|College Cup Finalist Welcomes Ten Newcomers|
CHARLOTTE, NC- Head Coach Kevin Langan and the Charlotte 49er College Cup Finalist men's soccer program welcomes 10 newcomers to a 2012 team that returns eight starters and 13 letterwinners off last season's National Finalist. The 49ers' 2012 recruiting class features four players from North Carolina; two transfers from 2010 National Champion the University of Akron, three players from Georgia and two players from England. The Niners welcome Kyle Baccus from Waco, TX, Dominic Bonilla from Lawrenceville, GA, Biko Bradnock-Brennan from London, England, Christian Hansen from New Bern, NC, Brandon Kardos from Matthews, NC, David Mayer from Wigan, England, Austin Pack from Johns Creek, GA, Kyle Parker from Marvin, NC, Branco Theis from Raleigh, NC and Luke Waechter from Evans, GA.
College Soccer News ranked the 49ers' recruiting class as the 29th best class in the country.
"As we are looking forward to the 2012 season we are very excited about the class we have brought in," stated Langan. "The class will strengthen the program in every position and will compete with the core group of returners for playing time as we look to build on last year's success. Excitingly four of the players are from North Carolina so we are very proud of continuing the tradition of recruiting some of the best talent in the state. In addition, in keeping with our recruiting strategy the class also boasts a tremendous mix of talent from the South East, transfers and foreign players."
Baccus, a midfielder from Midway High School in Waco, Texas, where he finished his senior year posting a 27-1-1 overall record. Baccus led his team to a 4A Region III final along with a District 34-4A Championship going 12-0 in the district. Along with his championship, Baccus obtained numerous accolades for his performance on and off the field. Baccus was named as 2012 34-4A All-District MVP, 2012 Super Centex First-Team midfielder and school MVP and Midfielder of the Year. He also earned 2012 Academic All-State honors.
"Kyle is an exciting all action box-to-box midfielder. He has a wonderful strike of the ball and is capable of scoring goals from distance," stated Coach Langan.
Bonilla, a transfer from the University of Akron, will be a redshirt freshman for the Niners. Bonilla is a midfielder that went to Collins High School in Lawrenceville, Georgia. Bonilla was a highly ranked recruit coming out of high school as he was ranked 71st in the nation according to TopDrawerSoccer.com. In 2010 ESPN named him as a member of the ESPN Rise First Team All-American squad. As a senior, he was named first-team NSCAA All-American. Bonilla was named Georgia's 5A Player of the Year while leading his club team GSA 93 to its first ODP national championship. He also played four -years for the Region III ODP team and he was a member of the U-14 and U-15 National team. He played an integral role in helping Collins High School capture two state titles and reach the state championship game four times.
"Dominic joined us for the spring semester and has made giant strides forward as he adapts to the culture we have at Charlotte. He is an extremely technical player with a great first touch and balance when in possession of the ball. He will add great composer and guile to our attack," stated Coach Langan
Bradnock-Brennan, a central defender from London, England was the captain of the Blackpool FC U-18 team. During his time there, Brennan played against some of the best players in England while competing in the FA Reserve Premier League. Before Blackpool FC he was a youth player with Fulham FC. A strong athlete, Biko holds the school records at the 100m, 200m and high jump track events. He also represented the city of London at High Jump.
"Biko is an extremely athletic six-foot-three center back with a great range of passing. Coming from a good soccer pedigree, he brings experience to our back line. He has a great vocal presence and is very confident on the ball," stated Coach Langan
Hansen, a goalkeeper from New Bern High School in New Bern, North Carolina, led his team to a third round playoff appearance in the 4A state playoffs as a senior. Hansen played in the East-West All-Star game in the summer of 2012. As a senior, Hansen posted eight shutouts, 57 saves and 0.71 goals per game. Hansen was named to the 4-A All-State and All-Region teams as well as earning All-Conference honors. Hansen follows the footsteps of his sister Berit Hansen, who is a goalkeeper at East Carolina.
"Christian has great hands and size for a goalkeeper. He has a great presence and is a good manager of his box," stated Coach Langan
Kardos, a defender from Providence High School in Matthews, North Carolina, played for the Charlotte Soccer Academy. In 2011, he helped the Charlotte Soccer Academy U-16 team tally the best record in the nation. He was ranked among the top 150 players in the nation by College Soccer News. In 2012, he was named to ESPNHS top defenders watch list. Kardos played an integral role in helping Providence reach the State playoffs as a junior and senior. As a senior, he earned All-State, All-Region, All-Conference, first-team All-Charlotte Observer and All-South honors. As a junior, he earned All-Region and All-Conference honors.
"Brandon is a tough tackling no-nonsense center back that will add great strength, pace and bravery to our back line. He is a defender in the similar mold to former 49ers standout Isaac Cowles (College Cup Defensive MVP). He is a winner and we are excited that he will bring that great drive and determination to the program," stated Coach Langan
Mayer, another transfer from the University of Akron, is a defender who saw action in seven games with four starts for Akron in 2011. Mayer, from Wigan, England, played for the Wigan Athletic FC Youth Academy. He also played for his county soccer team and was the team captain at Cansfield High School.
"David is a tenacious sharp 1v1 defender with exceptional explosive power. He will strengthen our team on the left side of the field. He has a lovely left foot, is excellent at joining into the attack, and capable of providing quality crosses," stated Coach Langan.
Pack, a goalkeeper from Alpharetta, Georgia's Chattahoochee High School, led his team to their first 4A state title in 2011. Pack played in the Region III Premier League and was selected to play for the Georgia Olympic Development Program. He played club soccer for the Atlanta Fire United Academy where he was team captain. He also played for the Georgia united in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.
"Austin is an extremely dynamic goalkeeper who is an outstanding shot stopper. He is very comfortable with the ball at his feet and is a great organizer who is very vocal," stated Coach Langan.
Parker, a midfielder and forward from Marvin, North Carolina's Marvin Ridge High School, played in the inaugural high school All-American game in 2011. He was named one of the Top 20 recruits in the South Atlantic Region by TopDrawerSoccer.com. Parker led Marvin Ridge to the playoffs four consecutive years where they won the 3A state championship in 2009. He finished his high school career with 76 goals and 58 assists. Parker was named Conference Player of the Year twice. He was a two-time All-State and three-time All-Region selection. He was also named Union County Weekly Boys Soccer Player of the Year in 2011. He helped his Charlotte Soccer Academy team qualify for the National Tournament twice.
"Kyle is a very sharp technical player who can play anywhere across the midfield and up front. He has the ability to link play between the lines and to find that killer pass. More importantly he is a goal scorer," stated Coach Langan.
Theis, an attacking midfielder from Leesville Road High School in Raleigh, North Carolina, earned All-Conference and All-Region honors. He helped Leesville Pride capture the CAP 8 champions in 2010. Theis played for the CASL Chelsea USSF Academy U18 teams.
"Branco is a tidy technical midfield playmaker that loves to be in possession of the ball. He has a great range of passing and the ability to dictate the pace of the game," stated Coach Langan.
Waechter, a defender from Greenbrier High School in Evans, Georgia, earned All-Area and All-Region honors as a junior and a senior. He helped Greenbrier reach the state championship game with a 20-0-2 record as a senior. Waechter led Greenbrier to back-to-back Georgia Region 2AAAAA championships in 2009 and 2010. He earned Greenbrier Offensive MVP honors in 2011. Waechter played for South Carolina United FC club team and led them to a Division Championship in 2010. In 2009 Waechter experienced International play as a freshman playing in Montabaur, Germany. Luke is following the footsteps of older sister Kelsey, who is a sophomore playing soccer at the University of South Florida.
"Luke is a six-foot-two strong left-sided defender. He has an excellent range of passing and is extremely composed in possession. He enjoys joining in the attack and we are very excited to facilitate his development at Charlotte," stated Coach Langan.
These ten newcomers join a 49ers roster that begins the season with exhibition games against UNC-Wilmington in Wilmington, North Carolina on August 14 and at home against Gardner-Webb on August 19. The 49ers begin the regular-season at Transamerica Field against Denver on August 25.
"This exceptional class will join an already strong roster," Langan said. "We are excited that they will continue the Charlotte tradition of representing the University and local community with energy, vigor, purpose and pride."