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NCAA Jul 21, 2022

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

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

The class features six transfers from other intuitions and five incoming freshmen who will all have four full years of collegiate eligibility.

ABOUBACAR TRAORE | MIDFILDER | ABIDJAN, IVORY COAST

Aboubacar Traore was the first addition to the Niners for the upcoming season, arriving in the Queen City from the Right to Dream Academy in Ghana.

“Bouba is a very exciting and dynamic midfielder who is very technical and composed in possession,” Coach Langan said. “He is able to unlock the opposition’s defense with his attacking play.”

Traore is a pacey midfielder with a phenomenal first touch and innate ability to read the field. The Abidjan, Ivory Coast native arrived in the Queen City ahead of the Spring 2022 semester and will have four full years of eligibility.

“We were very happy he was able to join us in the Spring so he could become fully familiar with the rigors of college soccer,” Langan continued.

JAKE O’CONNOR | DEFENDER | CARY, N.C.

Jake O’Connor transferred to Charlotte this past Spring following a two-year stint against former C-USA Soccer foe, South Carolina.

“Jake is a strong and technical defender who reads the game well,” Coach Langan said. “He is very composed in possession and has a great range of passing that links our back line to our forwards.”

In two seasons in Columbia, O’Connor made 15 appearances and six starts, all at centerback, while steadily becoming an 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. Out of high school in 2020, O’Connor was the No. 66 overall recruit in the US and a top-25 defender, while ranking seventh overall in the South Atlantic Region according to Top Drawer Soccer.

SAMY KOLBY | MIDFIELDER | CHARLOTTE, N.C.

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

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

In his senior season with Carmel Christian, Kolby tallied six goals and an assist in 18 matches for the Cougars. At the club level, Kolby spent time with Atlanta United, Orlando City and Charlotte FC Academies, while earning trial opportunities with Bayern Munich of the German Bundesliga.

Kolby was also a four-star recruit coming out of high school and will arrive in the Queen City with four full years of eligibility.

BRAD DILDY | MIDFIELDER | SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS

An incoming freshman from San Antonio, Texas, Brad Dildy arrives in the Queen City following a four-year playing career at Smithson Valley High School and a run with the San Antonio FC Academy at the club level.

“Bradley is a very attack-minded left sided player,” Coach Langan said. “He has a great drive and energy to impact the game and will offer great balance to our team down the left side.”

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

In high school he was named the San Antonio High School Player of the Year and was a top-150 player in the country in the class of 2022.

He was also the MVP of the Texas State All-Star game and was a three-time all-state selection.

NICK SCOTT | DEFENDER | FAIRVIEW, PA

A transfer from Akron, sophomore Nick Scott arrives in the Queen City with three full seasons of eligibility remaining after just one season in Ohio.

“Nick joins us with great college soccer experience already,” Coach Langan said. “He is a very conscientious young man who is extremely hard working 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 Internationals Academy at the US Soccer Development Academy, along with leading the Columbus Crew U-17 and U-19 squads to the MLS Developmental League Playoffs in 2018 and 2019.

SEBASTIAN CUTLER-DEJESUS | GOALKEEPER | BROOKLYN, NY

A Brooklyn, New York native, Sebastian Cutler, comes to the 49ers as a true freshman following a gap year taken with the Charlotte Independence following his High School Graduation in 2021.

“Sebastian is a very vocal GK who is extremely confident with his buildup play,” Coach Langan said. “He is a great shot stopper with good size and will fit in great with our goalkeeping group.”

Cutler is currently finishing a stint with the Estoril Praia U-23’s—a club that plays in the Portuguese first Division—and spent time this summer as the starting keeper for the Puerto Rico U-20 National Team during the Concacaf U-20 Championship that acted as qualifiers for the U-20 World Cup.

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

FILIP JAUK | FORWARD | MARIBOR, SLOVENIA

2021 Second Team All-Conference USA honoree and FAU transfer is sophomore Filip Jauk who arrives in Charlotte following just one season in Boca Raton with the Owls.

“We know Filip very well from our games vs. FAU last season” Coach Langan said. “He is an excellent forward with great presence and technique. Importantly, he knows where the goal is and is constantly trying to put himself in a goal scoring position. He is also a proven goal scorer at the collegiate level.”

Jauk finished last season, second on FAU in goals, with eight strikes, scoring four times in C-USA play. He also appeared in all 19 of FAU’s contests, earning eight starts and added to his postseason accolades by earning a spot on the C-USA All-Freshman team.

He was also integral to the Owls advancing to the C-USA Championship last season, scoring the decisive penalty in the Owls PK victory over Charlotte and assisting in the run of play on two of FAU’s three goals against Marshall in the semifinal round.

MATTHEW KIRK | MIDFIELDER | DERRY, IRELAND

A native of Derry, Ireland, the Niners have added college soccer veteran Matthew Kirk who arrives in the Queen City with two years of eligibility remaining following a stint at Cal State Monterey Bay.

“Matt is a strong running midfielder who has an excellent passing range,” Coach Langan said. “He is very clean in tight areas and enjoys playing the game at a high tempo.”

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

BRIGHAM LARSEN | FORWARD | OLSO, NORWAY

Following a highly successful freshman campaign at Winthrop in nearby Rock Hill, South Carolina, sophomore forward Brigham Larsen joins the 49ers with three years of collegiate eligibility remaining.

“Brigham is an athletic, powerful player who is a nightmare for defenders to compete against,” Coach Langan said. “He is gifted at receiving the ball in front or behind the opponent’s defensive line and is another proven goal scorer at the collegiate level.”

Larsen earned First Team All-Big South honors and was named the league’s Freshman of the Year following a league-best 11 goal season.

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

ABUBACARR FOFANA | DEFENDER | WILSON, N.C.

A first team All-Conference defender 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 impacted 2020-21 campaign.

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

Last season for Wesleyan, Fofana started in 16 of Bishops 17 matches, scoring one goal of a set piece while being an anchor in the back line of a squad that narrowly missed out on a conference title, fall in the final on PK’s.

LARS ERIK SODAL | MIDFIELDER | STAVANGER, NORWAY

A staple in the youth sides of the Norwegian national team is true freshman midfielder Lars Erik Sodal.

“Lars Erik joins the squad with great experience from his playing career in Norway,” Coach Langan said. “He is a very composed passing midfielder who is very strong in possession. Over the past two seasons he has been playing men’s soccer which will help him prepare for the rigors of college soccer in America.”

Sodal played for Norway’s U-16. U-18 and U-19 sides and arrives in the Queen City following a stint with Viking FC a club in the top division of Norwegian soccer.

The Niners complete roster will open the 2022 campaign on Thursday, Aug. 25 at UCONN for the Niners 11th season under head man Kevin Langan.

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