The five-foot-seven midfielder came to Charlotte from Mandeville, La. and is one of three captains on the team this season. She has totaled nine goals for the 49ers, three of which were game-winners. Beatty joined Martha Thomas during her junior season as the only Niners with multiple game-winning goals after the Winthrop and FIU matches.
The pre-public health major and psychology minor has started 41 matches during her time in the Queen City. Coming all the way from the bayou, Beatty was homesick when she first arrived on campus. From soccer, however, Beatty found her temporary home in Charlotte.
“From coming in freshman year, I really struggled coming 12 hours away and forming a relationship with them really helped. By October I loved Charlotte. I told my mom I wanted to transfer, but then by October I had to tell her ‘never mind, I love it here,’ and I think bonding with my class helped,” Beatty said.
After kicking off her senior season with two assists against Western Carolina, Shelby Hicks has had a solid senior season. She has recorded assists her junior year against Georgia Southern and her sophomore year against UNC Wilmington.
Her junior year Hicks played in the full 90 minutes of a game four times, registering a season-high 93 minutes when Charlotte took on North Texas. She earned a spot on the All-Conference USA Academic Second Team after her sophomore year. To highlight her freshman year, the exercise science major snagged a starting spot in the Conference USA Championship quarterfinal.
The biggest difference Hicks has seen over her time with Charlotte is bonds within the team. The seniors made it a priority to create relationships with all of their teammates, especially the freshmen.
“We definitely got a lot closer with the freshman. When I was a freshman coming in I was really scared of the seniors and we weren’t really close. Now the teams really meshes,” Hicks said.
Acquiring a major in in political science and a minor in women’s and gender studies is Perri Bonner. The Atlanta native has been on the field for at least ten games every year she’s been a 49er. During her sophomore year Bonner racked up a career-high four goals. The forward has made an impact during her senior season claiming responsibility for two game-winner goals against Georgia State and Georgia Southern.
The soccer team kicks off every season with a trip. The seniors have come a long way from their initial trip to the North Carolina mountains to their final trip this year across the pond. Regardless of the destination, Bonner loved the bonding aspects of the trips.
“Freshman year we went to Asheville and we stayed in these two cabins. One was a little bit nicer than the other, but we really bonded over that. It was really cool closing out senior year with a trip to Europe because no other team has done that before,” Bonner said. “It’s awesome to get to bond with all of your teammates.”
Bonner also values the real-life experience gained from playing the sport.
“Every year we’ve had a minimum of twenty girls you have to be stuck with for months and get along with. It’s given us real life experience that we can use when we move on from soccer,” Bonner said.
Hailing from Apex is the midfield defender Kaitlin Walker. Walker has been a force on the field, starting every game her final season at Charlotte. The exercise science major is one of three captains for the 49ers this season. Walker’s solo career goal came against the College of Charleston her freshman year. She tallied another point with an assist her junior season against UAB.
One thing Walker has found during her time with Charlotte is a never failing support system.
“It’s hard to transition from living at home and having everything taken care of for you and then coming to college where there are some times when it’s hard. In those times you really have to lean on your teammates and they become kind of like your family,” Walker said.
Playing soccer has taught the N.C. native valuable life lessons.
“It’s when you leave your comfort zone that you find things you enjoy. You have a better experience when you go out of your element,” Walker said.
Joining the 49ers late was transfer Katie O’Neill. A history major, American studies minor, O’Neill made up for lost time on the field the past two seasons. She led the team in assists with a career-high six assists last season. The New Jersey native receiving All-Conference USA Third Team for her junior season. She continued to make an impact during her senior season, claiming responsibility for four assists. O’Neill had a memorable senior night when she scored a hat trick, recording her first hat trick during her time in Charlotte.
Being on the soccer team helped O’Neill when she transferred to the Queen City from Binghamton in time for her junior season.
“One of the best things about this experience is that you come in with twenty something automatic friends. You don’t have to go through some of the other struggles that a normal college student would have to go through. By the time you leave you get to hang on to these friends for life,” O’Neill said.
Over her years playing soccer, O’Neill has gained a new perspective when it comes to putting in the work necessary to succeed.
“You come in freshman year and everything you’re doing is new. Then you go through and do it every single year. By senior year, everything you ever hated or complained about all gets put into perspective to the point where you wish you could still do this forever, but you can’t. Each year as you move on you start to appreciate things more and more,” O’Neill said.