|Four Niners Earn NSCAA Academic Honors|
Charlotte, NC - Four members of the nationally-ranked and Atlantic 10 Champion Charlotte 49ers men's soccer team earned National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Scholar honors. Midfielders junior Tyler Gibson and senior Donnie Smith were named first-team NSCAA Scholar All-Americans. Gibson, Smith and defender junior Thomas Allen were named first-team Scholar All-South Region. Midfielder junior Aidan Kirkbride was named second-team Scholar All-South Region.
Smith and Gibson are the first Niners to earn Scholar All-American honors since Ian Dennis was named to Scholar All-America in 1992. Smith and Gibson are the fourth and fifth different Niner to earn NSCAA Scholar All-American honors. For the first time in school history, the 49ers had four players earn NSCAA Scholar All-South Region honors.
Allen, Gibson, Kirkbride and Smith played an integral role in helping the 49ers reach the 2011 College Cup Final, earn two NCAA Tournament bids and two Atlantic 10 regular-season titles. Smith helped the 49ers reach the NCAA Tournament three times in his career.
Smith and Gibson were also named first-team NSCAA All-Mid-Atlantic Region for their performance on the field. Allen was named to the second-team All-Mid-Atlantic Region.
Gibson, who earned first-team All-Atlantic 10 honors for the third straight season, was named first-team All-Region for the second straight year. Gibson was also a member of the Hermann Award watch list. This season, Gibson finished tied for second on the team with six assists. He also scored three goals including game-winning goals against Stony Brook and Duquesne.
Gibson, who has a 3.84 GPA in Marketing, has been a two-time A-10 All-Academic team selection as well as a two-time NSCAA Scholar All-South Region selection. This past November, he was named to the Capital One Academic All-District Three team.
Smith, who earned All-Atlantic 10 honors three times in his career, was named Atlantic 10 Midfielder of the Year this past season. Smith earned first-team All-Atlantic 10 honors in 2012 and 2010. He was a second-team All-Atlantic 10 selection in 2011. Smith scored four goals and recorded four assists this past season. Smith scored game-winning goals against South Carolina, Richmond and Saint Louis.
Smith, who has a 3.51 GPA in Marketing, has been invited to the Major League Soccer's Combine in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, January 11-15. Smith finished his career at Charlotte with 18 goals, 10 assists and 46 points.
Allen, who earned first-team All-Atlantic 10 honors this season, along with Davis anchored a 49ers defense which recorded nine shutouts and limited 18 foes to a goal or less. Allen, who earned several National Team of the Week honors, finished the season with two goals and one assist. He scored the game-winning goal in the 49ers' 1-0 double overtime win over #14 Coastal Carolina, August 27. Allen earned UK Invitational All-Tournament honors after helping the 49ers capture the tournament title with wins over Stony Brook and Kentucky.
Allen, who has a 3.36 GPA in Civil Engineering Technology, was named to the Capital One Academic All-District Three team as well.
Kirkbride has been an anchor in the 49ers midfield since he arrived at Charlotte in 2010. Kirkbride was named to Soccer America and College Soccer News' National Team of the Week after scoring both of Charlotte's goals in the 49ers season-opening 2-1 double overtime win over Denver this past season. Kirkbride earned UK Invitational All-Tournament honors after helping the 49ers capture the tournament title with wins over Stony Brook and Kentucky.
Kirkbride, who has a 3.81 GPA in Accounting, earned Atlantic 10 Academic All-Conference team honors in 2011.