Charlotte, NC – Head Coach Kevin Langan and the nationally-ranked Charlotte 49ers men’s soccer program welcomes eight newcomers to a 2016 team that returns six starters and 17 letterwinners off last season’s NCAA Tournament team, which marked the program’s fifth straight NCAA Tournament appearance. The Niners welcome Patrick Hogan from Matthews, North Carolina, Oliver Leo from Charlotte, North Carolina, Austin Mullins from Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina, Nathaniel Phillips from Bolton, England, Phillip Salice from Mooresville, North Carolina, Noah Seach from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Ryan Spaulding from Cary, North Carolina and Marco Sunol-Rojas from Greensboro, North Carolina.
“We are very excited to announce the 2016 signing class,” Langan said. “These eight players have had fantastic youth careers and we are looking forward to their transition in our program.”
Hogan, a defender from Charlotte’s Catholic High School, played for the USSF Charlotte Soccer Academy. He was named to TopDrawerSoccer.com’s Best XI for the 2014 USSDA Summer Showcase. Hogan, who was a three-year captain for the Charlotte Soccer Academy, earned the Charlotte Soccer Academy Culture Award in 2016. Hogan, who was on the honor roll for all four years, was a member of Charlotte Catholic’s National Honor Society.
“Patrick is a commanding defender who is excellent in the air and fearless in the tackle,” Langan said. “He is composed in possession and has an excellent range of passing.”
Leo, a midfielder from Charlotte’s Providence High School, played for the USSF Charlotte Soccer Academy for four years. In 2015, he helped lead his CSA team to the Academy playoffs. He was invited to numerous training centers.
“Oliver is an athletic and versatile player who can play in several positions,” Langan said. “He has excellent technique on the ball and likes to take the game to his opponent.”
Mullins, a goalkeeper from Fuquay-Varina High School, helped is U18 Carolina Railhawks Academy team to a number one ranking in the Southeast Conference. He was named to TopDrawerSoccer.com’s Best XI for the 2015 USSDA Winter Showcase. He was captain of high school team as a sophomore and a junior. He played for the ODP Region III team on their trop to Guadalajara, Mexico. Mullins was student body vice president as well as a North Carolina Scholar who received the AP Scholar Award.
“Austin is a very good shot stopper who displays a mature, calming presence in goal,” Langan said. “He is controlled with his feet and is comfortable playing out through defense.”
Phillips, a defender from the England’s Bolton School, played for the Bolton Wanderers U21 development squad. He captained the U18 Bolton Wanderers team. In 2015, he helped his team win the Manchester Senior Cup. Phillips comes from a soccer playing family as his father Jimmy played professionally for the Bolton Wanderers, Rangers and Middlesborough FC.
“Nathaniel is a very dominant defender,” Langan said. “He is technically clean and has a great range of passing. He displays a great mindset to compete and improve.”
Salice, a midfielder from Mooresville’s Lake Norman High School, played five years for the USSF Charlotte Soccer Academy. He led his club team in goals and assists as a senior. He was invited to numerous national training centers.
“Phil is a very technical, mobile midfielder who is comfortable in several positions,” Langan said. “He is excellent in possession of the ball with a good range of passing and dribbling ability.”
Seach, a defender from Winston-Salem’s Forsyth Country Day, played for the North Carolina Fusion USSF Academy for five years. As a freshman, he played for the Fusion USSF Academy U18 team. As a senior, he captained his club team.
“Noah is a strong, competitive, left-sided defender,” Langan said. “He has a wonderful competitive mindset for the game.”
Spaulding, a midfielder Cary’s Panther Creek High School, played for CASL Railhawks USSF Academy U16 and U18 teams. He helped lead the CASL Railhawks to the 2015 Academy playoffs. He was invited to train with the NASL Railhawks professional team. In 2014, he was named to TopDrawerSoccer.com’s Academy team of the week.
“Ryan is a very dynamic left sided player,” Langan said. “He is a great 1v1 player who can create and finish chances.”
Sunol-Rojas, a junior transfer forward from the University of North Carolina, practiced with the 49ers last season but due to NCAA Transfer rules he was not able to play. During his two years at North Carolina, he saw action in 11 games with one start. As a freshman, he recorded an assist. Sunol-Rojas, a native of Costa Rica, has trained with the U23 Costa Rica national team as well as Deportivo Saprissa FC Costa Rican First division. He was a four-star recruit out of Greensboro Day. He was a member of the North Carolina ODP program for two years. He helped lead his North Carolina Fusion club team to consecutive regional and state championships in addition to national championship qualification.
“Marco is a player with an instinctual feel for a goal who comes alive in the box,” Langan said. “He has great pace and work rate to lead the offensive attack.”
These eight newcomers join a 49ers roster that begins the season with an exhibition game at home against Belmont, Tuesday, August 16. The 49ers begin the regular-season at Transamerica Field against Hofstra, Monday, August 29.