her second year, she thinks it’s like her first year since she missed so much time this spring with the concussion.
She has played all but 22 of UMaine’s 490 minutes so far this season and looks forward to Sunday. She and her teammates are eager to prove themselves and reach the America East tournament for the first time since 2016.
“We want the teams to leave the field after the game and never want to play us again,” said LaBonte.