Men’s soccer salutes seniors

As their final season comes to a close, learn more about the seniors on the men's team

| November 1, 2016
The seniors gathering together before senior night. Photo by Chris Crews.

The seniors gathering together before senior night. Photo by Chris Crews.

This weekend the soccer team laced up and honored the five seniors on the team. After the pregame ceremony, the players delivered on the field and defeated FAU and took sole ownership of the number one slot in conference. Here’s a closer look at the seniors on the team.

Matej Decovic

Decovic, originally from Zagreb, Croatia, is a 6-foot-2 defender who is not afraid to shoot. During his senior campaign, he has three goals to go along with two assists, while also chipping in on 27 shutouts at Charlotte. Last season, Decovic finished the season tied for third on the team in assists.

The senior defender’s most memorable moment came against Wofford in his freshman season, where he scored his first career goal in the 105th minute of action to seal the deal for the 49ers. He was selected to the NCCISA first team all-state and the third team All-Conference USA in his junior season.

With Dekovic being one of the few international players on the team, he thinks back to when he first came to Charlotte from Croatia.

“When you get in here, it’s just a different culture that I’ve never experienced before. With me coming here alone from a different country, everyone from the coaches, players and fans were really great.”

Brandt Bronico

Bronico, one of the two captains on the team, is a 5-foot-8 forward from High Point, North Carolina, who may go down as one of the best Charlotte players to every wear the green and white. Bronico has contributed 23 goals and 23 assists in his four years, recently jumping into the top-10 for most career points.

He earned Conference USA-all season in each season, including first team selection in 2014 and 2015. He has been the anchor for one of the best offenses in college soccer for four-straight seasons, but is not ready to hang up the cleats in college just yet.

“It hasn’t hit me yet. We still have a lot of soccer to play. We’ve been playing well the whole season and it’s just another game in the process. I believe we can go deep into the tournament and I’m just looking forward to that.”

Bronco said that his favorite moment as a 49er came when he netted the winner against Radford last season in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Mark Sloan

Sloan, a 5-foot-8 midfielder from Carlisle, England, transferred into Charlotte, appearing in 15 games in his first season, while capturing an assist against Old Dominion. His first goal came against Marshall while adding in big minutes in their NCAA tournament run. “I don’t score many goals, so when that one went in, it was good feeling for sure.”

Coming from England, Sloan made sure to create a great support system with his new family in the Queen City. “We are really fortunate to have a good culture of coaches and teammates at Charlotte. My church family is big for me too. They’ve been an awesome support system through the good times and the bad times.”

Luke Waechter

Waechter, a 6-foot-2 defender from Evans, Georgia, has played an integral role in each of his four seasons for the Charlotte defense, being named captain with Bronico this year. He earned Conference USA All-Freshman honors while starting in 19 games his first year with the 49ers. He also scored three goals and recorded three assists that season.

In his sophomore campaign, Waechter led a defense that won the Conference USA regular season title. “Winning the conference tournament here was one of my best moments.” Waechter, known for his great defense, scored the game winning goal against FIU in his sophomore season, starting all 19 games that season.

Waechter and the Charlotte backline only allowed 15 goals in 20 games last season, while also earning a spot on TopDrawSoccer.com’s National Team of the Week. One of Waechter’s biggest goals of his career came against Radford in last year’s NCAA tournament.

With all his success thus far, Waechter didn’t have the ideal start to his college career, wishing he could have given himself advice to his younger self.

“I honestly just didn’t come in ready freshman year, so I would have loved to tell myself how the college game is and how to adapt to it quicker. But it all happens for a reason and I feel like I adapted well and it obviously worked out for me pretty well.”

Maxi Rodriguez

Rodriguez, a 5-foot-11 midfielder from San Antonio, Texas, scored his two goals of this season over the last two games, finding the net against South Carolina and also on his senior night against FAU.

In his sophomore season, he started 17 games while helping the 49ers earn a No. 10 seed in the NCAA tournament. His four assists his junior season were good for second on the team, starting all 20 games. He was named second-team All-Conference USA and NCCSIA second-team all-state.

With the regular season coming to an end soon, Rodriguez talked about his experience with his teammates. “This year we have a special bond and I think with the experiences that I have with them on and off the pitch, just being together is what I cherish the most.”

The Texas native also realizes that with his collegiate career coming to an end, there is one person in particular that he thanks for his opportunity to play for the Niners. “My dad. He does a lot of the handwork and he does it everyday from seven in the morning to seven at night and doesn’t expect anyone to pat him on the back. I guess thats kind of my role here. I don’t get the goals or the glamour but I do the hard work and even though no one pats me on the back, I enjoy doing it.”

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Category:Men's Soccer, Sports, Video

Trevor Wilt is the co-sports editor for the Niner Times from Concord, North Carolina. He is a communications major with a journalism minor. Trevor also works with the campus radio station, Radio Free Charlotte, where he host his own sports show and also does play-by-play commentating for the men’s and women’s basketball teams.

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Trevor Wilt is the co-sports editor for the Niner Times from Concord, North Carolina. He is a communications major with a journalism minor. Trevor also works with the campus radio station, Radio Free Charlotte, where he host his own sports show and also does play-by-play commentating for the men’s and women’s basketball teams.