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Charlotte 2015 Team and Recruiting Class Review

School – Charlotte
Conference – Conference USA
Coach – Kevin Langan (4th Season)
Background – The 49ers were 14-4-1 overall with a 6-1-1 mark in conference play in 2014. They captured the 2014 Conference USA regular season title and were awarded the number ten seed in the NCAA Tournament. Charlotte's 2014 season came to an earlier that expected end when they were topped 2-1 at home in a heartbreaker by in-state rival North Carolina in their opening contest of the NCAA Tournament. Kevin Langan became the head coach at Charlotte in 2012 after serving as an assistant coach for three seasons under Jeremy Gunn who led the 49ers to the national championship game in 2011 before leaving to accept the head coaching job at Stanford. The 49ers have continued to thrive under Langan who has a 41-14-7 overall record during his three year tenure to date at Charlotte. The 49ers have earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament a total of ten times in the history of the program including five times out of the past six seasons. Charlotte advanced to the College Cup (Final Four) in 1996 in addition to the 2011 season. Forward Kyle Parker was named a 2014 NSCAA and College Soccer News Second Team All-American. He was also named the Conference USA Co-Offense MVP and a First-Team All-Conference USA selection. Defender Biko Bradnock-Brennan and midfielder Brandt Bronico were also Conference USA First Team selectiona. Goalkeeper Austin Pack was a 2014 All-Conference USA Second Team selection. Midfielder Dominic Bonilla and forward Monbo Bokar were named to the Conference USA Third Team. Defender Matej Dekovic and forward Harrison Steadman were named to the 2014 Conference USA All-Freshman Team.   
Offense – Players who scored thirty-five of the forty-one goals that Charlotte placed in the back of the net last year are slated to return in 2015. The lone departure up-top due to graduation is Monbo Bokar (6g, 1a) who is now playing professionally for the San Antonio Scorpoins. Forward Kyle Parker, the 2014 Conference USA Co-Offensive MVP, will enter the 2015 season seeking to cap off a stellar career at Charlotte with a strong senior season.  Parker, who has been at the center of the 49er attack for the past two seasons, netted a team leading nine goals in 2014 and contributed seven assists. Junior Hans Honer (4g, 0a), sophomores Harrison Steadman (4g, 2a) and Zhuvonte Wilson (3g, 4a) and highly regarded redshirt freshman Dean Rutherford are among other very capable returning forwards who will contribute to the attack. The 49er midfield looks to be talented and deep. Senior Conor Agnew (1g, 1a) and junior Max Rodriquez return to anchor the center of the park. Junior Brandt Bronico (5g, 6a) who has been a starter the past two seasons and senior playmaker Dominic Bonilla (3g, 8a) return in the midfield to add yet another element to the Charlotte offense. Another big plus is the healthy return of redshirt senior midfielder Robby Thomas, who is the lone player left from the 49ers run to the national championship game in 2011. Thomas missed the entire 2014 season due to injury  . 
Defense –  Charlotte should be stout on the defensive side of the ball with three out of their four starting backs returning along with their starting goalkeeper from the 2014 team that allowed a total of only eighteen goals, recorded a 0.92 overall goals against average, and posted eight shutouts. The lone starter in the back who must be replaced is Nick Barnhorst (0g, 1a). Senior back Biko Bradnock-Brennan who has been a starter for the past three seasons and junior Luke Waechter (1g, 1a) who has two-years of starting experience under his belt return to anchor what should be an experienced unless there are unexpected injuries and organized backline. Sophomore Matej Dekovic (2g, 3a) who was a starter as a freshman and now healthy redshirt senior David Meyer who missed all but two games last year due to injury also return in the back. Both Dekovic and Meyer have the ability to push forward to add an additional dimension to the attack out of the back. Sophomore back Malcolm Stewart who saw limited action last year is among other returning players who will likely play a greater role in 2015. Senior Austin Pack who started every contest in goal last year and was a Second Team All-Conference USA selection returns to give the 49ers a solid and now experienced presence between the pipes. 

Newcomers – Three Star Recruiting Class  

Coach Langan stated "We are very excited to announce the 2015 class. The five players have all had excellent youth careers and we are looking forward to watching them develop and make the transition into college soccer. We are confident that they will have fulfilling and successful careers at Charlotte."

Curtis Hansford – Defender – Weymouth, England – Budmouth Technology College – Played for Yeovil FC and AFC Bournemouth youth teams. Played for the Nike Academy.

Maclean Holbrook – Forward – Cary, North Carolina – Green Hope High School – Played for the U-18 Capital Area Railhawks Academy. Leading goal scorer for Capital Area Railhawks. All-Conference selection. 

Tommy Madden – Midfielder – Burtonsville, Maryland – DeMatha High School – Played for the U-18 Bethesda-Olney Academy. 

Callum Montgomery – Midfielder – Victoria, British Columbia – St. Michael's University HIgh School – Named the "AA" soccer provincials most valuable player. Captain of St. Michael's team.

Elliot Panicco – Goalkeeper – Huntersville, North Carolina – Hough High School – Plays club soccer for the Carolina Rapids Academy. Joined Cahrl Team. 

Prognosis for 2015 – Charlotte boasts the experience and talent on both sides of the ball and the depth to once again contend for the CUSA title and a national ranking. As a result expectations are justifiably high heading into the 2015 season. However, the early going will be challenging for the 49ers since they open the season on August 29 against defending national champion Virginia in Charlottesville and then travel to Conway, South Carolina to face an always tough Coastal Carolina team. That means the 49ers must be ready to impress right out of the gate. While the outcome of those opening contests will not determine Charlotte's season they clearly have the potential to be a springboard for a great year. All-American senior Kyle Parker is among the top returning forwards in the country. He provides the 49ers an accomplished finisher up-top. Junior Hans Honer, sophomores Harrison Steadman and Zhuvonte Wilson, and redshirt freshman Dean Rutherford all have the potential to provide additional firepower up-top. Midfielders junior Brandt Bronico and senior Dominic Bonilla will also also add additional punch to the offense. The defense should also be solid led by senior back Biko Bradnock-Brennan who is a big play performer and senior goalkeeper Austin Pack who now has the advantage of a year of starting experience under his belt. The bottom line is that with the talent and experience returning Charlotte has the potential to be a very good team in 2015 but this group will likely have their sights set on being more than just good.    


Posted in 2015 Team Reviews

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