UNC Charlotte men’s soccer finalizes 11-player incoming class

CHARLOTTE, NC- Ahead of the 2022 men’s soccer season, the UNC Charlotte 49ers have announced the completion of their 11-man signing class.

The class consists of six transfers from other institutions and five incoming freshmen, all of whom will have four full years of college eligibility.

ABOUBACAR TRAORE | MEDIUM FILTER | ABIDJAN, IVORY COAST

Aboubacar Traore was the Niners’ first signing of the upcoming season, coming to Queen City from Ghana’s Right to Dream Academy.

“Bouba is a very exciting and dynamic midfielder who is very technical and easy on the ball,” said Coach Langan. “He’s able to unlock the opponent’s defense with his attacking play.”

Traore is a speedy midfielder with phenomenal touch and an innate ability to read the field. A native of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, he arrived in Queen City ahead of the Spring 2022 semester and will be eligible for four full years.

“We were delighted to have him join us in the spring so he could familiarize himself with the rigors of college football,” Langan continued.

JAKE O’CONNOR | DEFENDER | CARY, NC

Jake O’Connor He moved to Charlotte last spring after a two-year stint against former C-USA Soccer opponents South Carolina.

“Jake is a strong and technical defender who reads the game well,” said Coach Langan. “He’s very composed in possession and has a great range of passes that connects our defense with our forwards.”

In two seasons at Columbia, O’Connor played 15 games and six starts, all at center back, while becoming a growing anchor for the Gamecocks backline.

In high school, O’Connor was a four-year starter at Green Hope High School while also captaining his club team, NC Elite. After graduating from high school in 2020, O’Connor was ranked No. 66 overall in the United States and a top-25 defender while ranking seventh overall in the South Atlantic region according to Top Drawer Soccer.

SAMY KOLBY | MIDFELD | CHARLOTTE, NC

Samy Kolby, a local product, was the second true freshman to sign with the 49ers and drop out of Carmel Christian High School in Matthews.

“Sam is a very technical and mobile midfielder,” said coach Langan. “He has a great engine to constantly make an impact and stay involved in the game.”

During his senior season with Carmel Christian, Kolby recorded six goals and one assist in 18 games for the Cougars. At club level, Kolby has spent time at Atlanta United, Orlando City and Charlotte FC Academies, while earning try-out opportunities at FC Bayern Munich in the German Bundesliga.

Kolby was also a four-star recruit who graduated from high school and will arrive in Queen City with four full years of eligibility.

BRAD DILDY | MIDFELD | SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS

Brad Dildy, a freshman from San Antonio, Texas, comes to Queen City after a four-year playing career at Smithson Valley High School and a club-level run at San Antonio FC Academy.

“Bradley is a very attacking left winger,” said Coach Langan. “He has great drive and energy to influence the game and will provide great balance for our team on the left.”

For his club, Dildy received an academy contract at 17 and was named a USL Academy Player to Watch.

In high school, he was named San Antonio High School’s Player of the Year and was one of the top 150 players in the country in the Class of 2022.

He was also the MVP of the Texas State All-Star Game and was an All-State selection three times.

NICK SCOTT | DEFENDER | FAIRVIEW, PA

Second-year Nick Scott, a transfer from Akron, arrives in Queen City with three full seasons remaining after just one season in Ohio.

“Nick brings a great deal of collegiate football experience to the table,” said Coach Langan. “He is a very conscientious young man who works extremely hard and has a great will to win.”

As a youth player, Scott was a four-year letterwinner at Fairview High School while earning valuable playing time with the US Soccer Development Academy’s Internationals Academy and leading the Columbus Crew U-17 and U-19 teams to the MLS Developmental playoffs League in 2018 and 2019.

SEBASTIAN CUTLER DEJESUS ​​| GOALKEEPER | BROOKLYN, New York

A native of Brooklyn, New York, Sebastian Cutler comes to the 49ers as a true freshman, having spent a gap year with the Charlotte Independence after graduating high school in 2021.

“Sebastian is a very vocal GK who is extremely confident with his build-up play,” said Coach Langan. “He’s a great shot stopper with a good size and will fit in really well with our goalkeeping squad.”

Cutler is currently finishing a stint with the U-23 players at Estoril Praia – a club that plays in the Portuguese first division – and spent some time this summer as the starting goalkeeper for the Puerto Rico U-20 national team during the Concacaf-U -20 Championship acted as a qualifier for the U-20 World Cup.

In that competition, he played 90 minutes in Puerto Rico’s competition against CONCACAF giants Mexico.

FILIP JAUK | CONTINUE | MARIBOR, SLOVENIA

2021 runner-up Team All-Conference USA honoree and FAU transfer is sophomore Filip Jauk, arriving in Charlotte with the Owls after just one season in Boca Raton.

“We know Filip very well from our games against FAU last season,” said coach Langan. “He’s an excellent striker with great presence and technique. The important thing is that he knows where the goal is and constantly tries to put himself in a goal-scoring position. He’s also a proven collegiate-level goalscorer.”

Jauk finished last season second behind FAU with eight goals and scored four goals in C-USA games. He also competed in all 19 of FAU’s competitions, collecting eight starts and adding to his postseason honors by earning a spot on the C-USA All-Freshman team.

He was also integral to the Owls’ rise to the C-USA Championship last season, scoring the crucial penalty in Owls PK’s win over Charlotte and assisting in two of FAU’s three goals against Marshall in the semifinals.

MATTHEW KIRK | MIDFELD | DERRY, IRELAND

The Niners, who hail from Derry, Ireland, have added college football veteran Matthew Kirk, who arrives in Queen City with two years of eligibility remaining after a stint at Cal State Monterey Bay.

“Matt is a powerful midfielder with an excellent passing range,” said Coach Langan. “He’s very clean in tight areas and likes to play the game at a high pace.”

During his first season at CSMB, Kirk played under the 49ers’ current assistant Shane Carew. Prior to his time in California, Kirk attended high school at Columbs College, Derry and played at club level for both Newbuildlings and Coleraine FC.

BRIGHAM LARSEN | CONTINUE | Oslo, Norway

After a hugely successful freshman campaign at Winthrop in nearby Rock Hill, South Carolina, Brigham Larsen joins the 49ers as a sophomore with three years of college eligibility remaining.

“Brigham is an athletic, strong player who is a nightmare for defenders,” said Coach Langan. “He’s adept at picking up the ball in front of or behind the opposition line and is another proven collegiate-level goalscorer.”

Larsen received First Team All-Big South honors and was named Freshman of the Year after an 11-goal season as the league-best.

His 11 goals were the most by a Winthrop freshman since 2005 and he was the first Eagle to be named Big South Freshman of the Year since Max Hasenstab in 2013.

ABUBACARR FOFANA | DEFENDER | WILSON, NC

A first-team all-conference defenseman at North Carolina Wesleyan is junior Abobacarr Fofana. Fofana attended Wilson Community College as a freshman in 2019 before transferring to Wesleyan ahead of the COVID-hit 2020-21 campaign.

“Abu is a strong defender who is very good in 1v1 situations,” said Coach Langan. “He is very composed and calm in possession with a smooth passing technique.”

Last season for Wesleyan, Fofana started 16 of Bishop’s 17 games and scored a goal from a set piece, while being an anchor in the backbone of a side that narrowly missed out on the Conference title and lost to PKs in the Finals.

LARS ERIK SODAL | MIDFELD | STAVANGER, NORWAY

An integral part of the youth squads of the Norwegian national team is true midfielder Lars Erik Sodal.

“Lars Erik comes to the squad with a lot of experience from his playing career in Norway,” said coach Langan. “He’s a very relaxed passing midfielder who has a lot of possession. He has played men’s soccer for the past two seasons, which will help him prepare for the rigors of college soccer in America.”

Sodal played for Norway U-16. U-18 and U-19 teams and arrives in Queen City after playing for Viking FC, a club in the top division of Norwegian football.

The full Niners roster will open the 2022 campaign on Thursday, August 25 at UCONN for the Niners’ 11th season under Head Man Kevin Langan.

Leave a Comment