The Charlotte 49er men's soccer team opens up their 2021 season with a road game against ACC foe Duke Friday, Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. on ACC Network Extra.
"Yes, it has been a long way coming," Coach Kevin Langan said after practice this week. "The guys are really excited. We were training all through the fall, and we're proud of how the guys trained, how they develop, how they improve every day. But there is no substitute for playing competitive games. And the guys are just desperate to get out there and compete again."
Key Players for Charlotte
Charlotte's key player is goalkeeper redshirt senior Austin Mullins, who already has recorded a shutout in his career and will look to have a great run in his first full-time season as a starter.
Another key player for Charlotte, who is on the MAC Hermann Trophy watchlist, is redshirt senior defender Patrick Mullins. He was a 2019 first-team All-Conference USA selection and played an integral role last season in a seventh defense in the nation with a league-best 0.66 goals against opponents and eight shutouts.
Key Players for Duke
One key player is goalkeeper Eliot Hamill, who will also begin his first season as a full-time starter. This match will be his first official collegiate game in his career.
Another key player for the Blue Devils is Captain Jack Doran, who led the team in three goals. Jack will continue to lead a team that finished 2-6 last season.
Keys for a Charlotte victory
One key for Charlotte is to continue to dominate on defense. With eight shutouts last season, Charlotte needs to continue making strides on defense to win the game.
Another key to the game is to build momentum early in the game. If Charlotte wants to win their first game of the season, they need to start the game with a bang. Scoring early in the game would be something the Niners would cherish for a team that has not played a season in more than a year.
Charlotte is returning to the field after a long layoff due to COVID-19, while Duke went 2-6 during the fall ACC season. Charlotte has not played a regular-season game since 2019. In their one exhibition game, Charlotte tied with Liberty 1-1 with Liberty on Jan. 30.