CHARLOTTE, N.C. –
The Charlotte women’s soccer program welcomed back and celebrated its alumni last weekend, hosting a number of activities and showcasing the current team to the former 49ers. Approximately 30 former players made their way back to campus over the course of the weekend, which was highlighted by the jersey retirement ceremony for Hailey Beam Friday night.
“We were really pleased with how the weekend went,” head coach John Cullen
said. “We had a fantastic return from the alums, and even those that couldn’t make it sent best wish messages. Even though this program has been around for 20 years, it’s amazing how short that time seems.
“The alums have played such a magnificent part of our history, whether it’s NCAA Tournament appearances, conference championships or titles, they always stay in touch with the program. It was a wonderful weekend and we celebrated in style.”
The festivities started Friday night with the current Niners squad knocking off UTSA, 2-0, at Transamerica Field. A pregame social was held in the hospitality room at the Irwin Belk Track and Field Center and then, at halftime, Beam’s jersey retirement took place on the field with her family, including the only other retired jersey in program history – sister Lindsey Beam-Ozimek – in attendance.
Saturday featured a long day for the alums, which included them taking in the thrilling 53-51 football triumph over No. 24 Gardner-Webb. Beam was again recognized, at halftime, on McColl-Richardson Field. Later that evening, at 6 p.m., an alumni vs. alumni match was held at Transamerica Field with the current group of 49ers watching from the sideline. The shortened field of play became even shorter due to the on-going sprinkler system that sprouted up on the pitch.
The weekend concluded with alums sticking around and cheering on the current Charlotte squad to a 2-2 draw against Middle Tennessee Sunday afternoon. The 49ers netted two scores in the second half to remain in a first-place tie in Conference USA’s East Division.
“The alumni match was a lot of fun and there were some great goals scored. I thought Kirby Stenard scored a fantastic goal. And it helped put a cap on a wonderful weekend, highlighted by Hailey’s jersey retirement. All in all, it was a great weekend with two good performances from our current team as well. I think the alums and our current players will look back on it with a lot of fond memories.”