CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Charlotte 49ers women's soccer team will take the field for seven matches this spring, including three on-campus, as it begins preparations for its first season of Conference USA in the fall.

"I'm excited for our team this coming spring," head coach John Cullen said. "First and foremost, it's a chance to get back on the field and start playing once again, which is always the exciting portion of the spring season. As a coaching staff, we are eager to watch the newly appointed captains develop their leadership skills on and off the field.

"We have two main focus points this spring. Those are looking to see the team play with a higher tempo and defend higher up the field. That will take a great deal of communication and understanding, and that will be the part of the spring season where we will be looking for progress from one game to another. It takes time to develop new principles and we will be looking to see improvement from game to game.

"We have a high volume of games, and in some cases back-to-back games, which certainly will test our fitness levels, too.

So, there are lots of areas to evaluate throughout the spring, but more importantly, the opportunity to get the players back on the field playing once again is the real highlight of any spring season."

The Niners begin the slate at 7 p.m. Thursday by playing host to Catawba in their only contest to be played in March.

Charlotte will then travel to Columbia, S.C., for a doubleheader April 7. The 49ers will start the day by squaring off against South Carolina at Noon before meeting Coastal Carolina in a neutral-site game at 1:30 p.m.

A return to Transamerica Field is next on the docket for the Niners, as they welcome Furman to town for a 7 p.m. start April 11.

A quick turnaround for two matches the next day will pit Charlotte in doubleheader action again, this time at Manchester Meadows Soccer Complex in Rock Hill, S.C., against USC Upstate and Winthrop. The two matches are scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. and 9 p.m., respectively.

The 49ers conclude the spring calendar by playing host to Appalachian State at 6:30 p.m. April 19 on the Charlotte practice field.

Admission to all home spring matches is free.

Charlotte 49ers women's soccer spring schedule
March 21 - Catawba (Transamerica Field) - 7 p.m.
April 7 - at South Carolina - Noon
April 7 - vs. Coastal Carolina^ - 1:30 p.m.
April 11 - Furman (Transamerica Field) - 7 p.m.
April 12 - vs. USC Upstate# - 4:30 p.m.
April 12 - vs. Winthrop# - 9 p.m.
April 19 - Appalachian State (Practice Field) - 6:30 p.m.

^ - in Columbia, S.C.
# - in Rock Hill, S.C., at Manchester Meadows Soccer Complex

Bold matches are at home