Carolina Men’s Soccer Adds O’Keefe To Coaching Lineup

The UNC men’s soccer program is making moves this offseason. In an effort to fortify recruiting efforts, earlier this week, the Tar Heels and head coach Carlos Somoano hired Jason O’Keefe as an assistant coach.

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O’Keefe joins the Carolina soccer team after spending the last four seasons at Saint Louis University as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator.

O’Keefe should provide an added boost in the recruiting department, his primary responsibility for the Tar Heels. He’s coached or recruited 32 players that have been drafted and played professionally in the United States and abroad.

O'Keefe (UNC Athletics)

O’Keefe (UNC Athletics)

O’Keefe was named the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Mid-Atlantic Region Assistant Coach of the Year at the conclusion of the 2012 season. He guided the Billikens to an Atlantic 10 Conference tournament title and a No. 8 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.

The man who began his prolific coaching career inside the ACC at Wake Forest in 2003 and graduated from Greensboro College in 1997 with a degree in history and secondary education, says he’s “honored and humbled to join an institution like North Carolina that strives for the best both academically and on the playing field.”

There’s been one consistent theme to O’Keefe throughout his career – that’s winning. In addition to his recent success at Saint Louis, he won a ACC regular season championship with the Demon Deacons in 2004 and guided the Cincinnati Bearcats to a Big East crown in 2006.

The Tar Heels kick off their 2014 campaign Aug. 29 by hosting the Carolina Nike Classic and welcoming west coast foes California and UCLA to Chapel Hill.

By all outside appearances, it looks like an impressive hire for UNC, which struggled to find the back of the net a season ago. If O’Keefe is able to attract some more offensive talent to Chapel Hill to go along with an already formidable defense, it will be a mission accomplished.

WCHL Expands 2014 UNC Soccer Broadcast Coverage

Updated 8:06 a.m., June 13, 2014

WCHL Championship Sports is proud to announce expanding coverage of UNC soccer this fall with an additional game added to the lineup.

The 2014 broadcast slate will kick off with the Carolina Nike Classic on Friday, Aug. 22 as the perennial powerhouse Carolina women’s soccer squad takes on national contender Stanford under the lights in Chapel Hill.

The WCHL broadcast team will be live on-site at Fetzer Field for 11 contests this season, nine women’s games and two men’s matchups.

Both squads will be aiming for more national championship glory after disappointing postseason finishes in 2013.



Friday, August 22 7p – v Stanford (Carolina Nike Classic)

Sunday, August 24 3p – v Ohio State (Carolina Nike Classic)

Sunday, September 7 12n – v Arkansas* (Duke Nike Classic)

*The opponents’ days on the original schedule were flipped. Carolina plays Penn State Friday and Arkansas Sunday. WCHL will not broadcast the Penn State contest.

Sunday, September 28 1p – @ NC State

Friday, October 3 5p – v Virginia Tech (immediately followed by HS football?)

Thursday, October 9 7p – v WakeForest

Sunday, October 12 1p – v Pittsburgh

Thursday, October 23 7p – v Florida State

Sunday, October 26 1p – v Miami



Sunday, August 31 7p – v UCLA (Carolina Nike Classic)

Tuesday, October 7 7p – v Campbell

Tar Heel Soccer Duo Named All-South Region

CHAPEL HILL– Carolina men’s soccer players Boyd Okwuonu and Jonathan Campbell have been selected to the National Association of America All-South Region Team.

Okwuonu, a first team All-South member, was the ACC Defender of the Year and anchored the stingy Tar Heel defense at center back in all 20 matches this season.

Campbell, a third team All-South member, was a big contributor on the defensive side of the field and was also named to the All-ACC second team.

The Tar Heel defense only allowed 13 goals all season long. That mark was the sixth fewest in the nation.

Which Gets Upgrades First, Soccer Or Basketball?

CHAPEL HILL – UNC Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham says Fetzer Field is Carolina’s athletic facility most in need of upgrades, but money will likely be the deciding factor when it comes down to which programs see improvement first.

“Basketball is such a primary revenue driver for the department, it’s hard to not think about basketball as a way to potentially pay for additional projects,” Cunningham says. “We’re doing them in tandem, but the one I’d like to complete first would be soccer.”

Fetzer Field is the home of the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams, six track programs, and the men’s and women’s soccer teams. The facility was constructed in 1935 and saw renovations in 1988-90.

The women’s soccer team is by far the most successful Division I program as it has won 22 national titles in the sport’s 34-year history. The Tar Heels are one win away from going back to the College Cup in search of defending their national title.

The Dean E. Smith Center opened January 18, 1986 and has since seen two expansions—one in 1992 and another in 2000. Its current capacity is just less than 22,000.

Cunningham says there are still more questions than answers about what to do with the Smith Center: renovate or rebuild.

“When you begin the discussion of enhancing an existing facility—particularly a building that’s almost 30 years old—at some point, the efficiency of renovation is surpassed by a new building,” Cunningham says. “So, I think we need to look at both. It’s just too early to tell which of those potential options becomes more appealing over time.”

In March, Cunningham told WCHL that changes to the UNC basketball facility were years away and that the discussions were just beginning. Not much has changed in the eight months since word first broke that changes were coming. And, he says he wants to take the next 12 months to get the answers to what route UNC Athletics should take.

Many of the lower-level seats are reserved for season ticket holders and lifetime seat holders. Those lifetime seat holders are already major contributors to the athletic department financially and ones that could greatly benefit a new venue. But, are the Dean Dome lifetime seat holders guaranteed seats in a potential new facility?

“It’s a great question,” Cunningham says. “That is something that we have to take a look at: what are the obligations that the institution has to the donors, and what obligation do we have to new donors? So, that becomes a very significant question and challenge that we will hope to get some answers to over the next 12 months.”

If renovations are the plan of attack in the 27-year-old facility, Cunningham says one addition could be to add a type of luxury suite or club box much like the Blue Zone at Kenan Stadium.

“The suite rights for suites and club seats more than pays for the debt service,” Cunningham says. “In fact, it turns a little bit of revenue back to the general fund for the department. So, if we took that model and applied it to basketball, is there a way to create premium seating that would cover the cost of construction and then increase revenue for the department that would help us fund our other sports.”

Cunningham says that would take some revenue away from individual seats, but may offer the option to gain revenue from the space the seats took up by increased value that square footage would then have.

Cunningham says the bottom line is that no decisions are being made right now but that the athletic department is going to make sure that it can continue to recruit top players, coaches, and contributors.

“How do we preserve one of the best basketball programs in the country and put it in a facility that will continue to attract players and coaches,” Cunningham says. “That’s what we’re trying to do. We’re just trying to sort through what is appropriate right now.”

Survive and Advance: UNC Men’s Soccer Beats USF in NCAA Opener

CHAPEL HILL–Carolina posted a 1-0 victory over South Florida at Fetzer Field Thursday night to move on to the second round of the NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament.

The Tar Heels improved to 9-5-5 on the season and will now travel out west to play No. 12 seed UC Irvine on Sunday at 5 p.m.

Omar Holness scored the only goal of the match at the 3:27 mark, and the Tar Heels sealed the win with their trademark shutdown defense.

All-ACC goalkeeper Brendan Moore made two saves to up his clean sheet total to 10 on the year. He leads the conference in that statistic.

UNC maintained a 10-5 shot advantage and had seven corner kicks while USF only had four. With the win, Carolina  improved to 30-17-6 in the NCAA Tournament and 11-1-4 record at Fetzer Field dating back to 2008.

NCAA Journey Begins for Carolina Men’s Soccer

CHAPEL HILL– NCAA Tournament action gets underway for the Carolina men’s soccer team (8-5-5) Thursday night at Fetzer Field when they kick things off against South Florida.

UNC, once ranked as the top team in the nation earlier in the season, has struggled to get their offense on par with their stingy defense for much of the 2013 campaign.

Now, the Tar Heels will strive to advance past the first round in a postseason where the program owns a 29-17-6 overall mark. In fact, UNC has appeared in 14 of the last 15 NCAA Tournaments.

Thursday will be the seventh match-up between the Bulls and Tar Heels. Carolina hasn’t lost to USF since 1982.

But the Bulls come into the contest off a thrilling win over No.11 Connecticut to claim the American Athletic Conference Tournament title Sunday.

Don’t be surprised if this one is a defensive struggle as both teams rank among the national leaders in goals allowed.

Tickets will be free to all UNC students. The 7 p.m. Thursday match will also be streamed online on GoHeelsTV.

Men’s Soccer Earns NCAA At-Large Bid, Hosts USF Thursday

CHAPEL HILL – North Carolina earned an at-large bid into the 2013 NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament on Monday, and will host South Florida on Thursday, Nov. 21 at Fetzer Field at 7 p.m.

The winner of the UNC-USF match will play 12th-seed UC Irvine on Sunday in Irvine, Calif.

Carolina will be making its 21st NCAA postseason appearance in program history, including 14 of the last 15 seasons. The Tar Heels have hosted at least one postseason match every year since 2000.

UNC, 29-17-6 in NCAA Tournament action, has won the national title in 2001 and 2011, appeared in six College Cups – including four straight from 2008-2011 – and made nine trips to the NCAA quarterfinals.

Last season, the Tar Heels were edged 1-0 by Indiana in the quarterfinals.

Carolina is 8-5-5 this season, finishing tied for fourth in the ACC with a 4-2-5 conference mark. Junior defender Boyd Okwuonu was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year and first team All-ACC for a second-straight season last week.

Junior keeper Brendan Moore and sophomore defender Jonathan Campbell were named second team All-ACC, while junior defender Jordan McCary was selected to the third team. Midfielder Omar Holness earned a spot on the ACC All-Freshman Team.

North Carolina is one of six ACC clubs in the 48-team field. Notre Dame (3), Maryland (5), Virginia (8) and Wake Forest (14) all earned national seeds. Clemson will play at Elon on Thursday in other first round action.

Tickets are available for $8 for adults and $5 for students and are available at

Okwuonu Voted ACC Defensive Player of the Year

GREENSBORO - North Carolina junior Boyd Okwuonu was named Atlantic Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year on Thursday, as announced in conjunction with the 2013 All-ACC Men’s Soccer Teams.

In a vote of the league’s 12 head coaches, who were not allowed to vote for their own players, Okwuonu was selected as the best defender in the league for 2013. The preseason MAC Hermann Trophy candidate has started every match at center back for one of the elite defensive groups in the nation.

Okwuonu, from Edmond, Okla., helped anchor the Carolina defense to nine shutouts – the best mark in the ACC regular season – and a 0.62 goals-against-average that ranks among the top-10 in the country.

He earns his third career ACC honor by landing on the All-ACC first team for a second-straight season. Okwuonu is the second North Carolina player to be named ACC Defensive Player of the Year after Matt Hedges earned the citation in 2011.

Tar Heel junior keeper Brendan Moore and sophomore defender Jonathan Campbell were named to the All-ACC second team. Moore led the conference in shutouts, goals-against-average and save percentage for the majority of the 2013 season.

Campbell played alongside Okwuonu as a center back in his second season at Carolina. The Greensboro, N.C., native started all 16 matches he appeared in this season. He was an ACC All-Freshman Team selection in 2012.

Junior defender Jordan McCrary was selected Third Team All-ACC. The Marietta, Ga., product started all 17 matches he was available for, scoring one goal and two assists. The dynamic outside back was a 2011 ACC All-Freshman selection.

Midfielder Omar Holness earned a spot on the ACC All-Freshman Team. The Kingston, Jamaica, native started 15 of 18 matches for Carolina. He scored one goal and is tied for the team lead with three assists.

Notre Dame led all teams with six selections, including offensive player of the year Harrison Shipp and coach of the year Bobby Clark.

Duke, Maryland, North Carolina and Wake Forest all had four players selected.

Boston College’s Zeiko Lewis was named ACC Freshman of the Year.
ACC Offensive Player of the Year - Harrison Shipp, Sr., F, Notre Dame

ACC Defensive Player of the Year - Boyd Okwuonu, Jr., D, North Carolina

ACC Freshman of the Year - Zeiko Lewis, Fr., M/F, Boston College

ACC Coach of the Year - Bobby Clark, Notre Dame

All-ACC First Team
Thomas McNamara, Gr., M, Clemson
Sebastien Ibeagha, Sr., D/M, Duke
Patrick Mullins, Sr., F, Maryland
Dan Metzger, Jr., M, Maryland
Boyd Okwuonu, Jr., D, North Carolina
Harrison Shipp, Sr., F, Notre Dame
Nick Besler, Jr., M, Notre Dame
Kyle Renfro, Sr., GK, Virginia Tech
Sean Okoli, Jr., F, Wake Forest
Luca Gimenez, Sr., M/F, Wake Forest
Jared Watts, Sr., M, Wake Forest

All-ACC Second Team
Zeiko Lewis, Fr., M/F, Boston College
Sean Davis, Jr., M, Duke
Schillo Tshuma, So., M/F, Maryland
Nazmi Albadawi, Sr., M, NC State
Jonathan Campbell, So., D, North Carolina
Brendan Moore, Jr., GK, North Carolina
Patrick Hodan, So., M, Notre Dame
Emil Ekblom, Fr., F, Syracuse
Eric Bird, Jr., M, Virginia
Darius Madison, So., F, Virginia
Jalen Robinson, So., D, Wake Forest

All-ACC Third Team
Jack Metcalf, Sr., M, Clemson
Kyle Fisher, So., D, Clemson
Zach Mathers, So., M, Duke
Brody Huitema, Fr., F, Duke
Mikey Ambrose, So., D, Maryland
Alex Martinez, Sr., M, NC State
Jordan McCrary, Jr., M/D, North Carolina
Vince Cicciarelli, Jr., F, Notre Dame
Luke Mishu, Sr., D, Notre Dame
Grant Van De Casteele, Sr., D, Notre Dame
Alex Bono, So., GK, Syracuse
Jordan Allen, Fr., M, Virginia

All-ACC Freshman Team
Zeiko Lewis, Fr., M/F, Boston College
Brody Huitema, Fr., F, Duke
Zack Steffen, Fr., GK, Maryland
Michael Sauers, Fr., M, Maryland
Travis Wannemuehler, Fr., F, NC State
Omar Holness, Fr., M, North Carolina
Emil Ekblom, Fr., F, Syracuse
Alex Halis, Fr., M, Syracuse
Jordan Allen, Fr., M, Virginia
Ian Harkes, Fr., M, Wake Forest

Men’s Soccer Falls 2-1 To Clemson In ACC Quarters

CLEMSON - The No. 15 UNC men’s soccer team dropped a 2-1 decision at Clemson in the quarterfinal round of the ACC Tournament Tuesday night.

Two late goals by Clemson was the difference in the come-from-behind victory, advancing the Tigers to the ACC semifinals for the second-straight year.

On the flip side, this will be the first time since 2009 that Carolina doesn’t advance to the semis, and the first under head coach Carlos Somoano.

In the regular season match up between the two clubs, Clemson scored just 64 second into the game in Chapel Hill on Oct. 8. An early goal that ultimately led to a 2-1 Tigers win in overtime.

Tuesday it was Carolina that struck early in the match. Cooper Vandermaas-Peeler waited only 29 seconds to find the back of the net to stake the road team to a very early 1-0 advantage.

Midfielder Alex Olofson earned an assist on Vandermaas-Peeler’s third goal of the year that was deposited into the upper left-hand corner from just outside the 18-yard box.

Strong work by all 11 Tar Heel players maintained the slim margin with keeper Brendan Moore keeping his goal area tidy most of the night.

Signs pointed to Carolina advancing on the early goal, but Clemson found the equalizer with exactly 15 minutes left in regulation to knot the match at 1-1.

T.J. Casner one touched a side volley into the upper-left corner from close range off assists from Manolo Sanchez and Ara Amirkhanian for his third goal of 2013.

As the momentum began to move in the Tigers favor, the pendulum swung even further in favor of Clemson when Kyle Fisher headed home a corner kick to take a 2-1 lead in the 82nd minute.

Carolina could not muster another goal in the final minutes in dropping back-to-back games for the first time since all the way back in the 2008 season, a remarkable run that saw the Tar Heels advance to four-straight College Cups and the 2011 national title.

No. 15 Men’s Soccer Visits Clemson in ACC Tourney Quarters

CLEMSON, SC– The ACC Tournament quarterfinals begin Tuesday as No. 15 Carolina travels to Clemson to take on the Tigers at Riggs Field at 7 p.m.

Carolina is the fifth seed in the tournament with an 8-4-5 overall record and a 4-2-5 mark in conference. Last time out on the soccer pitch, the Tar Heels lost 1-0 in overtime to rival N.C.State in the regular season finale.

The winner Tuesday night moves on to the ACC semifinals this Friday in Germantown, Md. at the Maryland SoccerPlex.

Carolina has given up a league-low 10 goals this season, the fifth fewest in the entire country.