#33 Charlotte Men's Soccer 2014 Preview

Charlotte 49ers

Overall Rank: #33
#33 Charlotte Men's Soccer 2014 Preview
Charlotte Team Page


Just one player off of Charlotte’s 2011 National Finalist team who saw action that season, midfielder Robby Thomas, remains after the final five starters off that team departed following last season. While the 49ers haven’t been able to return to that stage, Charlotte did return to the NCAA Tournament for the third straight season last year, which is just the second time in school history that the 49ers have achieved that feat. Last season ended in a disappointment though, as Charlotte was upset in their opening game of the tournament by Coastal Carolina. This season, Charlotte will try to forge a new identity, building around a younger squad with not a lot of experience, as the 49ers will look to make their fourth straight trip to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history.

2013 Record: 12-6-3, 4-3-2
2013 Postseason: NCAA Tournament
Coach: Kevin Langan

Returning Leaders:
Goals: Kyle Parker, Junior, F, 11
Assists: David Mayer, Senior, D, 5
Shots: Kyle Parker, Junior, F, 44
Saves: Austin Pack, Junior, GK, 1

Other Key Returnees: D Luke Waechter, D Biko Bradnock-Brennan, M Brandt Bronico, D Nick Barnhorst, M Robby Thomas

Key Losses: F Giuseppi Gentile, M Tyler Gibson, M Aidan Kirkbride, GK Klay Davis, D Thomas Allen, M Thomas Mayhew, D Anthony Perez

Kyle Parker is back to lead Charlotte this season. The junior led the 49ers in goals, 11, and points, 25 last season, earning third team All-Conference USA honors. Parker shared the CUSA Golden Boot Award after scoring seven goals in conference play, and was also named team MVP. His partner up top, Giuseppi Gentile, left to turn pro, and three of the starting midfielders graduated, but that doesn’t mean Charlotte’s attack will drop off in 2014. Midfielder Dean Rutherford, formerly of the United States U-17 National Team, headlines a class that was ranked 15th in the nation by College Soccer News. The big time goal scorer was ranked the 35th best high school player in the class of 2014. Joining him are a pair of talented forwards in Harrison Steadman and Zhuvonte Wilson. Steadman scored 43 goals over the past three seasons playing with the New York Red Bulls USSF Academy team, while Wilson scored 64 career goals in high school before enrolling in Charlotte in January. Those players aren’t guaranteed to start though, as Charlotte returns a number of players with experience. Brandt Bronico returns for his sophomore season after making an instant impact last season. The Conference USA-All Freshman Team member scored three goals, two of which were game winners, and added a pair of assists in his first season. Forward Monbo Bokar, who transferred in from N.C. State last season, appeared in 20 games, but recorded just one assist on the year. The Liberia native scored five goals for N.C. State in 2012, and will look to produce more this season, as will midfielders Robby Thomas and Hans Honer. Thomas appeared in 16 games in 2013, making four starts and picking up one assist, while Honer saw action in 11 games and scored a goal and added two assists. Thomas was a key member of the 2011 team the was a national finalist, starting all six NCAA Tournament games, and he will look to rediscover that form he had as a freshman in his last go around as a 49er.

Charlotte featured a stout defense last season, recording 11 shutouts and allowing just three goals over their last nine games, but the 49ers lose a pair of starters off the backline and their goalkeeper. Redshirt sophomore Luke Waechter and junior Biko Bradnock-Brennan will anchor the backline this season. Waechter, an All-Conference USA Freshman Team member last season, started 19 games and recorded 9 points, three goals and three assists, while Bradnock-Brennan started 16 games. They will look to be joined by defenders David Mayer and Nick Barnhorst. Mayer appeared in 18 games, with 12 starts last season, and was second on the team in assists, with five. Barnhorst saw action in 15 games, making six starts, and recorded two assists. Together as a backline during the spring season, the quartet helped Charlotte go 4-0-2, recording five shutouts and allowing just two goals against. With the addition of freshman Malcolm Stewart, who ranked as the 105th best prospect in the class of 2014 by College Soccer News and spent time as a member of Jamaica’s U-17 National Team, Charlotte has the potential to feature a solid back line this season. The only problem is, who gets the start in goal. Keeper Klay Davis, a three-year starter who set a number of school records due to his stellar play, is gone, leaving Charlotte with virtually no experience in net. Junior Austin Pack has made three career appearances that total less than 45 minutes, while redshirt junior Nick Hensley has seen less than ten minutes of action. They will battle redshirt freshman Justin Savinon and freshman Banks Fisher for the starting job and whoever gets is named the starter will have big shoes to fill.

Final Projection:
Charlotte loses seven starters from last year’s team, but there shouldn’t be a drop off with Kevin Langan’s program. Langan brings in a highly touted recruiting class that includes four top 140 high school players and three foreign players with a lot of experience. There is already plenty of talent on the roster in the form of returning players and that could help this team be deeper than the one Charlotte had last season. The experience level takes a hit with the departure of so many veteran starters, but there is enough talent to make up for that. With just three seniors on this year’s roster, Charlotte is likely a year away from being a national title contender as it has been in the past, but this should still be an NCAA Tournament team.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Tournament

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 1.87 (22nd in nation, 1st in conference)
Goals-Against Average: 0.74 (23, 1)
Shutout Percentage: 0.52 (7, 1)
Save Percentage:  0.789 (59, 2)

Madness 2014 Men’s Soccer Recruit Rankings:
#93 Harrison Steadman
#108 Malcom Stewart


See All College Sports Madness Top 44 Men's Soccer Previews