Overall Rank: #14
Conference Rank: #1 Conference USA
Charlotte Team Page
There was concern that Charlotte’s recent success would fade away when Coach Kevin Langan took over the program. It turns out the program is bigger than any coach. The 49ers had another great season, ending up with a 15-4-3 overall record and taking home an Atlantic 10 regular season title. This year Charlotte is headed back to Conference USA thanks to the addition of an American football squad, but another conference title could be waiting.
2012 Record: 15-4-3, 7-1-1
2012 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Kevin Langan
As great as the offense and Giuseppe Gentile will be again in 2013, it is the defense that deserves a lot of credit for the recent success. The 49ers allowed just 19 goals during the entire 2012 campaign and ten of those came in a five game stretch in late September and early October. Keeper Klay Davis was an All-Atlantic 10 honoree and he should garner even more accolades as a senior. Through three seasons, two of which he was a starter, Davis has allowed just 0.78 goals per game. So far that is the lowest career average in school history and that number will not go up too much this year, if at all. Davis has a talented line in front of him led by senior Thomas Allen. At 6-1, Allen is a force in the air on both ends of the pitch. Returning starters Anthony Perez and Biko Bradnock-Brennan are also big backs. Perez is 6-1 and rising sophomore Bradnock-Brennan is 6-3. Nick Barnhorst and David Mayer have starting experience as well, so this is a deep and talented unit that could be in for a special season.
Gentile, who totaled nine goals and seven assists as a sophomore will again be one of the most dangerous strikers around. Tyler Gibson is a superb center midfielder who makes things happen. He tallied six assists and three goals last season, although all three of those goals came from penalty kicks. Gibson is the heart and soul of the team and Gentile will finish many of the opportunities Gibson creates for him. However, there are some concerns. Gentile will likely be joined by Kyle Parker and Monbo Bokar up top. Parker showed plenty of potential off of the bench as a freshman, but is he ready to come in and step into a starting role? Bokar, a transfer from North Carolina State, is another capable scorer but it remains to be seen how everybody will fit in around Gentile. The midfield lost three regular starters in Donnie Smith, Owen Darby and Isaac Caughran. Those three, along with striker Jennings Rex, who netted 11 goals, and defender Aaron Weldon, saw this program through some great times. Will Mayhew has experience and Aidan Kirkbride had a productive junior year, but depth in the middle of the field could be a problem. Watch out for Conor Agnew, another North Carolina State transfer, to emerge as a difference maker for the 49ers midfield.
Charlotte’s defense is going to keep them in just about every game, as they did in 2012. The A-10 was a very tough conference and the 49ers found ways to win games. There are probably more losable games in Conference USA as the league is pretty tough top to bottom. Squads like New Mexico, Old Dominion, Tulsa, Kentucky, South Carolina and UAB are not going to roll over. It is very feasible that nobody is going to win seven games in conference play this year, but the 49ers have the talent to come out on top of what should be a very interesting race for a regular season title.
Projected Postseason: NCAA
Goals: Giuseppe Gentile, Junior, F, 9
Assists: Giuseppe Gentile, Junior, F, 7
Shots: Giuseppe Gentile, Junior, F, 79
Saves: Klay Davis, Senior, GK, 49
Madness 2014 MLS Draft Rankings:
#30 Giuseppe Gentile