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Women's Recruiting Jun 30, 2023

UNC Charlotte finalizes 2023 signing class highlighted by four North Carolina natives

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Charlotte 49ers women’s soccer head coach Brandi Fontaine announced the rest of her incoming class for the 2023 season.

Joining South Carolina transfer Payton Patrick, who was announced last week, is one other transfer and six incoming freshmen – with four total newcomers hailing from North Carolina.

Serena Spitz • Defender • Raleigh, N.C. • Raleigh Carter HS (George Mason)

Spitz is Charlotte’s other transfer, coming to the Queen City after spending her first two seasons of collegiate soccer at George Mason. She appeared in 28 matches and made 18 starts over her two seasons with the Patriots, scoring one goal and adding one assist while helping the backline post three clean sheets. Spitz was an All-Conference player at Raleigh Carter High School during the 2018-19 school year and played her club soccer for NCFC Courage Academy. She enrolled in Charlotte early and participated in CLT’s spring season.

Fontaine on Spitz: “We are very excited to have Serena join our program. She has a great understanding of the game, her role within our system, and the ability to be a leader. She can get forward and be dangerous in the attack as well as be strong and disciplined in her responsibility as a defender. She has already shown her impact this spring on and off the field. I have no doubt she will have a big impact on our program as we take this next step into the American Athletic Conference.”

Nika Louchard • Midfielder • Redmond, Wash. • Kirkland HS

Another early enrollee that was on campus to participate in the spring season, Louchard has traveled across the country from Washington to join the Niners ahead of the 2023 season. Louchard did not play soccer in high school, instead only playing in club events with Eastside ECNL and Crossfire Premier. She won the 2020-21 Pacific Northwest Division Championship and ended 2020, ’21, and ’21 ranked as the best club in the state of Washington – reaching a national ranking of fourth and sixth in 2021 and 2022, respectively. Louchard also received a Youth National Team training invitation in 2016-17 before missing the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons recovering from injury.

Fontaine on Louchard: “Nika is a very tidy and crafty player. She has the ability to get out of pressure and create good opportunities in the attack. She brings a great deal of depth to our midfield and has the ability to put teammates into great attacking opportunities. She fits the style of play we want in our midfielders and has already shown an impact, coming in this past spring.”

Kandis Calvin • Defender/Forward • Charlotte, N.C. • South Mecklenburg HS

Calvin decided to stay home for her collegiate career, coming to campus from South Mecklenburg High School where she was an All-Conference and All-Region player in 2023. She helped South Meck win the 4A Conference Championship in 2021 and got her team to the Sweet 16 in 2023. Calvin played her club soccer with the Charlotte Development Academy, where she won the DPL Southeastern Conference Championship in 2021 and 2022. She also played with the Barefoot Futbol Club and won the USYF South Atlantic Futsal Regional in 2020 and 2021.

Fontaine on Calvin: “Kandis has a bright future ahead of her. She is a tremendous athlete who is just starting to hit her stride. The growth she has shown in these last six months has been amazing to watch. She is going to be powerful for us on both sides of the ball.”

Emily Ford • Forward • Wake Forest, N.C. • Heritage HS

Ford was a two-time All-Conference, All-Region, and Academic All-Conference player at Heritage High School and helped her team win a pair of conference championships in 2021 and 2022. In 2022 Heritage reached the conference tournament championship and advanced to the third round of the state playoffs. That season she also led Heritage in total points after scoring 12 goals and tacking on six assists, finishing with the second-most points in all of the NAC-6 Conference. Ford played her club soccer with NCFC 04/05 ECNL in Raleigh and helped her team reach the ECNL playoffs from 2020-22. She was named a team captain in 2021-22 and was a Top Drawer Soccer Player to Watch in the Florida ECNL Playoffs in 2021.

Fontaine on Ford: “Emily is a very dynamic player who will add great depth to a very powerful front line. Her ability to take players 1v1, dribble out of pressure, and by dynamic will serve her well as she plays here at Charlotte. She is coming from a great club who plays in a similar style to how we do.”

Emily Protiva • Goalkeeper • Hermosa Beach, Calif. • Mira Costa HS

Protiva is another player making the trek across the country from the West Coast to the Queen City and is the only goalkeeper in the incoming class. She spent her high school career between Mira Costa and Mater Dei, only playing one season of varsity soccer at Mira Costa. She also played varsity lacrosse at both high schools she attended, earning the title of Rookie of the Year in her only season playing at Mater Dei. In her one season playing soccer for Mira Costa, Protiva helped her team to a Co-Championship of the Bay League. She played her club soccer with LA Surf and helped the club win their ECNL Division Championship in 2021. An ODP Pool and US Soccer Training Center invitee, Protiva was invited to both the GA National Talent ID and the Southwest/Mountainwest GA Talent ID events in 2022.

Fontaine on Protiva: “Emily will add to our competitive goalkeeper group. She is a strong goalkeeper whom we are excited to see grow and develop. She has a strong foundation in building out of the back and should fit into our game plan well. She has a high ceiling and we look forward to seeing what she does at this next level.”

Madison Walpole • Defender • Raleigh, N.C. • Broughton HS

Walpole is another member of this year’s class that didn’t play soccer in high school, instead spending four years on the varsity basketball team at Broughton High School. She helped her squad win the 2020 NCS D1 Championship and was a Caps Six Conference Honorable Mention All-Conference player in 2021-22. Her soccer experience through her high school years came via playing for her club of NCFC ECNL in Raleigh.

Fontaine on Walpole: “Madison is a strong and simplistic center back, who will add some depth in our backline. She comes from a possession-based program that looks to build out of the back like we do. She has shown the ability to remain calm under pressure and connect with her teammates.”

Autumn Webb • Defender • Frisco, Texas • Lone Star HS

Webb hails from Frisco, Texas, where she was Lone Star High School’s Defensive MVP in 2021-22. She was a two-time FISD First Team All-District player and was named to the All-Region Second Team in 2021-22. A two-sport athlete, Webb was also a five-time track and field All-American at Lone Star. She played her club soccer for DKSC ECNL-RL U18/U19 and won the 2021-22 ECNL-RL Conference Championship.

Fontaine on Webb: “Autumn is a very strong and pacey outside back. She brings great depth to our backline front an attacking and defensive standpoint. She is fast going forward and has the ability to creat problems 1v1 or even through her ability to see the game and keep possession for us.”