After nearly clinching a conference tournament championship in their junior season, Charlotte Men’s Soccer seniors are ready to finish off their college career with quite a year.
Tommy Madden, Callum Montgomery, Daniel Bruce and Dean Rutherford have all been vital parts of this program in their time here, but every college athlete eventually reaches their final year donning their collegiate jersey.
“I think we’ve really enjoyed the relationships we’ve made in the locker room, you know coaches and players alike. Just growing closer as a unit together, enjoying the highs and going through the lows together as a team has been a really enjoyable kind of process,” said Bruce.
During their time on the field, these athletes do their best to lead by example in a lot of ways. On the field, keeping their composure and staying focused are important, but a lot goes into being leaders away from the field as well.
“We try to show them what it takes to be a part of the main squad, and that’s just really working hard obviously on and off of the field, doing everything the right way. Not just with school, but taking care of yourself as well, not getting too drawn into this other kind of life you could live as college student,” said Madden. “Just being that role model, showing what it takes to be a top player here is big.”
Each of these seniors certainly seem to live up to the expectations they have set for themselves. Montgomery was named pre-season Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year as well as pre-season All-Conference USA for the 2018 season. He has collected many honors over his time at Charlotte including an early Defensive Player of the Week honor, which he also earned early in the 2017 season.
Madden and Bruce have also earned several honors over the years including both being named as pre-season All-Conference USA.
Rutherford has had his hand in many of the major goals for the Charlotte 49ers, such as an assist on the game-winning goal in the Conference USA Tournament semifinal game to go on to the championship game.
Sometimes the relationships you build come to mean far more than any of the honors you receive or things that you do as an athlete.
“Especially coming in with some of these guys, me and Brucey came in together, they (Madden and Bruce) came in together, so we’ve been here together for a long time now and building that bond together for four years now has been fantastic,” said Rutherford.
Aside from their accomplishments, they do wish they had done some things a little differently, whether it be not taking enough naps or not really making the best use of the opportunities within their reach.
“The facilities here are really amazing and I think my first year here, I regret not using and utilizing them as much as possible. Especially if you’re not playing as much your first year, just being able to use the amazing facilities and opportunities there are on campus with different areas, different coaches, the gym, the fields and just utilizing all of these things available to you is pretty important,” said Bruce.
Making the most of their time isn’t always easy, but these athletes certainly seem to have done so, even making time for the occasional round of darts, which apparently the soccer players enjoy doing quite often.
As far as what they plan to do at the end of their time at Charlotte as players, all of the senior stars hope to continue playing professionally when they leave the Niners.
“I think all of us have aspirations to play professionally, I can’t speak for them for sure, I know I definitely want to play professionally and then also probably pursue some sort or master’s or graduate’s degree, I’m not entirely sure yet,” said Montgomery.
These young men can be seen on Transamerica Field throughout the fall season leading the Niners to what will likely be a wonderful season. They will continue to do so Friday, Sept. 7 at Old Dominion at 7 p.m.